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UN Arms Trade Treaty Debated; Senate to Back Constitution on Gun Laws

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  • Raymond C. Offenheiser (left), Suzanne Nossel (center) and Bishop Elias Taban discuss the new Arms Trade Treaty at a press briefing at the United Nations on July 3, 2012.
    (Photo: The Christian Post/Stoyan Zaimov)
    Raymond C. Offenheiser (left), Suzanne Nossel (center) and Bishop Elias Taban discuss the new Arms Trade Treaty at a press briefing at the United Nations on July 3, 2012.
By Stoyan Zaimov, Christian Post Reporter
July 19, 2012|4:09 pm

The first ever United Nations arms trade treaty conference, which is taking place this month, is still raising a lot of questions over its possibly implications. African leaders are hoping it will help put an end to some of the warfare gripping the region, although the U.S. Senate is unlikely to approve of any agreement that threatens the Constitution.

The full agreement on the treaty between more than 2,000 representatives from member states has not yet been announced, but the main players are expected to be Russia, China, France, Britain, and the U.S. Some in America have questioned whether imposing regulations on the type and amount of guns and ammunition that can be traded might threaten Second Amendment rights on gun ownership, although such fears have been shot down by all involved in the treaty.

"If they [participants] were able to negotiate successfully this treaty, the hope is that transfers of weapons will become more stringent," expressed Baffour Amoa, the president of the Africa League for the Control of Arms Coalition . "Third parties will be more careful in assessing the risk associated with each transfer before the transfer is affected, and we believe that these high standards will reduce the excessive flow of illegal weapons into many parts of the world."

"One of the items that's being negotiated under this treaty is that third parties will be more accountable in terms of shipments and transshipments," he added. "For example, weapons that were taken from Libya could have been checked in Niger and other transit locations."

Earlier this month, global peace and faith leaders met on July 3 at a press briefing where they revealed that over 15,000 people have died in various war-torn regions around the world because of the unrestrained distribution of small-arms and ammunitions.

Among the speakers at the briefing was a former child soldier turned bishop, who held his story as an example of why the world needs better control over arms that are given to children forced to become soldiers.

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"President Obama needs to promote this arms trade treaty. If he loves the innocent lives, women and children, then he needs to stand for this treaty, and the nation of American and all the nations of this world need to stand for this treaty," urged Bishop Elias Taban, President of the Sudan Evangelical Alliance. "I am a living testimony to the dangers of an illegal arms trade. I have lived 40 years of my life carrying arms."

"My brothers and sisters, the reason why I say this treaty is an answer to prayer is because I have seen what arms have done in my country and also within the neighboring countries," he added.

Any international agreement on the arms trade treaty will have to be reviewed by the U.S. Senate, however, which deems that the U.S. Constitution stands above U.N. resolutions.

"Should there be a treaty put to the Senate by the President," explained Republican Sen. John Cornyn to KETK, "my expectation is that this would be thoroughly vetted and debated, and if any of these concerns are justified, I have a hard time believing it would be ratified."

The Texas senator further insisted that if U.S. sovereignty is questioned in any way, the Arms Trade Treaty is unlikely to pass the Senate.

 

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