U.N. Arms Treaty: Dreams Of International Gun Control

BY Herschel Smith
3 years, 10 months ago

Capital Hill is under pressure to adopt the approaching U.N. arms treaty, from the New York Times, to Reuters, to confused and goofy Christians who forgot all about their theology and think that a new regulation, law or treaty will bring peace on earth and good will toward men.

We have been informed that this administration will not allow the U.N. to impose any restrictions on American’s gun rights.  But then again, this is the same administration that: [1] Sent Donald Verrilli and Lanny Breuer to argue against Sean Masciandaro concerning the possession of firearms on National Park land, [2] Nominated Justice Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court (who testified that Heller was settled law, and then dissented in McDonald versus Chicago, agreeing with Breyer who argued for overturning Heller), and [3] Named Rose Gottemoeller to head the U.S. delegation to the U.N. arms control negotiations, the very same Rose Gottemoeller who informed Moscow that the U.S. was open to significant compromise on U.S. missile defense.

In fact, a short tour through the U.N. schemes shows that international tracing, combined with nationalized regulations and controls on the manufacture, transfer and sell of small arms, is the central feature of the plan.  The U.N. program for implementation includes such requirements as no “military style” weapons should be possessed by civilians, a registered and traceable lifetime for every weapon, and so on.  Courtesy of reddit/guns, here is a marked-up listing of the kinds of regulations envisioned by the U.N.

As we have discussed before, the distinction between civilian and military weapons is meaningless today, and wasn’t ever very useful.  Bolt action rifles, semi-automatic rifles, tactical shotguns and a whole host of other kinds of weapons are being used in both civilian and military applications, and have been for a very long time.  A U.N. distinction between civilian and military weapons would yield regulations more onerous than the assault weapons ban (sunset provision on September 13, 2004) ever could.  A U.N. distinction between civilian and military owners achieves nothing beyond what the U.N. already wants, i.e., an international gun registry and lack of weapons transferability, and thus is this distinction a disingenuous subterfuge.  Promises to exempt “civilians” – whatever that means – doesn’t make this treaty any less dangerous to firearms ownership in America.

Missives on why treaties do not obviate or supersede the constitution, while well intentioned and informative, miss the point entirely.  Even in the wake of the Heller and McDonald rulings, there are still four justices on the Supreme Court who fundamentally do not believe in the second amendment, and then at least one who sees reversal of Heller on the horizon with a “future, wiser court.”  Furthermore, the decisions in Heller and McDonald do not address issues such as a gun registry, further controls on transfer of weapons across state lines or even within states, or other meaningless and intrusive ATF regulations.  There is a pregnant field of un-litigated second amendment issues in America, and the existence of an international treaty only complicates gun ownership.  It isn’t obvious that any court, much less the Supreme Court, would find stipulations similar to the ones in the U.N. treaty to be unconstitutional.

Finally, take note that international luminaries such as Iran – known to supply weapons to insurgents in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria – have been appointed to a post negotiating the treaty.  The very real possibility exists that legitimate weapons sales from the U.S. to allies (such as Israel) would become problematic under the treaty.  Taiwan, for instance, is concerned that the treaty could undercut weapons imports.

The silliness of the treaty and its effect on other nations is outlined fairly well by David Bosco at Foreign Policy (even if Bosco is willing to overlook its silliness).

There was a lot of talk at the session about the absurdity that sales of bananas are more regulated internationally than sales of assault rifles and about the need for more states to enact domestic legislation regulating arms transfers. The assembled activists did leaven their optimism with a dose of reality. They acknowledged that the treaty almost certainly would not contain any binding language or enforcement mechanisms. Instead, every country will determine for itself whether an arms sale or transfer is likely to contribute to human rights violations. (Under the ATT likely to emerge, Russia could report that it has duly considered whether arming Syrian forces would lead to violations and decided that it would not. Nobody would be able to gainsay the Kremlin, at least not through the treaty mechanism.)  What’s more, the treaty negotiations will be conducted on a consensus basis (Washington insisted on that), which means that any state can block adoption of a text it doesn’t like.

So civilians in America would be subject to onerous new regulations since America is a law abiding nation, while rogue nations would be free to export weapons as they see fit.  Or in other words, the criminals have the guns while the law abiding citizens are disarmed, sort of like gun control in America.  As I have previously observed, the U.N. arms treaty is a solution in search of a problem.

Not only does this treaty intrude on the second amendment rights of American citizens, and not only is it hypocritical in its intent, it would target the very country who abides by its laws and allow the perpetrators justification for their own actions.  The treaty is just one more progressive, micromanaging, over-controlling, statist solution to a problem that doesn’t exist.  We’ve seen ten thousand like it, and as long as the U.N. gets funding and a home from the U.S. government, we will see many more instances of this kind of busy-body meddling into the affairs of American citizens.

