Should the U.S. Ratify the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty?

A copy of the U.N. ATT is available here [English section begins on page 22 of the PDF]. News reports say that President Obama will sign it at his first opportunity (June 3rd or so). But the treaty must be ratified by the Senate to take effect. How long does the Senate have to ratify it? There is no time limit. So the leaders of the Senate who favor the treaty can try again and again to get it passed. Eventually, they may have a majority of votes, even if they do not now.

How is the U.S. Arms Treaty relevant to a prepping and survival blog post? There are many commentators who say that the treaty will change the way that the U.S. deals with firearms, whether produced domestically or imported.


The treaty does cover “Small arms and light weapons.” [Article 2.1, h]

“Each State Party is encouraged to apply the provisions of this Treaty to the broadest range of conventional arms.” [Article 5.3]

Each nation ["State Party"] is required to: “establish and maintain a national control system to regulate the export of ammunition” as well as certain “parts and components”. [Articles 3 and 4]

Each nation is required to “establish and maintain a national control system, including a national control list” for the purposes of controlling import/export. [Article 5.2]

Each nation “shall take measures to ensure that appropriate and relevant information is provided” to the exporting nation, and this may include: “end use or end user documentation.” [Article 8.1]

Imported guns must be regulated internally by the importing nation: “Each importing State Party shall take measures that will allow it to regulate, where necessary, imports under its jurisdiction of conventional arms” [Article 8.2]

Nations are also required to “maintain national records” of conventional arms, including small arms [rifles and pistols], that are imported or exported, including: “the quantity, value, model/type … and end users, as appropriate.” [Article 12.3]

“Records shall be kept for a minimum of ten years.” [Article 12.4]

“Each State Party shall take appropriate measures to enforce national laws and regulations that implement the provisions of this Treaty.” [Article 14]

“This Treaty shall be of unlimited duration.” [Article 24]


The supporters of this Treaty claim that it will not affect the second amendment, nor will it impose itself on the regulation of firearms within a nation. But my reading of the text leads me to doubt that claim. The repeated use of the term “end users” and the requirement to “maintain national records” including quantity of guns, value, and model/type is intrusive to U.S. laws and, in my view, infringes on the Second Amendment.

The Treaty does not specify record-keeping and control of guns manufactured in a nation for use in that same nation. But once U.S. lawmakers have records and control of all imported guns, it is not hard to imagine that they would extend that control to all guns. The excuse would be that any gun made and used in the U.S. might possibly be exported, and so it needs to be tracked.

Count me as opposing the ratification of this treaty.

– Thoreau

One Response to Should the U.S. Ratify the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty?

  1. This treaty would abrogate US sovereignty and the Constitution. Anyone within Congress up to, and including the White House, signing this should be tried for Treason.