Unfortunately, a few confused fanatics in the United States make the treaty's passage unlikely anytime soon.
|A Swedish-made AT4 anti-tank missle launcher |
like those sold to Venezuela and then transferred to
the FARC guerrillas.
Regulating the trade in weapons, which cause so much havoc and killing, seems like a no-brainer. And it would help Colombia, not only by keeping weapons out of the hands of illegal groups, but also to reduce Colombia's extremely high homicide rate.
The treaty under discussion would, according to ArmsControl.org, prohibit international arms transfers when they would cause:
- The undermining of global, regional, local, or internal peace and security;
- Violations of international humanitarian law or human rights law;
- Involvement in genocide, crimes against humanity, or war crimes;
- Risk of diversion to organized criminals or terrorists;
- Impairment of socio-economic development;
- Risk of unauthorized re-export from the recipient state.
It's predictable that authoritarian governments which want weapons to repress and kill their own people would oppose this treaty, as would the governments which earn billions of dollars selling arms to human rights trampling dictatorships. (Recent sales and attempted sales of weapons by China to Zimbabwe and Russia to Syria come to mind.)
|Illegal arms seized by Colombia's military.|
Undoubtedly, the most powerful opponents of this treaty are the United States' fanatical domestic organizations - even tho they actually have nothing to fear from this treaty (altho I wish they would). The evidence, from both common sense and scientific research, is overwhelming that more guns in circulation usually mean more crime and violence, and the drop in homicides following Bogotá's recent ban on carrying weapons is even more evidence of that. U.S. organizations like the notorious NRA choose to ignore the evidence because of their paranoia that any sort of arms registration will end up taking away their handguns. That's ridiculous. Nevertheless, for the time being, they appear to have won their war in Washington. But the proposed treaty says explicitly that it wouldn't affect nations' domestic gun laws, but regulate only international transfers. In addition, the U.S.'s controls on weapons exports are already quite strong, meaning that treaty's impacts would be small.
The U.S., as the world's largest arms exporter, is critical to this treaty. But ratification by the U.S. would require a two-thirds vote by the Senate, and far more than one third of the U.S. senators live in fear of the NRA.
Standing in the way of sane gun laws in the U.S. is bad enough. But gun-rights fanatics should be ashamed of themselves for blocking a treaty a treaty which could save millions of lives and stabilize nations around the world. By taking this position, the NRA and its allies make themselves passive accomplices to mass murder on a global scale.
By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours