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International Firearm Abolitionists Prepare to Draft Arms Trade Treaty

Friday, March 23, 2012

Every year about this time, the warmer weather gives every manner of fast-growing weed the opportunity to appear out of nowhere and begin consuming people's lawns. Deny it an environment in which it can thrive, by spreading a grass fertilizer and weed killer mix from your home and garden store, and it somehow finds its way to your neighbor's grass.

The same is true about international activists and representatives of various countries' governments who periodically gather under the umbrella of the United Nations, intent on changing the world. Deluded with an exaggerated sense of self-importance and obsessed with controlling the planet and everyone who inhabits it, this arrogant gaggle periodically checks in to five star hotels in the West's most cosmopolitan cities--with left-wing foundations or the taxpayers of first-world countries picking up the tab--to attend conferences during which they discuss curtailing national sovereignty and individual rights that offend their sensibilities.

As a fair review of their history would reveal, during the Cold War, "useful idiot" advocates for nuclear disarmament by the U.S., Britain and France (but not the USSR, of course) thrived within the U.N. and a host of "non-governmental organizations" (NGOs) that lobbied it, but found themselves crusaders without a crusade after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Soviet Union. In short order, they found a new raison d'etre in "land mines." But the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention of 1999, otherwise known as the Ottawa Treaty--since ratified by a majority of the world's countries--rendered the land mine issue largely passé.

What to do? What to do?

Of course, many of these perennial global agitators moved to small arms. By now, every gun owner concerned about the future of the right to keep and bear arms is aware that the international gun eradication movement has been working for more than a decade to achieve an U.N. Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) that would cover not only tanks, helicopters, and other heavy weapons, but also rifles, handguns and shotguns. And if you've been following the issue closely, you know that the most aggressive among them have recently begun pushing for such a treaty to cover firearms ammunition. With sincere apologies to Man's Best Friend, they're like dogs that salivate uncontrollably in anticipation, as their bowls are filled with beef-smelling nuggets; they become more emboldened as the day on which they will begin writing the treaty nears.

And that day is nigh. As called for by a resolution adopted by the U.N. General Assembly in 2009, a conference will be held in July, in New York City, with the purpose of drafting the treaty's language. On a parallel track, the ridiculously-named Preparatory Committee for the United Nations Conference to Review Progress Made in the Implementation of the Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects--"at the national, regional and global level," no less--under the auspices of the U.N.'s Office for Disarmament Affairs, just finished its most recent Preparatory Conference in New York.

During this PrepCon, as they call it, Mexico pretended as it often does that it is the country least responsible for its myriad chronic problems, calling for an international gun registry, presumably on the absurd belief that Mexican drug cartels will be first in line to provide corrupt Mexican police officers with the make, model, and serial number of the machineguns that the same police officers sold to them only a week before. IANSA (the International Action Network on Small Arms) complained that the Programme has given insufficient attention to civilian owned firearms and to ammunition in general.

NRA has tracked the Programme and the Arms Trade Treaty process since their inceptions, with NRA's Institute for Legislative Action even becoming an NGO to give it greater ability to monitor the progress and direction of these insidious efforts to use supranational authority to destroy our nationally-recognized and protected right. For those who are counting, the U.N.'s Universal Declaration of Human Rights recognizes a person's "right" to "rest and leisure," "to enjoy the arts," and "to . . . cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality," but doesn't recognize the right of individuals to possess the means to defend themselves. For protection, the declaration says, people should rely instead upon "international order" and the declaration's proclamation that people "should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood." And lest there be any confusion about who these folks believe should be in charge of deciding what constitutes a "right," the declaration includes the warning that "rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations."

Last year, NRA EVP Wayne LaPierre told the U.N. that the treaty's advocates had made "endless demands for record keeping, oversight, inspections, supervision, tracking, tracing, surveillance, marking, documentation, verification, paper trails, databanks, new global agencies, and data centers," without "respecting anyone's right of self-defense, privacy, property, due process, or . . . observing personal freedoms of any kind." Civilian firearms, LaPierre said, "must not be a part of any treaty. On this, there can be no compromise. American gun owners will never surrender their Second Amendment freedom."

With the position of the Obama Administration on the subject unclear, U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kans.) has introduced legislation to prevent any arms treaty from infringing the right to keep and bear arms in this country. The Second Amendment Sovereignty Act, S. 2205, would prohibit the administration from using "the voice, vote, and influence of the United States, in connection with negotiations for a United Nations Arms Trade Treaty, to restrict in any way the rights of United States citizens under the second amendment to the Constitution of the United States, or to otherwise regulate domestic manufacture, assembly, possession, use, transfer, or purchase of firearms, ammunition, or related items, including  small arms, light weapons, or related materials."

Last year, Sen. Moran and 57 other U.S. senators signed a letter to President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reminding them that the Senate has final say on treaties, and stating their unequivocal opposition to any treaty that would affect civilian ownership of firearms, or challenge the authority of Congress to regulate firearms within the United States, or call for an international gun registry.

The purpose of the Programme's recent PrepCon was to lay the groundwork for a "Review Conference" scheduled to begin in August, by which time we should know what will have come out of the treaty drafting conference held the previous month. In the meantime, contact your U.S. Senators to urge them to sponsor and support Sen. Moran's bill.

You can find contact information for your U.S. Senators by using the "Write Your Representatives" tool at  You may also contact your Senators by phone at (202) 224-3121.



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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.