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Gun owners' votes more important than national security

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NRA vote outweighs national security concernsTop officials in the Obama administration have called the cartels, and the extreme violence tearing apart Mexican cities on the U.S. border, threats to U.S. national security. Joining 30 other countries in the Western Hemisphere in an anti-arms smuggling accord would therefore seem a perfectly sane and logical thing to do. But logic often ends where American gun ownership begins.

The treaty in question is called the Inter-American Convention Against Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and Other Related Materials. Known as CIFTA for its Spanish acronym, it was adopted by the Organization of American States in 1997. All but four of its 35 members have ratified it. Bill Clinton signed the convention but did not get the Senate to bless it.

The treaty has run into fierce opposition from groups representing America’s huge army of gun owners, many of whom see CIFTA as a plot against their right, enshrined in the second amendment of the U.S. constitution, to own and bear arms. Reflecting such fears, an essay on the website of the National Rifle Association (NRA), the most powerful of the gun lobbies, terms the treaty “a blueprint for dismantling the second amendment” and part of an Obama strategy “to create the foundation for repressive and extreme gun control.”

Faced with such opposition, American lawmakers are no more inclined to tangle with the NRA and other gun lobbies now than they have been in the 12 preceding years. Which really boils down to gun owners and their impact on the ballot box having more weight than national security concerns.


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