Explore The NRA Universe Of Websites

APPEARS IN Legal & Legislation

The OAS Treaty: Blueprint for Dismantling the Second Amendment

Friday, August 14, 2009

by Dave Kopel

The Obama administration’s offensive against the Second Amendment has begun.

As was predicted, the strategy uses international law to create a foundation for repressive and extreme gun control. The mechanism is an international treaty, the “Inter-American Convention Against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and Other Related Materials.”

If the plan succeeds, police sales of confiscated firearms would be prohibited and anyone who reloads ammunition at home would need a federal license. In addition, the treaty would create an international law requirement that almost every American firearm owner be licensed as if he were a manufacturer.

Founded in 1948, the Organization of American States (OAS) includes all of the independent nations of the Western Hemisphere. (Cuba’s participation has been suspended since 1962.) In 1997, President Clinton signed a gun control treaty that had been negotiated by OAS. Subsequently, neither he nor President George W. Bush sent the treaty to the United States Senate for ratification.

The treaty is commonly known as “CIFTA,” for its Spanish acronym, Convención Interamericana Contra la Fabricación y El Tráfico Ilícitos de Armas de Fuego, Municiones, Explosivos y Otros Materiales Relacionados. The document is called a “convention” rather than a “treaty” because “convention” is a term of art for a multilateral treaty created by a multinational organization.

At the OAS meeting in April 2009, President Obama said that he would send CIFTA to the U.S. Senate and urge ratification. The White House claimed that the convention was merely an expression of international goodwill.

That’s false.

In the United States, it is common for police and sheriffs’ departments to sell confiscated firearms to federally licensed firearm dealers (FFLs). The FFLs then resell the guns to lawful consumers. Of course, when any FFL sells a gun to a customer, the sale must be approved by the National Instant Check System, or its state equivalent.

Police and sheriff sales of confiscated guns would be outlawed by CIFTA which mandates: “State Parties shall adopt the necessary measures to ensure that all firearms, ammunition, explosives, and other related materials seized, confiscated, or forfeited as the result of illicit manufacturing or trafficking do not fall into the hands of private individuals or businesses through auction, sale, or other disposal.”

Another target of CIFTA is reloading. The millions of Americans who reload include competitive target shooters, hunters, trainers who want to craft milder ammunition for beginners, and many other hobbyists who enjoy making things themselves and saving money. Due to the present shortage of ammunition, more and more people are taking up reloading--so many that reloading equipment manufacturers are having difficulty keeping their products in stock.

Reloading is entirely lawful in every state and no state requires a specific permit for those reloading ammunition. CIFTA, however, declares that “illicit manufacturing” is the “manufacture or assembly of firearms, ammunition, explosives, and other related materials” that takes place without “a license from a competent governmental authority of the State Party where the manufacture or assembly takes place.”

Thus, either the federal government or all 50 state governments would have to enact legislation to impose reloading licenses and to define unlicensed reloading as a crime. According to Article IV of CIFTA, “State Parties that have not yet done so shall adopt the necessary legislative or other measures to establish as criminal offenses under their domestic law the illicit manufacturing of and trafficking in firearms, ammunition, explosives, and other related materials.”

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) charges $10 per year for a license to manufacture most ammunition. Also under existing law, the premises of firearm and ammunition manufacturers may be inspected without notice once per year by the BATFE, and an unlimited number of times in cases involving a criminal investigation. Thus, anyone who reloads ammunition would be taxed and subject to home inspection by the federal government.

Reloaders are not the only ones who would be required to have a manufacturing license. So would every company or individual that makes any part of a firearm or an accessory. In fact, so would almost every firearm owner in the nation.

CIFTA Article I requires licensing for the manufacture of “other related materials.” These are defined as “any component, part, or replacement part of a firearm, or an accessory which can be attached to a firearm.”

That definition straightforwardly includes all spare firearm parts. It also includes accessories that are attached to firearms, such as scopes, ammunition magazines, sights, recoil pads, bipods and slings.

Current U.S. law requires a license to manufacture a firearm, with a “firearm” being defined as the receiver--however, no federal license is needed to make other parts of a firearm, such as barrels or stocks.

But CIFTA’s plain language requires federal licensing of the manufacturers and sellers of barrels, stocks, screws, springs and everything else that is used to make firearms.

Likewise, the manufacture of all accessories--such as scopes, sights, slings, bipods and so on--would have to be licensed.

In the United States, the manufacture of a firearm or ammunition for one’s personal use does not require a license, since the licensing requirements apply to persons who “engage in the business” by engaging in repeated transactions for profit. (18 U.S. Code sec. 923(a).)

Yet CIFTA would require licensing for everyone.

