- By David BoscoDavid Bosco is a Foreign Policy contributing editor and assistant professor at American University's School of International Service. He is at work on a book about the International Criminal Court's first decade.
To the dismay of some on Capitol Hill, the push for a global arms trade treaty—which would provide basic standards for internationals arms transfers—still has momentum. In part because of a U.S. desire to avoid an election-season fight, this summer’s negotiations broke down. But UN members have decided to convene a new conference, which is scheduled for March, and it seems likely that the treaty will be adopted.
Some members of Congress aren’t taking that news lying down. Almost a hundred House members, all but four Republican, have introduced a resolution urging the Obama administration to oppose the treaty. The bill warns that the draft "poses significant risks to the national security, foreign policy, and economic interests of the United States as well as to the constitutional rights of United States citizens and United States sovereignty." The sponsors also express concern that the treaty will interfere with the ability of the United States to provide weapons to allies, including Taiwan and Israel.
As they did during the summer, treaty supporters have quickly dismissed these concerns as little more than paranoia. Oxfam America, a key NGO supporter of the treaty, issued a statement today emphasizing that the proposed treaty will have no impact on U.S. gun ownership rights:
The Obama administration has publicly stated numerous times that it will not support a treaty that infringes on Second Amendment rights guaranteed by our Constitution. There is also language in the treaty text acknowledging that the trade of weapons for recreational, cultural, historical, and sporting activities and lawful ownership is legitimate and will remain to be determined by a country’s national laws. Members of the House of Representatives need to separate fact from fiction and stop fueling the paranoia special interest groups are using for fundraising purposes.