Last time I checked, Americans were responsible for making our own laws. We do not invite foreign nations to have a say in how we govern ourselves within our own borders. Yet if you follow what’s been going on with the United Nations this year, you would know the U.S. came perilously close to having other countries dictate our gun laws. And the fight isn’t over yet.
The United Nations has been debating an “Arms Trade Treaty” for nearly a decade now. While the treaty is ostensibly focused on military arms, it has long been clear that the majority of U.N. delegates consider our personal firearms to be crying out for international regulation as well. The focus of the treaty would demand that governments regulate the sale and possession of firearms worldwide – all of them, including yours and mine.
While I believe that firearms should not be in the wrong hands, the proposed terms of this global gun-control treaty would overreach wildly into regulating the sale of firearms to law-abiding citizens. In other words, the proposed treaty is a mechanism for Iran and other tyrannical powers to have a say in your gun ownership.
Yes, Iran has a say in this, and this is why the U.N. has no credibility in my opinion – in this matter and most others. Iran, one of the world’s greatest human rights violators has often chaired the U.N. Human Rights Council! Iran has supplied arms to many of America’s worst enemies, and yet Iran, along with other rogue nations, would have a say in the regulation of your guns should a U.N. treaty ever come to pass. The U.N. allows plenty of illegal maneuvers to occur worldwide, but when it comes to poking its nose into our legal ownership of firearms, apparently that is fair game.
The Bush administration understood these concerns and wisely opposed this concept, asserting that any agreement to regulate private gun ownership represented a threat to our Second Amendment freedoms. This proclamation was the death knell for the first U.N. gun-control treaty conference more than 10 years ago.
But bad ideas at the U.N. never go away – they just fade until the political climate changes. Treaty discussions went underground for several years until the Obama administration announced a willingness to consider a new treaty as long as the parties operated under “consensus.”
This summer, the debate reached a fever pitch during a month-long marathon negotiation session in July. The goal was to disgorge a treaty in time for the Obama administration to sign it before Election Day. The draft treaty was odious on its face – among other things, it would have required the United States to “maintain records of all imports and shipments of arms,” register the identity of the “end user” of those firearms, and then report the user’s information to a U.N.-based gun registry. In several drafts, the treaty would have mandated that every round of ammunition be tracked globally.
What’s really ironic here is that the United States already has the most comprehensive system in the world for regulating international arms transfers. Other nations could achieve the stated goals of the treaty process by simply emulating our protocols. But the reality is that the treaty was actually intended as a mechanism to submit our unique Second Amendment guarantees to international inspection – and condemnation.
Luckily, reasonable elected officials have been closely following what has been going on and have spoken up about it. In July Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., gathered the signatures of 51 senators and sent a letter to President Obama and Secretary Clinton, stating: “As the treaty process continues, we strongly encourage your administration not only to uphold our country’s constitutional protections of civilian firearms ownership, but to ensure – if necessary, by breaking consensus at the July conference – that the treaty will explicitly recognize the legitimacy of lawful activities associated with firearms, including but not limited to the right of self-defense. As members of the United States Senate, we will oppose the ratification of any Arms Trade Treaty that falls short of this standard.”
Thanks to this kind of pressure, the treaty negotiations broke down this summer, and that is a good thing. But that doesn’t mean the U.N. is giving up the fight. It’s just reducing it into smaller pieces. In fact, in late August, an umbrella organization of 23 separate U.N. agencies known as the Coordinating Action on Small Arms, or CASA, adopted the first portion of International Small Arms Control Standards, or ISACS. The ISACS text is made up of 33 separate modules, some 800 pages in total. And they’re just getting started.
What can we do? We can ensure that we have a president who will not support the treaty, and a U.S. Senate that will not ratify the treaty it. That’s not a one-time commitment. Remember, once a treaty is enacted, it can be picked up at any time by a president and Senate. There are smaller gun-control treaties that have been floating around the Senate for ratification since 1998!
What can you do? You can make sure that you and every freedom-loving American you know is registered to vote. I’m proud to serve as the honorary chairman of Trigger the Vote, the NRA’s nonpartisan campaign to register voters who support the Second Amendment. We’ve made it easy on our website; all the tools to register are there at TriggerTheVote.org. If you’re already registered, you probably know someone who isn’t. Share the stakes with them, and urge them to join the rolls of informed voters.
Throughout my life I’ve been committed to preserving our freedom from threats, both foreign and domestic. This proposed U.N. global gun-control treaty may not be an “invasion” in the classic sense of the word but believe me, over time it represents the potential for encroachment of the greatest kind. Protect your rights by registering to vote today!