Thursday, January 17, 2013

US should lead Arms Trade Treaty

The National Rifle Association (NRA) wants to make a "meaningful contribution" to prevent gun violence? Here's one idea: 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.

We can all agree, children -- no matter where they live -- must be kept safe from gun related violence. 

Unfortunately, in so many places around the world, that is not happening as a result of the unregulated global arms trade. There are tens of thousands of children forcibly recruited right now by 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. 

Despite being the largest exporter of small arms and conventional weapons, the U.S. has not been a leader in the effort to establish this treaty due to a campaign of misinformation and lies – orchestrated by the NRA—to force the U.S. government to oppose and weaken the ATT.

Tell the NRA to stop its campaign of lies about the ATT and stop interfering in U.S. foreign policy. 

The NRA has asserted that the ATT would infringe on the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, the right to bear arms. But, in fact, the ATT will have no bearing on domestic gun ownership, as it deals exclusively with the flow of weapons between – not within – countries.

Let's be clear about something. There is virtually no regulation of the international arms trade. Governments and groups known to commit atrocities and abuses can buy weapons traded on the open market and use them with impunity. 

This must stop. The ATT could save hundreds of lives every day by establishing common global standards for how countries import, export and transfer conventional weapons. 

By dropping its opposition to the ATT, the NRA has an opportunity to help keep guns out of the hands of those who routinely target children and others—saving countless lives around the world.

Tell the NRA to stop helping human rights abusers get weapons. 

We've got their attention. Let's keep the pressure on.


Michelle Ringuette
Chief of Campaigns and Programs
Amnesty International USA

In Guns We Trust 

“Are the president’s kids more important than yours? Then why is he skeptical about putting armed security in our schools when his kids are protected by armed guards at their school? Mr. Obama demands the wealthy pay their fair share of taxes, but he’s just another elitist hypocrite when it comes to a fair share of security.” - Voiceover of the NRA television ad, released Jan. 15, 2013
After some blowback for involving the president’s children in a political debate, NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam insisted that the ad was not about Malia and Sasha Obama: “If anyone thinks we’re talking specifically about someone’s children, they're missing the point completely. This isn’t an issue about comparing the president’s kids. This is an issue about school safety and protecting all our children, regardless of tax bracket and how important their parents are. The intent of our ad is to make sure that we point out that there is a double standard that exists.”

Still, the ad features an image of NBC newsman David Gregory, whose children also attend Sidwell Friends School, which is a selective Quaker private school. And the longer version of the ad quotes a conservative Web site as saying: “Armed Guards — Good enough for the David Gregory’s kids’ school, not for the rest of us. …[The] school Obama’s daughters attend has 11 armed guards.”

While some news organizations reported that the ad was referencing the Secret Service protection provided to the Obama family — as required by federal law — the longer ad makes it clear that the NRA is specifically referring to the security force at Sidwell Friends.

Indeed, it would be remarkably odd for the NRA to suggest that Obama ignore the law and refuse Secret Service protection for his children. Moreover, those Secret Service agents are there only to protect those children — and no one else at the school.

Sidwell Friends, by the way, has two distinct campuses, a lower school in Bethesda and a middle and upper schools in Washington. So given shift rotations and three different schools, it appears that the 11 “armed guards” is really just one or two unarmed guards per school at a time.

The most recent data on school security by the National Center for Education Statistics shows that 27 percent of public schools have either police or security guards on campus, with virtually all of the larger schools (1,500 students or more) having such security. Indeed, 58 percent of all public high schools have security personnel.

Interestingly, only 6 percent of all private schools have security personnel, though more than 50 percent of those with more than 1,000 students do have security. Sidwell’s enrollment is just over 1,000 students, so having some security guards is not unusual for a private school of its size. Fact Check. 


Among the latest conspiracies is that sooner than later public schools are going to become training facilities in the ongoing 'war on terror'. Soldiers coming back from Afghanistan and Iraq will the instructors and the NRA and the weapon industry will sponsor the schools. Math still will be in the curriculum, PE will change to PD (Physical Deployment) and Art, Music and Health will be eliminated.

Those school boards not willing to participate in this ambitious program will be utilized as target practice. The conspirators with this idea think Defense budget will be reduced in less than 25% of the nations expenses. Guns to the pupils will be donated by the NRA but everybody will be encourage to buy extras from the school gun and ammunitions supply store.

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