Traverse City Record-Eagle

August 31, 2013

Fact Check: Moving weapons between countries

By PolitiFact.texas
Traverse City Record-Eagle

---- — Our rating: False

CLARIFICATION, 4:06 p.m., Aug. 28, 2013: We amended this story to clarify that an explanation naming Sudan and Chad is hypothetical.

“Ever since its founding 65 years ago, the U.N. has been hell-bent on bringing the U.S. to its knees,” U.S. Rep. Steve Stockman, R-Texas, said in a recent fundraising letter.

The letter, forwarded to PolitiFact by a reader Aug. 19, 2013, sought donations to the National Association for Gun Rights to battle “the U.N.’s ‘Small Arms Treaty’ “ and said that the treaty’s provisions include “mandating a new international gun registry.”

Stockman also wrote that the treaty “sets the stage for confiscation on a global scale.” A “gun registry” might facilitate that by telling the United Nations where everybody’s guns are. We wondered whether the treaty really creates a registry.

We did not hear back from Stockman or the association about this claim, so we were unable to determine when the letter was sent out or to verify it had not been altered. But the same claim appears on a web page at the association’s site with a shorter version of the letter also attributed to Stockman.

PolitiFact has looked at similar claims about the United Nations before, most recently finding that a letter supposedly outlining a U.N. plan to “disarm civilians” was fake. In December 2012, PolitiFact Texas rated as Pants on Fire a chain e-mail saying the Obama administration planned to use international treaties to ban all U.S. weapons.

On April 2, 2013, according to the U.N.’s website, the organization’s General Assembly “adopted the landmark Arms Trade Treaty, regulating the international trade in conventional arms.”

Our ruling

Stockman said a U.N. treaty is “mandating a new international gun registry.” His claim takes a treaty intended to curtail illicit weapons trade between countries and describes it as a step toward confiscating gun owners’ property.

Nations that ratify the Arms Trade Treaty must track conventional arms that move across their borders, share some information about the transfers with the U.N. and other countries, then report the imports and exports in broad categories such as “battle tanks” to the U.N. each year. They must also regulate brokers, but requiring them to “register” is optional. Recording details such as the quantity and model of weapons in a shipment is also optional.

We rate Stockman’sclaim as false.

By PolifiFact.texas