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The UN Programme

Friday, July 11, 2003

The United Nations (UN) First Biennial Meeting of States opened on July 7 and concludes today. The meeting is a follow-up to a July 2001 conference at which the UN Programme of Action for Small Arms and Light Weapons was established. At the 2001 conference, Under Secretary of State John Bolton was successful in keeping the discussions focused on the international trafficking in illicit small arms and light weapons, steadfastly refusing to concede any form of international registration or regulations aimed at U.S. civilian ownership of firearms and our Second Amendment rights.

The purpose of the First Biennial Meeting is simply to review the international participants` progress on implementing the terms of the Programme of Action. As the United States currently has all existing requirements in place, the meeting is of little consequence. However, in his opening statement, Lincoln P. Bloomfield, Jr., Assistant Secretary for Political-Military Affairs, plainly reiterated that the United States` position on the lawful ownership of firearms vis-a-vis the UN remains unchanged: "...the UN Conference had a very specific mandate from the General Assembly, and lawful gun ownership was not part of that mandate. The scope of the Conference and the Program of Action concern the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons. That remains our focus today."

Bob Barr, former Congressman and current NRA Board member, attended the meeting as an official representative of the U.S. State Department`s delegation to the UN Small Arms Conference, a role he also filled in 2001. "It will be extremely important," he said, "to follow subsequent meetings, to ensure we aren`t faced with a legally-binding document that would commit us to some form of firearms registration and regulation by the UN or any outside authority."

Rest assured that NRA-ILA will keep you informed on any future developments.

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Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.