(Editor’s note: This is Part Two of a three-part series on the threat to the Second Amendment and Americans’ firearm freedoms.)
I believe the political stars are aligning right now for the opening of a new front in the battle against our gun rights: via the election and work of an anti-gun president, the disarmament passions of the Washington majority and the United Nations, the appointments of gun prohibitionists from the White House to the Supreme Court and the funding of an anti-Second Amendment movement by billionaire progressives like George Soros.
In Part One last week, I discussed President Obama’s anti-Second Amendment record and his administration’s goals to use dormant treaties and global agencies to loosen the boundaries and binds of the Second Amendment. I wish to expand upon the United Nation’s participation a little further in this second part of my trilogy.
In October 2009, the Obama administration reversed the position taken by the Bush White House by stating its support for a process that could, in 2012, result in an international treaty to regulate conventional arms sales. Of course, “regulate” is a euphemism here for “the beginning of banning.”
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the United States would support the talks as long as the negotiating forum, the so-called Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty, “operates under the rules of consensus decision-making.”
Without a single mention of the Second Amendment or America’s sovereignty in her entire statement, Clinton said, “The United States is committed to actively pursuing a strong and robust treaty that contains the highest possible, legally binding standards for the international transfer of conventional weapons.”
Amnesty International and Oxfam International jointly declared the action “a major breakthrough in launching formal negotiations at the United Nations.” But do Americans really want or need the U.N. to tell us what to do with our guns with an international treaty? And when negotiating with other countries, do we really expect non-U.S. delegates to be conciliatory to America’s unique Second Amendment rights? James Madison noted in the Federalist, No. 46, “The Constitution preserves ‘the advantage of being armed which Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation … (where) the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms.'”
In 2006, the U.N. General Assembly passed a resolution titled “Toward an arms trade treaty.” In 2008, the General Assembly passed another resolution, accelerating efforts toward an arms trade treaty. In both cases, the U.S. was the only opposing vote of 154 countries. Now, it would appear that Obama and Clinton have ordered our team of U.N negotiators to drop their opposition and move forward to develop “consensus.”
With the Obama administration receptive and on board, the General Assembly (with the U.S. in complete compliance) is moving forward with a U.N. conference to produce an arms trade treaty in 2012 – perhaps sooner. In fact, the U.N. is hosting a major conference on this subject in June this year.
I would bet my finest pistol that rather than reinvent the treaty wheel the U.S. will propose wording (if not the entire document) from the CIFTA treaty. Of course, arms exporters China, Russia and Israel will again abstain, realizing (unlike U.S. officials in our recession) that limiting the trade of firearms is merely one more unwise economic move for what’s left of our manufacturing base. (In 2008, the United States accounted for more than two-thirds of some $55.2 billion in global arms transfer deals.)
John Bolton, Bush administration ambassador to the U.N., explained last November (2009): “The administration [in Washington] is trying to act as though this is really just a treaty about international arms trade between nation states, but there’s no doubt – as was the case back over a decade ago – that the real agenda here is domestic firearms control. After the treaty is approved and it comes into force, you will find out that it … requires the Congress to adopt some measure that restricts ownership of firearms. The administration knows it cannot obtain this kind of legislation purely in a domestic context. … They will use an international agreement as an excuse to get domestically what they couldn’t otherwise.”
Unfortunately, President Obama and his administration would rather limit American’s rights to keep and bear arms inside the borders – rather than stop contraband at our borders by proper patrolling and enforcement. Arturo Valenzuela, assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs, even told reporters in March that a bigger priority than the treaty right now is for both the U.S. and Mexico to “manage the border.” If we properly “managed the border,” there would be no need for a treaty!
Of course, any international treaty needs two-thirds the votes of the Senate to be ratified, and critics on both sides say there’s no way that will happen. Again, Cato Institute scholar Ted Galen Carpenter spoke for many others when he said, “There is no chance of getting a two-thirds vote in the Senate to pass this treaty; it has too many implications for gun rights in the United States.” I would respectfully beg to differ. Look how Obamacare was shoved through the Senate like a ramrod, even after the landmark election of “no” vote Scott Brown from Massachusetts. Believe me, if there’s a will, they’ll find a way.
Why the Constitution is so complicated to some, I’ll never understand. Our founders ratified a Second Amendment as a right and defense for all Americans. There’s nothing easy about defending your life. And taking a life is mega-tragic. But when your life is in danger, the Second Amendment provides for your and your loved ones’ security.
Case in point: At the beginning of this month, Michael Lish and his wife arrived home in Tulsa, Okla., at 10 p.m. to find the back door ajar and a window open. Unbeknownst to the couple, the intruder in their house has been recently released from jail and had a history of drug offenses and driving under the influence. Michael had just entered his house when he heard a noise coming from the master bedroom. Once Michael neared the bedroom, the intruder, 19-year-old Billy Jean Tiffey III, approached Michael with a sword that he was in the process of stealing from the house. When Tiffey did not comply with his order to stop approaching him, Michael, who had a concealed weapons permit, pulled out his gun and shot him in the abdomen. However, the intruder dropped to his knees and reached behind his back, appearing to the homeowner as if he was reaching for another weapon (in addition to the sword, he was also packing a .38-caliber pistol, a 9 mm pistol, a knife and a stun gun). Michael had no choice – and he shot Tiffey two more times in the chest, killing him.
It was certainly an understatement of Thomas Jefferson, when he wrote to George Washington these words in 1796, “One loves to possess arms, though they hope never to have occasion for them.”