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The World's Eyes On NRA Lobbyists

February 11, 2013 5:44 pm ET
While efforts to reduce gun violence in the U.S. move forward, the international community is watching closely to see if NRA lobbyists once again seek to derail the Arms Trade Treaty when the U.N. negotiations resume next month. Here's how to talk about the Treaty and hold its opponents accountable.

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CORE MESSAGE

When there are international laws for the sale of iPods and bananas but not AK-47s and grenade launchers, we've got a problem.

Connect: When there are international laws for the sale of iPods and bananas but not AK-47s and grenade launchers, we've got a problem.

Define: The Arms Trade Treaty sets uniform standards for international arms sales -- bringing foreign governments up to high U.S. standards and the black arms markets out of the shadows.

Explain: The Treaty protects legitimate trade and holds foreign governments accountable for selling arms to human rights violators. Without it, warlords and terrorists will keep exploiting loopholes to get weapons.

Show impact: These weapons are used by warlords to force child soldiers to kill their parents, by terrorists to attack American soldiers and missionaries, and by gangs to rape refugee women and girls.

Discredit: NRA lobbyists know the Treaty only affects foreign countries, not gun laws for American civilians, and helps keep weapons out of the hands of terrorists who kill Americans overseas.

Expose: The Treaty protects law-abiding Americans' freedoms and our troops overseas, but NRA lobbyists are lying about it anyway to fundraise off American gun owners.

Lead: This Treaty is in America's security, business, and moral interests. It protects legitimate trade and cracks down on weapons sales to war criminals and terrorists. We can't let NRA lobbyists derail it.

Words to use: "Arms Trade Treaty" or "The Treaty" (instead of "ATT")


ATTACKS AND RESPONSES

ATTACK: "The ATT will ban and confiscate Americans' guns."
RESPONSE:

  • The Treaty protects law-abiding Americans' freedoms and legitimate international trade. The Treaty only affects foreign countries, but NRA lobbyists keep spreading lies about it anyway so they can fundraise off gun owners here at home.
  • In America, we follow the U.S. Constitution and the laws enacted by American leaders. The President has also committed to rejecting the Treaty if it infringes on the 2nd Amendment.
  • The United Nations says it has no jurisdiction over America's gun laws and the Treaty explicitly reaffirms America's "sovereign right and responsibility" over our gun laws. Even the conservative Heritage Foundation has dismissed the gun confiscation myth.


ATTACK: "The ATT is a global gun grab."
RESPONSE:

  • If you're not a warlord committing genocide, a terrorist out to kill American troops, or a war criminal mass raping refugee women and girls, don't worry. The Treaty protects law-abiding Americans' freedoms and American troops serving overseas.
  • That's because the Treaty would only affect how foreign governments sell and transfer weapons and ammunition to each other. Right now there are international laws for the sale of iPods and bananas but not AK-47s and grenade launchers. That's a problem.
  • So if you're opposing the Treaty, you're opposing cracking down on weapons sales to warlords and terrorists who kill American troops and humanitarian workers serving abroad.


ATTACK: "The ATT will allow the United Nations and foreign countries to impose their laws on America."
RESPONSE:

  • In our country, we follow American laws passed by American leaders. We're a sovereign nation. The President has committed to rejecting the Treaty if it infringes on the 2nd Amendment or undermines our country's gun laws for American civilians.
  • Even if the U.S. signs onto the Treaty, it's not ratified and binding until it's approved by a two-thirds vote in the Senate.
  • Even if the Senate approves the Treaty, the Supreme Court has repeatedly reaffirmed that our Constitution is the supreme law of the land -- superseding international treaties.
  • In this case, it's really about America working with the rest of the world to bring it up to the high standards that the U.S. already has for exporting and importing weapons. So the Treaty is good news for America and the international community -- and bad news for war criminals.


ATTACK: "You're talking about genocide, mass rapes, global drug trafficking, child soldiers, terrorists getting guns. The ATT isn't going to eliminate all those problems."
RESPONSE:

  • That's like saying we can't completely get rid of all crime in the U.S. so we shouldn't have any crime laws and let criminals get away with whatever they want to do -- like killing American troops and humanitarian workers overseas.
  • People are still going to try to do bad things, but we can make it much harder for them to do it and hold them accountable.
  • That's the principle behind the Arms Trade Treaty -- strong and robust international standards that will bring the global community up to high U.S. standards and crack down on weapons sales to criminals and terrorists.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW


THE PROBLEM & THE IMPACT


THE SOLUTION: ARMS TRADE TREATY

  • Most of the international arms trade are not subject to international standards. Instead there is only a patchwork of local regulations and giant loopholes, with only 56 countries controlling arms brokers and less than half of those with associated criminal penalties.
  • By contrast, the U.S. already has laws and requirements considered the "gold standard" for the export and import of weapons and ammunition in and out of the country. 
  • As a result, the patchwork of bilateral and multi-lateral agreements creates gaps and loopholes that arms dealers exploit to supply weapons and ammunition to people who shouldn't get them. For example, if the U.S. denies another country's request for arms sales or exports, that country can simply shop around for another country that doesn't have similarly strong standards.
  • Then-Secretary of State Clinton has said the Treaty would allow America to promote our high standards for the entire international community.
  • Not only is it in America's interest to have all countries operating from the same rule book, it's also our responsibility because the U.S. is the top global supplier of major conventional weapons.


AMERICA'S ROLE


PUBLIC OPINION

 
We develop messaging by aggregating, analyzing and distilling polling, tested messaging, and expert recommendations, and monitoring the media to identify what is and isn't working. See here for some of the experts and organizations we draw on.


 


Posted in - Foreign Policy - Guns - Crime - National Security

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