FIND GUN LAWS BY STATE

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR Bryan L. Ciyou is a trial and appellate attorney at the Indianapolis law firm of Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. He earned his BA with distinction and graduated through the honors program, along with his JD,... Read More

Fact Versus Fiction: The Status of The UN Arms Trade Treaty And How It Differs From The Programme of Action On Small Arms And Light Weapons

As an opening note, the subject-matter of this blog could encompass many pages to fully analyze the distinctions between the United Nations’ foci on small arms. It is a summary and primer to point readers in the right direction so they can be meaningfully involved in the matter, given the monumental amount of mis-information on the topic on-line and throughout the Nation.

By way of summary, in 2001, the United Nations Programme of Action on Small Arms and Light Weapons (“Programme”) was established. The goal of the Programme is obtain voluntary set of international standards to control and regulate small arms across individual countries and between countries.

Conversely, at the United Nation’s July, 2012 conference on the Arms Trade Treaty (“ATT”), the focus was aimed at obtaining a treaty and signed by all participant countries, which if ratified (by Congress in the United States), would have a direct impact on civilian ownership and transfer of small arms (including rifles, shotguns, and handguns) under the text of drafts to date. For instance, there would gun registration maintained in a centralized database. The ATT would become international law binding upon the US. The discussion for the ATT predates the Programme.

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Unfortunately, there is so much inaccurate information and complexity in tracking the status of any potential ATT or Programme works, it is difficult for even those with legal training to understand the current state of the UN’s work. In fact, there was much speculation the US Secretary of State Clinton signed the ATT in July, 2012. That was not the case, and the treaty discussions broke down on textual language (what it covered) in July, 2012.

The following month, the Programme (August, 2012) met to continue to work on voluntary standards, which to date, and like the ATT, are also incompatible with the Second Amendment as it has recently been decided by the U.S. Supreme Court in Heller1 and McDonald2. Thus, at present, the United States is not a signatory to any ATT, nor has language been agreed upon for a permissible version of any such treaty.

However, it is a statistical certainty the ATT will continue to be an agenda topic at the UN. So once you understand the current state of affairs, you can have more meaningful involvement with this important matter. For those who support the Second Amendment and this individual right, we hope this blog post makes you aware of the distinctions between the Programme and the ATT.

In addition, to stay abreast of the UN’s status on the Programme or ATT, of the various gun-rights groups working to protect the Second Amendment, the NRA is at the forefront of tracking the United Nation’s working on this and became a NGO to have the authority to do so. In fact, its Executive Director, Wayne LaPierre testified before the UN as it relates to the U.S. Constitution’s individual right to keep and bear arms and how the UN’s Programme and ATT were incompatible3.

This blog post is written by attorney Bryan L. Ciyou, Ciyou & Dixon, P.C., Indianapolis, Indiana, 46204. It is intended for general educational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice or a solicitation for representation.


  1. District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570 (2008).
  2. McDonald v. City of Chicago, 561 U.S. 3025 (2010).
  3. NRA

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FIND GUN LAWS BY STATE

Table of Contents

About the author
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Bryan L. Ciyou is a trial and appellate attorney at the Indianapolis law firm of Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. He earned his BA with distinction and graduated through the honors program, along with his JD,... Read More