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John Kerry Signs U.N. Arms Trade Treaty

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Secretary of State, John Kerry signed The United Nations’ Arms Trade Treaty on Wednesday and immediately Senators threatened to block its ratification. Opponents of the treaty fear that it might lead to stricter gun control measures in the US that would infringe on the Second Amendment. The only countries to vote against the treaty were Iran, North Korea, and Syria, although 20 additional nations, including China and Russia, abstained from the vote.

This treaty has been part of a misinformation campaign on the internet that dates back to the earliest days of the Obama Administration. However, the treaty explicitly states that it does not apply to the manufacture, sale, or regulation of any arms within a nation’s borders. Instead the treaty seeks only to curb the ever-expanding international black market for weapons.

However, the more serious critics of the bill – to include the National Rifle Association, or NRA – know that it is not a “gun grabbing” treaty that seeks to disarm legal gun owners. Their objections surround the part of the treaty that advocates keeping a record of arms purchases which the gun-rights groups believe is tantamount to an international arms registry that could lead to a violation of the privacy of legal gun owners.

Leader of NRA, Wayne LaPierre has been quoted as saying that the treaty would lead to “manufacturers of civilian shotguns [complying] with the same regulatory process as a manufacturer of military attack helicopters.”

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Much of this concern centers around the vague language of the treaty, especially with regards to ensuring that weapons are not sold to human rights abusers. It is this distinction that most likely kept China and Russia from signing on with the other 154 countries who voted for the treaty. The US is the largest manufacturer and exporter of weapons in the world.