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Dear NRA: Stop Undermining the ATT | The Nation

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Peter Rothberg

Peter Rothberg

Opposing war, racism, sexism, climate change, economic injustice and high-stakes testing.

Dear NRA: Stop Undermining the ATT

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the National Rifle Association’s paying membership has grown by 100,000 in the wake of the December school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, the organization told Politico on Thursday.

At the same time, the gun rights organization declaring that it wants to make a “meaningful contribution” to prevent gun violence, has decided to take a more active roll in President Obama’s initiative’s to address the issue by sitting down today with Vice President Joe Biden, leader of the White House task force on guns, to discuss ways to drive down the violence.

The venerable human rights group Amnesty International has a idea worth amplifying: support the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT). The United Nations is preparing to finalize the treaty, which would help stem the flow of weapons to human rights abusers. And world leaders will negotiate and vote on it in March.

There are tens of thousands of children forcibly recruited right now by various governments’ armed forces and by non-state armed groups who are often armed with weapons irresponsibly traded by governments and private corporations. Children are also part of the 26 million people who have been displaced by armed conflict fueled by guns.

The ATT could make a real difference here. Despite being the largest exporter of small arms and conventional weapons in the world, the US has not been a leader in the effort to establish this treaty due largely to a campaign of misinformation and lies—orchestrated by the NRA—to force the US government to oppose and weaken the ATT.

The NRA has wrongly asserted that the ATT would infringe on the Second Amendment of the US Constitution. But, in fact, the ATT will have no bearing on domestic gun ownership, it deals exclusively with the flow of weapons between—not within—countries.

Implore the NRA to stop its campaign of lies about the ATT, stop interfering in US foreign policy and stop helping human rights abusers overseas get weapons.

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