Many, perhaps most, firearm owners occasionally tinker with their guns. They might replace a worn-out spring or install a better barrel. Or they might add accessories such as a scope, a recoil pad or a sling. All of these simple activities would require a government license. The CIFTA definition of “Illicit manufacturing” is “the manufacture or assembly of firearms, ammunition, explosives, and other related materials.” (Emphasis added.)

Even if putting an attachment on a firearm were not considered in itself to be “assembly,” the addition of most components necessarily requires some assembly; for example, scope rings consist of several pieces that must be assembled. Replacing one’s grip panels requires, at the least, the use of screws.

Because the definition of “manufacturing” is so broad, nearly all gun owners would eventually be required to obtain a manufacturing license.

CIFTA mandates that “State Parties that have not yet done so shall adopt the necessary legislative or other measures to establish as criminal offenses under their domestic law the illicit manufacturing of and trafficking in firearms, ammunition, explosives, and other related materials … the criminal offenses established pursuant to the foregoing paragraph shall include participation in, association or conspiracy to commit, attempts to commit, and aiding, abetting, facilitating, and counseling the commission of said offenses.”

Yet the preamble of CIFTA says: “... this Convention does not commit State Parties to enact legislation or regulations pertaining to firearms ownership, possession, or trade of a wholly domestic character.”

Does the preamble negate the comprehensive licensing system that CIFTA demands? Not really. The exemptions are for “ownership, possession, or trade.” There is no exemption for “manufacturing.” As detailed above, “manufacturing” is defined b

TRENDING NOW
California: City of San Diego Considers Gun Control Ordinance

Friday, July 12, 2019

California: City of San Diego Considers Gun Control Ordinance

San Diego City Attorney, Mara Elliott has asked the City Council to consider a draft ordinance that would require mandatory locked storage of firearms in the home and would propose a conflicting law regarding the reporting of ...

Vox Wants to Take Your Guns

News  

Monday, July 8, 2019

Vox Wants to Take Your Guns

A conspiracy relies on secrecy. Some are, perhaps, never uncovered. Others are exposed by the conspirators themselves, who cannot help but share the details whether from arrogance or anxiousness. For years, law-abiding gun owners and ...

California: Injunction Request to be Filed in Lawsuit Challenging California Ammo Law

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

California: Injunction Request to be Filed in Lawsuit Challenging California Ammo Law

CRPA, with the support of NRA, challenged the ammunition background check law in court months ago with the filing of the Rhode v. Becerra case. The lead plaintiff in the case is Olympic gold medalist shooter ...

New Zealand Experience Further Proves Registration Facilitates Confiscations

News  

Monday, July 8, 2019

New Zealand Experience Further Proves Registration Facilitates Confiscations

Firearms registration facilitates firearms confiscation. This fact has been demonstrated in recent weeks, as the New Zealand authorities have lamented that the country does not have a firearms registry to assist them in their gun confiscation efforts.

Recent Poll Shows Gun Control Not as Popular as Some Would Like to Believe

News  

Monday, July 8, 2019

Recent Poll Shows Gun Control Not as Popular as Some Would Like to Believe

A recent Morning Consult/POLITICO poll, conducted immediately prior to the recent  Democratic debates and gathering responses from 1,991 registered voters, asked about views toward the candidates, issues of potential importance in the election, voting intention, and ...

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

Gun Laws  

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

CAUTION: Federal and state firearms laws are subject to frequent change. This summary is not to be considered as legal advice or a restatement of law.

California: Legislature Breaks for Summer Recess

Sunday, July 14, 2019

California: Legislature Breaks for Summer Recess

The California Legislature has recessed for the summer and will return August 12 from the break. Last week, the following actions were taken by the Senate Public Safety Committee, Senate Natural Resources, and both the Senate ...

HR 218/Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act (LEOSA)

Gun Laws  

Sunday, May 11, 2014

HR 218/Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act (LEOSA)

LEOSA, as Amended by the National Defense Authorization Act of 2013 (Jan 2, 2013) (Changes have been italicized.) § 926B.

Virginia: Defend Freedom, Oppose Gov. Northam in Richmond Tomorrow

News  

Monday, July 8, 2019

Virginia: Defend Freedom, Oppose Gov. Northam in Richmond Tomorrow

Governor Ralph Northam and his gun ban allies are ready to push their extreme anti-gun agenda when the General Assembly convenes its special session tomorrow--July 9th. Your NRA is calling on members and Second Amendment supporters ...

Hawaii: Governor Ige Signs Anti-Gun Legislation

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Hawaii: Governor Ige Signs Anti-Gun Legislation

On July 9th, Governor David Ige signed the final remaining anti-gun bill awaiting his consideration, Senate Bill 600. This comes on the heels of him signing Senate Bill 1466 on June 27th. 

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -

More Like This From Around The NRA

NRA ILA

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.