September 2010

Downrange: September 2010

INTERNATIONAL ATTACK ON GUNS

At The Heritage Foundation website, Ted R. Bromund, Ph.D., and gun-rights lawyer David B. Kopel recently covered the U.N.’s chilling progress on the Small Arms "Programme of Action," or PoA. The

Todd Woodard

Todd Woodard

fourth biennial meeting on the PoA took place June 14–18, 2010.

In 2001, the United Nations created the "Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat, and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects." The PoA is not a treaty. Rather, it is a mechanism for encouraging voluntary cooperation.

"For believers in responsible diplomacy," they write, "the 2010 biennial meeting of the PoA was not a success. It raised dangers that the U.S., and Congress in particular, should watch with care.

"In particular, the U.N. has signalled it wants to turn the PoA into a binding treaty. In 2008, the Secretary-General identified as the PoA’s first weakness the fact that it "is not a legally binding instrument." In his opening remarks at the 2010 meeting, the High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, Sergio Duarte (Mexico) regretted that the PoA "proposes neither benchmarks nor cut-off dates … [and] does not provide a specific framework to facilitate international assistance and cooperation."

If the PoA were to become a treaty, all of its existing flaws would become much more dangerous. In particular, it poses serious dangers to the Second Amendment because it defines "manufacturing" in such as a way as to require nearly every gun owner to obtain a "manufacturing" license.

Moreover, the PoA continues to ignore—and by implication to denigrate—the existence of constitutions in three dozen nations that guarantee the right to arms, the right of self-defense, or the right to resist tyranny.

But there’s more: The 2010 meeting resulted in an agreement to emphasize "the importance of promoting dialogue and a culture of peace." A U.N. discussion paper argued that "promoting a culture of peace" requires, among other items, "[t]he reduction of violence in the media and in video games" as well as "[s]ustained efforts at re-education and reorientation of [member state] citizens." In the U.S., such efforts would be unacceptable on First Amendment grounds, as they would mandate government suppression of speech that is deemed politically incorrect by the U.N.

At Gun Tests, we have little doubt that the U.N. and its domestic backers care much about either the 1st or 2nd Amendments.

To read a complete version of the PoA article by Bromund and Kopel, log on to our sister site GunReports.com and follow the links to the original article on The Heritage foundation website.

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