Regardless of what kind of language is included in the treaty concerning military and civilian weapons, it does nothing to address the real problem of weapons traffickers such as Iran, and there is no reason to ratify it.

UPDATE: Thanks to David Codrea for the attention to this.

UPDATE #2: Glenn Reynolds says bring it!


The U.N. Small Arms Treaty

  • http://www.pagunblog.com Sebastian

    Missives on why treaties do not obviate or supersede the constitution, while well intentioned and informative, miss the point entirely. Even in the wake of the Heller and McDonald rulings, there are still four justices on the Supreme Court who fundamentally do not believe in the second amendment, and then at least one who sees reversal of Heller on the horizon with a “future, wiser court.” Furthermore, the decisions in Heller and McDonald do not address issues such as a gun registry, further controls on transfer of weapons across state lines or even within states, or other meaningless and intrusive ATF regulations. There is a pregnant field of un-litigated second amendment issues in America, and the existence of an international treaty only complicates gun ownership. It isn’t obvious that any court, much less the Supreme Court, would find stipulations similar to the ones in the U.N. treaty to be unconstitutional.

    I completely agree with you about the court fight. But the fight with the Supreme Court is somewhat separate from whatever the UN does. The existence of a treaty certainly isn’t helpful, but the arguments that will be taken before the court are unlikely to involve issues that come up as a result of the ATT unless Congress has a serious shift in its sentiment about gun control, and if that happens, the UN is going to be one of many problems.

  • http://www.captainsjournal.com/ Herschel Smith

    Don’t think so Sebastian. I can’t think of anything MORE relevant to this than what the SCOTUS thinks. If the U.N. imposes vast, sweeping regulations, applied through the ATF, all supported by the Congress because they ratified the treaty, it matter in the superlative what the Sct. thinks. It would be they who would stop the intrusions into the second amendment, or conversely, it would be they who would turn a blind eye because they don’t believe in the constitution.

    Thus far the score is 5-4 in our favor. Stay tuned; that may change.

  • http://godscaliber.blogspot.com Teke175

    I have linked to your post. Great information and excellent post.

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  • Chris in N.Va.

    Fists are sometimes used by the military in hand-to-hand combat, so the next (IL)logical step is to prohibit brandishing a fist in public lest some frail fainting heart feel threatened or upset at such a display of barbaric intent.

    Also in light of the military’s documented use of loudspeakers and high-decibel noise to intimidate the enemy, raising one’s voice at someone else will soon likewise render the utterer liable for prosecution for war crimes and excessive psychological trauma.

    So there!!

  • Lou Gots

    The treaty would be a source of federal jurisdiction over intra-state gun activity, thus getting around the Lopez issue.

  • Mike

    Don’t try it. Just do not. Many, many, many will simply refuse to comply. Period.

  • Mike H

    Thank you for providing this summary of the treaty. Fortunately this treaty wont go anywhere in the US because the Senate will never ratify it, but all the screaming ninnies at the NY Times and in the Obama administration who preface every desire to take away lawful firearms with “we respect the constitution” should be put on notice that we can and will read the law and wont rely on their interpretation of it.

  • Stan

    What business is it of the UN if a country doesn’t want gun control?
    How is this a legitimate UN issue?

  • http://www.captainsjournal.com/ Herschel Smith

    Stan, it isn’t a legitimate U.N. issue, but then, I don’t consider the existence of the U.N. to be legitimate.

    Mike H, yes, I don’t propose to know the probability that this treaty will or would have passed in the Senate. One never knows until the vote, regardless of promises. But it was disconcerting to read discussion of Senators attempting to ensure that “civilian firearms” were excluded from the treaty, even ostensibly conservative Senators.

    As you see above, this is a lie, a subterfuge, a smokescreen, a ruse, a misdirect. It is completely irrelevant, and I wanted more than anything else to ensure that Congress knew that this “excuse” for voting in favor of the treaty wouldn’t wash come election day. They would be voted out, or primaried. Either way is fine with me.

    Rock on.

  • Jim Harris

    I don’t trust SCOTUS at all, especially given recent events. The other branches are subject to the winds and whims of change because they are subject to democratic processes — a source of both foreboding and also hope, depending on how the wind/whim blows.

    But with the judicial system, including SCOTUS, with its lifetime tenure of judges without democratic accountability, and their ability to reinterpret the word interpret to mean whatever they want — this is the last institutional vestige of dictatorship in this country.

    We need a Constitutional amendment to change that, and impose a degree of democracy on the judiciary. They must be ultimately accountable to the people, just like the other branches.

