The United Nations General Assembly is on the verge of approving a global framework in the upcoming fall that focuses on ammunition management. However, some Second Amendment advocates are concerned about the potential vagueness of the framework and its impact on domestic policies in the United States. The U.N.’s Open-Ended Working Group on Conventional Ammunition (OEWG) finalized the development of this new global framework in early June. The National Rifle Association and the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturer’s Institute attended each meeting of the OEWG and sought to dilute certain aspects of the international plan. James Baranowski, the NRA director of international affairs, explains that the framework is likely to be adopted by the General Assembly in September as it follows the U.N.’s strategic game plan. Baranowski also emphasizes that this framework will be a living document subject to constant modifications, requiring ongoing opposition efforts.

The OEWG was established by a resolution passed by the General Assembly in February 2022, addressing the issue of accumulated stockpiles. The framework established by the OEWG can be used as leverage in the political arena if gun control advocates claim it as a standard for international law. Baranowski mentions that though the framework could have been worse, it will still pose a challenge that Second Amendment advocates will have to combat annually.

The global framework consists of 15 objectives that set standards and guidelines for international cooperation in ammunition management. Adedeji Ebo, director of the U.N. Office of Disarmament Affairs, expresses his confidence in the endorsement of these commitments by the 78th Session of the U.N. General Assembly. Ebo emphasizes that the framework aims to limit the transportation of small arms to conflict zones, prevent accidental explosions at ammunition sites, and acknowledge the growing role of women in ammunition management.

Thanks to the efforts of Second Amendment organizations, the working group revised certain terms and removed references to individual ammunition end users from the drafts. Consequently, the current framework only applies to governments and not to individual ammunition owners. However, key terms such as “stockpile” and “end users” remain ambiguously defined in the final report of the OEWG. Baranowski argues that even a box of 25 rounds could be interpreted as a stockpile under the broad definition. There was an attempt to include individual end users, but the language may eventually be eliminated. The United Nations did not respond to inquiries regarding this issue.

Despite any concerns, Ebo regards the framework as a ray of hope for the disarmament community and those affected by the consequences of war and armed violence caused by mismanagement and illicit flows of conventional ammunition. According to Ebo, the global framework represents a significant milestone in our collective pursuit of lasting peace, security, and sustainable development.

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