Thursday, April 04, 2013

Here We Go Again

(Editorial cartoon by Kevin Siers / The Charlotte Observer (March 26, 2013) and featured at McClatchy DC.  Click on image to enlarge and then c'mon back.)

So, the United Nations passed an arms sale treaty, one that will try to keep weaponry out of the hands of the wrong people:  terrorists, insurgents, and members of organized crime.  This is going to get interesting because the US is one of the major arms exporters in the world.

The U.N. General Assembly overwhelmingly approved the world body's first treaty regulating the multibillion-dollar international arms trade Tuesday, a goal sought for over a decade to try to keep illicit weapons out of the hands of terrorists, insurgent fighters and organized crime.

The resolution was approved by a vote of 154 to 3 with 23 abstentions. As the numbers appeared on the electronic board, loud cheers filled the assembly chamber.

A group of treaty supporters sought the vote after Iran, North Korea and Syria blocked the measure's adoption by consensus at the end of a two-week negotiating conference Thursday. The three countries voted no Tuesday, while Russia and China, both major arms exporters, abstained. ...

The treaty will not control the domestic use of weapons in any country, but it will require countries that ratify it to establish national regulations to control the transfer of conventional arms, parts and components and to regulate arms brokers.

It covers battle tanks, armored combat vehicles, large-caliber artillery systems, combat aircraft, attack helicopters, warships, missiles and missile launchers,  small arms and light weapons. A phrase stating that this list was “at a minimum” was dropped, according to diplomats, at the insistence of the United States. Supporters complained that this limited the treaty's scope. ...

Ammunition was a key issue in negotiations, with some countries pressing for the same controls on ammunition sales as arms, but the U.S. and others opposed such tough restrictions.   [Emphasis added]

Here's the fun part:  now the treaty must be ratified by the various countries, the US included.  The usual suspects have already made it clear that the US should have no part of the treaty.

In the U.S., the National Rifle Assn. has opposed the arms trade treaty and urged lawmakers not to ratify it. A Heritage Foundation fellow argued it was “a no-win game for the United States” because only “law-abiding states” would follow it.

Obviously the NRA, and its backers (gun manufacturers) can't use the Second Amendment argument, so instead it's decided to use the Wayne LaPierre argument:  "when guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns."  Nothing will stop a bad terrorist like a good attack helicopter, or armed drone, or large-caliber artillery system.  Or something.

And, since the NRA essentially owns the US Senate, ratification is hardly possible.

Crazy world, this.

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