  • FrancisChalk

    Concerning “confused and goofy Christians” who support this Socialist/UN power grab: The Christian Left is a very strange and scary lot. They overwhelmingly support virtually every Marxist creation designed to take down capitalism and the West including global warming, feminism, multiculturalism, political correctness, and social justice, to name a few. Yet, many seemingly good Christians seem oblivious to the fact that the core philosophical belief underpinning all these Marxist/Socialist/Communist social engineering mechanisms is atheism. The Christian left is a dangerous “fifth column” and its deceitful, un-Christian purpose must be exposed for all to see.

  • http://www.captainsjournal.com/ Herschel Smith

    Yes Francis, but this group (National Association of Evangelicals) is supposed to be a conservative group. Yet they seem to be morphing into the National Council of Churches. It’s sad.

  • Sardondi

    Have you noticed how the UN doesn’t even bother these days to attempt to conceal its now-apparent plan to fashion itself into the terrestrial version of the Galactic Empire? 30 years ago they began thinking about it, and even whispered among the Senator Palpatines of what was then the permanent Euro-bureaucracy of the UN (since expanded to include their ideological siblings in Asia, Africa and North America). Now the proponents, who are many indeed, see no danger of being stopped or even exposed by anyone, even those cowboy Americans, whom they have so successfully co-opted, de-legitimized or minimalized with the gleeful assistance of the major US news media which was completely in sync with the one world/one government dreams of the shadow leadership of the UN.

    But if the UN can’t even keep the peace outside of 4-square-block area in Freetown, Sierra Leone, how the hell does it expect an STD-riddled army of the modern day version of George III’s Hessian grenadiers to invade, say, Texas? Much less defeat and then disarm the pugnacious, even bellicose, populace of that state, each of whom seems to leave the womb with a great affinity for firearms, and of whom so very many are just itching to make somebody, anybody, pay for having subjected the same region to a very painful invasion visited upon their forbears some 150 years earlier.

    And that’s just one state. The Blue Berets couldn’t even take California: between the ambulatory WWII combat vets, Orange County residents and Northern California pot farmers, there’s enough of a pool to provide the manpower, weaponry (including crew-served) and training cadre sufficient to man, arm and prepare a coastal defense more than adequate to stop even the crack UNESCO Division at the waterline, and still leave time to catch some waves before sundown…well, if the surfers didn’t mind dodging bodies of French, Bangladeshi, Indonesian and Nigerian rent-a-rapists.

    There are, however, a couple of areas in which even admittedly sub-par UN forces (composed chiefly of Jamaica’s Ganja Fog Rangers and General Butt Naked’s Liberian Witch Doctor detachment) stand a good chance of success: the Massachusetts a coastline and NY City. Unfortunately the governments of that state and city have banned the ownership of all weapons above paper clips. In Massachusetts Congressman Frank has suggested offering up the state’s prepubescent children as slaves to buy off the invaders. And Mayor-for-Life Bloomberg has promised to meet the UN troops with the finest quality medical marijuana and filets, steaks and ribs from the freshest cadavers of NYC. (No one has yet asked His Honor why the UN troops thought to be interested in those offerings would care for what he provides them, inasmuch as they have either brought their own superior product, or can make/collect an unlimited amount themselves with little effort.) The only possible bright spot is that as one moves west and/or north from the Massachusetts coastline/NYC, the citizenry becomes much more firearms-friendly, self-reliant and committed to self-defense, and caches of firearms can be anticipated.

    Vermont, however, is thought to be a lost cause, in that it is now populated primarily by residents of Cambridge and Manhattan, with all original Vermont residents having abandoned their ancient homes and moved to New Hampshire years ago. It is believed federal elected officials from Vermont may have already concluded a separate peace with the UN, and have promised to provide invading forces three divisions of artisanal cheese and ice cream makers.

  • http://tinyurl.com/TipgPt FrankInFL

    Anyone for another civil war? tinyurl.com/TipgPt

  • richard40

    I would hope the NRA would make killing this treaty one of their critical votes. If it passes, our gun rights certainly will take a big setback. How like Obama to acheive by a decepotive treaty what he could never achieve by legislation.

  • RonInOH

    Remember, those who do not study history are bound to repeat it. The same thing happened in pre-war Germany and in the post-war Soviet Union. In both cases only the ‘bad guys’ had access to weapons. Gradually remove the citizen’s rights to bear arms and give it only to the state. Removal of other rights to follow. We could be in very serious trouble.

  • WHIP

    I agree totally with RonInOh !

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  • Jean

    Will this treaty apply to Afghanistan? If so I need to report some treaty violations in advance, certain citizens of the peaceful Kornegal, Pech, and Waygal have already violated the proposed treaty- send in the blue berets.

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This article is filed under the category(s) Featured,Firearms,Guns,Second Amendment and was published July 11th, 2012 by Herschel Smith.

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