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Mike Crapo gets it wrong on UN Arms Trade Treaty

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U.S. Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) on Monday repeated claims that the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty could infringe upon Second Amendment gun rights, and represents a threat to national sovereignty.

“I am concerned that it fails to expressly exclude civilian firearm ownership from its scope and specifically focuses on small arms and light weapons and omits the right of self-defense; it gives power to impose firearms restrictions to an international body that is not accountable to the American people; and it urges long-term recordkeeping of arms end-users which would result in a registry of law-abiding firearms owners in the U.S. available to foreign governments,” Crapo wrote.

“Moreover, irresponsible countries it was aimed at already have vowed not to abide by it and, accordingly, it contains no enforcement mechanism. The U.S. already has standards for controlling arms exports, and if other countries wanted to impose tighter rules on the arms trade, they could have already passed and enforced their own laws.

In reality the treaty would regulate international export of weapons. Under provisions of the treaty, the United Nations would not have authority over "matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction" of any nation.

The treaty was passed on a vote of 154-3 with 23 abstentions. Nations voting against the treaty were North Korea, Iran and Syria.

"The treaty regulates all conventional arms within the following categories: battle tanks, armored combat vehicles, large-caliber artillery systems, combat aircraft, attack helicopters, warships, missiles and missile launchers, and small arms and light weapons," according to Amnesty International.

The treaty "will prohibit states from transferring conventional weapons to countries when they know those weapons will be used to commit or facilitate genocide, crimes against humanity or war crimes."

Crapo does not serve on any influential committee relating to international affairs, and one wonders if his foreign affairs briefings are limited to what he learned in the Congressional Sportsman’s Caucus.

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