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NRA blasts small arms conference at U.N.

The National Rifle Association is claiming a United Nations conference to combat the illicit trade of guns worldwide is actually a plot to strip Americans of their Second Amendment rights.

The two-week conference started on Monday and will conclude July 7.

The Bush administration supports the U.N.'s efforts to restrict the sale of small arms in the black market, but U.S. officials said they would be opposed to any international treaty denying Americans their choice to keep and bear arms.

The NRA launched a massive e-mail and letter campaign blasting the U.N. earlier last week.

&#8220Š If this treaty were ratified in the United States, it would be binding on you and other citizens with the full force of American law-outlawing your guns, extinguishing your hunting, prohibiting your shootings sports, ending your right to self-defense, and destroying our Second Amendment rights forever,” NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre said in a letter to gun owners on the association's website.

U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan insisted the conference is not an attempt to halt free nations from allowing their citizens the choice of carrying firearms. The conference's focus is to curb the sell and trade of illegal firearms – a $1 billion black market worldwide - that supply civil wars and terrorist organizations.

In April 2001, a similar conference conducted by the U.N. in New York attracted the NRA's attention. Of that conference, LaPierre said the international community would eventually pressure the United States into eradicating the Second Amendment, thereby denying American citizens gun ownership.