While the US signed the UN small arms agreement and says it will not affect gun owners in the US, the Canadian government said it will hold further consultations before committing to a landmark treaty that would control the global arms trade.
While non-governmental agencies, called the “Control Arms Coalition,” said they were frustrated and disappointed that Canada did not follow the US lead, Secretary of State John Kerry said that the law would not infringe on US gun owners.
“This treaty will not diminish anyone’s freedom, and the US would never think about supporting a treaty that is inconsistent with … the rights of American citizens to be able to exercise their guaranteed rights under our Constitution, Kerry said.” CBC
Canada’s conservative government abolished a gun registry established by the previous government and still faces a court challenge from the Province of Quebec, which wants to maintain its own registry. A court ruling has stopped the federal government with proceeding to destroy the records, pending the outcome of the court case.
The view of the Canadian government conflicts with the view presented by John Kerry. Foreign Minister John Baird feels that there may be a potential link between the treaty and Canada’s abolished gun registry. According to a spokesman for John Baird the government is still holding consultations to determine if the treaty would affect recreational firearms owners in Canada.
“If properly done, an Arms Trade Treaty can help limit the worldwide trade in illicit arms,” said Rick Roth in an email to CBC News on Wednesday. “At the same time, it is important that such a treaty not affect lawful and responsible firearms owners nor discourage the transfer of firearms for recreational uses such as sport shooting and hunting.”
The Control Arms Coalition, which includes agencies such as Project Ploughshares, Oxfam Canada, Oxfam Quebec and Amnesty International, says that it is time for Canada to get beyond spurious claims that the treaty will affect legal Canadian gun-owners and join the states that want to save lives by ending irresponsible arms transfers.
“It is past time for Canada to get beyond spurious claims that the treaty will affect legal Canadian gun-owners and join the states that want to save lives by ending irresponsible arms transfers,” said Ken Epps, senior program officer for Project Ploughshares, in a statement.
The New Democratic Party, the official opposition in Canada’s parliament says it is shocked that the US has signed the treaty, while Canada refuses, especially with a much stronger gun lobby.
It’s no secret that the Obama administration wants tougher gun control, so the signing of the treaty should be no surprise to anyone, including the NDP. The problem is that gun control won’t solve the problem, as long as illegal guns flood the streets of the US. With Sandy Hook, Colorado and the recent Navy Yard shootings, Democrats have missed no opportunity to press their gun control agenda, without looking at the deeper causes for these shootings.
Hypocrisy is well and alive when it comes to international global gun trade or supply. The US is currently shipping arms to the Syrian Rebels, which have a large element of Al Quaeda operatives. Is this another treaty to be ignored by the signatories?