Tag Archives | Arms Trade Treaty

How Many Global Deaths from Arms?

That’s the title of a new article which I have just submitted en masse to law reviews. [Note: the full text hasn’t yet appeared on SSRN. So here’s a link to the full text via Berkeley Electronic Press.] Here’s the abstract:

Currently, the United Nations is drafting an Arms Trade Treaty to impose strict controls on firearms and other weapons. In support of hasty adoption of the Treaty, a UN-related organization of Treaty supporters is has produced a report claiming that armed violence is responsible for 740,000 deaths annually. This Article carefully examines the claim. We find that the claim is based on dubious assumptions, cherry-picking data, and mathematical legerdemain which is inexplicably being withheld from the public. The refusal to disclose the mathematical calculations used to create the 740,000 factoid is itself cause for serious suspicion; our own calculations indicate that the 740,000 figure is far too high.

Further, while the report claims that 60% of homicides are perpetrated with firearms, our review of the data on which report claimed to rely yields a 22% rate. The persons responsible for the report have refused to release their homicide calculations, or any other calculations.

This Article also shows how a narrow focus on restricting firearms ownership continues to distract international attention from life-saving, viable solutions. We propose some practical alternatives which have already saved lives in war-ravaged areas.

My co-authors on this Article, as with many of my international law articles, are Dr. Paul Gallant and Dr. Joanne Eisen, who are Senior Fellows at the Independence Institute. [...]

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Will the Arms Trade Treaty provide effective embargos on human rights violators?

Reversing the position of the Bush administration, the Obama administration recently announced support for the global Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), which is currently being drafted by the United Nations. The leading voices for the ATT are the International Action Network on Small Arms (IANSA, funded by George Soros, and run by the Open Society’s former gun control executive, Rebecca Peters) and the IANSA spin-off  “Control Arms.” Proponents of the ATT promise that it will impose effective arms on embargos on human rights violators. In a forthcoming article in the Penn State Law ReviewThe Arms Trade Treaty: Zimbabwe, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the Prospects for Arms Embargoes on Human Rights Violators, Paul Gallant, Joanne Eisen and I examine the issue. Our article shows that if the ATT were to be implemented as its proponents promise (to proactively embargo arms where there are serious risks of instability), there would have to be dozens of new embargos. Because small arms manufacture is already widespread, and is not technologically complex, most targets of new embargos would be able to manufacture firearms domestically. 

We then study two failed arms embargos: Zimbabwe, and the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. Zimbabwe is currently under a European Union embargo, but there is no UN embargo because Mugabe’s principal diplomatic allies, China and South Africa, have blocked UN action.  Moreover, the South African government has flagrantly violated South Africa’s own gun control law (which was imposed by the currently-ruling party), which forbids South Africa to authorize arms transfers to human rights violators. If South Africa will not obey its own laws, there is no reason to assume that it will obey treaty law created by the UN.

The eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo is under a United Nations embargo, impsed by [...]

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