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The NRA vs. the UN Arms Treaty: Exporting madness

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Wouldn’t it be great if the arms-exporting nations of the world got together to sign an agreement banning the sale of arms to conflict zones, terrorists and murderous dictators?

Of course, the world’s largest exporter of arms, the United States, already has regulations prohibiting the sale of weapons to such people and places, but an international agreement could go a long way in limiting arms trade between nations that have few or no such regulations.

According to William D. Hartung, Director of the Arms and Security Project at the Center for International Policy, because American laws are already in place, such a treaty limiting arms sales would be asking far less of the United States than any other country. Signing the treaty would be “… a very small price to pay for an international agreement that helps keeps arms out of the hands of tyrants, terrorists and aggressor nations,” says Hartung.

With wholesale barbarity in such places as sub-Saharan Africa, Iraq and Syria playing out on the nightly news and the ever-present threat of international terrorism revisiting the United States, you’d think all Americans would support such a treaty -- a treaty that would help bar the likes of Syria’s Bashar al-Assad, the Lord’s Resistance Army and Al-Qaeda from the world’s arms bazaar.

Who could possibly oppose such a treaty?

A New Kind of Logic

Who, indeed.

The National Rifle Organization (NRA) is at it again -- only this time, the “from my cold, dead fingers” folks are going global.

Despite the fact that the proposed United Nations Arms Trade Treaty would only regulate the transfer of weapons across international borders and has absolutely nothing to do with gun ownership or sales within the U.S., the NRA and its enforcers in Congress have mounted a campaign against the treaty that is as energetic as it is devoid of sense.

At the U.N. conference negotiating the ATT, NRA Executive VP Wayne LaPierre, told the conference that the treaty is “an offense to any American who has ever breathed our free air.” You gotta love him.

A letter to President Obama and Sec. of State Clinton that was signed by 130 NRA cheerleaders in the House of Representatives demanded that the treaty not include any restrictions on small arms or light weapons (you know, the AK-47 and other small arms that do most of the people-shredding around the world). The letter goes on to characterize the treaty as a threat to Americans’ constitutional rights.

Apparently, decades of success at blocking every common sense gun-control law proposed by legislators has taught the NRA to yell, “Constitutional rights,” whenever the words, “gun” and “regulation” appear in the same sentence -- whether it makes sense or not.

A Disturbing Pattern

When LaPierre accused President Obama of trying to take our guns by NOT proposing any gun control legislation, as LaPierre did in his speech to Florida's Conservative Political Action Conference in September, I just figured LaPierre was having a bad logic day. After all, Obama, hardly a gun-control crusader, has repealed more gun laws in four years than George W. Bush did in eight -- proving everybody can have bad logic days, now and then.

But now, with his full-throated and nonsensical opposition to the ATT, I’m beginning to wonder if LaPierre and the organization that keeps America awash in Saturday night specials and armor-piercing ammo just might be a few rounds short of a full clip.

Exporting Misery

By now we have gotten used to the NRA and its intransigence. We’ve learned to ignore its wild-eyed rhetoric and even LaPierre’s gross disrespect of the President and the presidency. We may even feel a little sorry for those members of the gun set who have bought into the NRA’s self-serving and paranoid fantasy pitting freedom-loving Americans against an evil, despotic government bent on seizing everybody’s guns.

Apparently, we also have learned to live with the 30,000 shooting deaths per year, a figure made possible, at least in part, by lax gun laws and NRA lobbying.

But letting the NRA loose on the rest of the world is just plain mean.

Fearing NRA reprisal, American politicians could very well vote this treaty into history’s dumpster and as a result, put more and more guns into the hands of the world’s bad actors, and, of course, more and more bullets into bodies.

As Americans, we deserve the NRA and the misery caused by the most liberal gun laws on the planet. We are the ones who keep electing politicians that march to the NRA’s tune.

What did the rest of the world do to deserve the NRA?

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