NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

United States Should Shoot Down U.N. Small Arms Treaty

December 15, 2010

The Obama administration recently appointed a negotiator to work with the United Nations on a treaty to regulate international trade in small arms.  The ostensible goal is to staunch the flow of illegal weapons to drug cartels, terrorists and guerillas, according to H. Sterling Burnett, a senior fellow with the National Center for Policy Analysis.

This is a reversal of Bush administration policy, which opposed U.S. participation in such a treaty as a matter of principle and policy.

Secretary of State Hilary Clinton cited the rising drug-fueled violence in Mexico as a motivation for the change in policy.  The administration echoed the claims of Mexico's President Felipe Calderon that more than 90 percent of the guns used in crime in Mexico come from the United States.  This is a misleading interpretation of the facts, however.  Consider:

  • From 2007 to 2008, more than 29,000 firearms (and more than 2,000 grenades) were picked up at crime scenes in Mexico.
  • Approximately 38 percent of guns seized (11,000), were submitted to the United States for tracing.
  • Of those, approximately 6,000 were successfully traced, and 5,114 (less than 18 percent) were found to come from the United States.
  • A later report from the Department of Homeland Security indicated that only 3,480 guns could be traced to the United States.

If the United Nations is put in charge of U.S. gun policy, American sovereignty will be reduced with no corresponding decrease in international violence.  The biggest killers of people have been governments and their surrogate militias, not individual citizens.  Indeed, before every attempted or successful genocide, those in power disarm the group targeted for extinction, aided by laws requiring firearm licensing and registration, says Burnett.

Source: H. Sterling Burnett, "United States Should Shoot Down U.N. Small Arms Treaty," National Center for Policy Analysis, December 15, 2010.

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