By Thomas R. Eddlem
Stewart M. Patrick of the New York-based Council on Foreign Relations says that gun owners’ concerns about a United Nations small arms treaty, the so-called Arms Transfer Treaty (ATT) being drafted in New York this month, “are not only inflammatory, they are completely unfounded.” The CFR pronounces that “Your Guns Are in Safe Hands” with the United Nations.
Stewart, a senior fellow and director at the establishment organization’s Program on International Institutions and Global Governance, wrote on the CFR website July 20:
The treaty is limited to the international trade of conventional arms, which pertains to the buying, selling, transshipping, transferring, or loaning across borders. The draft text of the treaty explicitly recognizes “the exclusive right of States to regulate internal transfers of arms and national ownership, including through the constitutional protections on private ownership.”
In reality, the actual United Nations Programme of Action adopted in 1999 requires gun control in every nation, despite paper promises today. The Programme of Action requires nations:
To put in place, where they do not exist, adequate laws, regulations and administrative procedures to exercise effective controlover the production of small arms and light weapons within their areas of jurisdiction and over the export, import, transit or retransfer of such weapons. [Emphasis added.]
To ensure that comprehensive and accurate records are kept for as long as possible on the manufacture, holding and transfer of small arms and light weapons under their jurisdiction. These records should be organized and maintained in such a way as to ensure that accurate information can be promptly retrieved and collated by competent national authorities. [Emphasis added.]
Not surprisingly, the non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that dominate UN conferences on small arms have uniformly backed the outlawing of privately held firearms and repeal of the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment. So it should also not be surprising that the United Nations, regarding an armed citizenry, takes a view opposite that of the Second Amendment. The UN Small Arms website claims: “A build-up of small arms alone may not create the conflicts in which they are used, but their excessive accumulation and wide availability aggravates the tension. The violence becomes more lethal and lasts longer, and a sense of insecurity grows, which in turn lead to a greater demand for weapons.” Of course, historically, the reverse has been true. Armed citizens are far more secure. Meanwhile, unarmed populations have often proven to be victims of their murderous governments, even fairly poorly armed governments such as Rwanda’s in the 1990s. In the case of Rwanda, the UN helped the genocidal government secure an arms dealto accomplish the slaughter of minority Tutsis.
Stewart claims that international gun control under the UN is a moral necessity for the United States:
As the top global supplier of major conventional weapons, accounting for 30 percent of all exports (Russia is a close second with 24 percent), the United States has the special responsibility to marshal its diplomatic energy toward crafting a robust, enforceable, and sustainable treaty that will raise global standards and ultimately save lives. Given the divergent and often competing interests at stake, appeasing domestic constituencies is just one of the many hurdles to overcome in order to reach a consensus on a “bulletproof” treaty.
Stewart is not alone in providing reassurances. Retired Maj. Gen. Roger R. Blunt wrote a similar whitewash of the UN gun-ban agenda in The Hill July 12, claiming, “This treaty would have little to no impact on international weapons transfers by the United States and no impact on Second Amendment freedoms. It would also in no way establish a supranational regulatory agency that could in any way violate U.S. sovereignty.”
Of course, if Stewart’s desire for an “enforceable” treaty is realized, how could the UN not establish a supranational regulatory agency?
Blunt also claimed, “Opponents have been trying to muddy the waters by raising unfounded and non-specific Second Amendment concerns to scare their members and raise money. They do this knowing full well that the ATT charter explicitly limits the scope of the ATT to prevent it from having any influence over domestic gun laws or sales within countries.”
But the UN Small Arms conference’s Preparatory Committee (PrepCom), which set up the goals of the treaty negotiation, included national gun registration. And it included not just “imports” and “exports,” but all “transfers” of small arms. While the final ATT treaty text is not yet available, national gun registration is neither an unfounded nor a “non-specific” concern for defenders of the Second Amendment.