It Begins

It looks like the Obama Administration with their new found “mandate” isn’t going to wait until the second term actually begins to start work on more gun control.

From Reuters:

Hours after U.S. President Barack Obama was re-elected, the United States backed a U.N. committee’s call on Wednesday to renew debate over a draft international treaty to regulate the $60 billion global arms trade.

U.N. delegates and gun control activists have complained that negotiations collapsed in July largely because Obama feared attacks from Republican rival Mitt Romney if his administration was seen as supporting the pact, a charge the United States denies.

The month-long talks at U.N. headquarters broke off after the United States – along with Russia and other major arms producers – said it had problems with the draft treaty and asked for more time.

But the U.N. General Assembly’s disarmament committee moved quickly after Obama’s re-election to approve a resolution calling for a new round of talks March 18-28. It passed with 157 votes in favor, none against and 18 abstentions.

Supposedly this vote was to have taken place earlier but was delayed by Hurricane/TS Sandy which caused the UN to close down for three days. Put me down in the skeptical column over this.

The new round of talks begin in March. Moreover, even if the no agreement is reached, the Arms Trade Treaty remains on the UN’s agenda and the General Assembly could still vote on it in 2013.

The US Mission to the United Nations has “no comment”. Why bother when their actions say everything that needs be said.

Elections have consequences and we are already seeing evidence of that.

NRA News On Last Day Of Arms Trade Treaty Talks

Ginny Simone of NRA News interviews Tom Mason of the World Forum on the Future of Sport Shooting Activities about the last day of the Arms Trade Treaty talks. They discuss the speech by the State Department’s Tom Countryman which said that consensus had not been found and the talks need to be continued later. In essence, the US can’t agree to it…yet. They also discuss the letter from Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS) and 50 other senators saying they won’t support the treaty.

In a later interview with Tom Mason, Ginny Simone asks about the report that Russia and Canada both indicated they can’t support the treaty at this time.

H/T Weer’d Beard

US Refuses To Sign Arms Trade Treaty According To CCRKBA

The Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms just sent out a news flash a few minutes ago applauding the United States for its refusal to sign the UN’s Arms Trade Treaty. They said the announcement was made in New York this morning.

I did see that Russia is refusing to sign the draft treaty saying they are dissatisfied with it and the draft needs more work.

BELLEVUE, WA – The Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms today applauds the decision by the United States to not sign the proposed International Arms Trade Treaty, and CCRKBA credits grassroots action for the gun rights victory.

CCRKBA Chairman Alan Gottlieb, who is at the United Nations in New York, said the announcement came Friday morning after a week of intense negotiations.

“I think the grassroots surge by American gun owners against this treaty convinced our government to not sign this document,” Gottlieb said. “The proposed treaty, as written, poses serious problems for our gun rights, and the sovereignty of our Second Amendment.”

CCRKBA has been active in raising public awareness about the proposed treaty, and Gottlieb said he is proud of members and supporters who made “stepped up to the plate” and contacted their U.S. senators.

“This is freedom in action,” Gottlieb stated. “We are gratified that so many did so much to protect their Second Amendment rights from an international gun rights grab.

UPDATE:  According to Colum Lynch, UN reporter for the Washington Post and Turtle Bay blogger for Foreign Policy Magazine, the US isn’t actually refusing to sign the ATT. They and the Russians are putting out a joint statement saying that they need more to study the proposed treaty. From his Tweet on the subject, “UN diplomat said Washington wants to put off action on a new arms trade treaty, after the US election.”

From his blog:

The United States upended a major international treaty negotiation, telling foreign delegates at the final session today that they needed more time to consider the pact. Some diplomats said that Washington is seeking another six months, pushing off any decision on the politically sensitive treaty until after the U.S. election. Russia, Indonesia, and India also asked for more time.

Thomas Countryman, U.S. deputy secretary of state for international security and nonproliferation, informed representatives of the U.N.’s 193 member states that the United States still needed time to consider the text.

He continues:

The United States told delegates that it did not have “core” objections to the draft treaty under consideration, but that it needed more time, saying that while the U.N. negotiations have been playing out since July 2, they only received the final text in the past 24 hours.

In my opinion this is something for great concern. That the US doesn’t have “core” objections and wants to wait until after the election spells trouble for gun rights. I say this because they have no real objections to a treaty that, despite their denials, has negative implications for the Second Amendment. Moreover, putting it off until after the election means a treaty could be approved by a lame duck US Senate. This may seem paranoid but I don’t trust either Obama or his State Department on this issue.

Arms Trade Treaty Catches The Attention Of Fox News

The major media outlets have been rather quiet about the Arms Trade Treaty talks going on at the UN in New York. This short report from Fox News seems to be the first one that I’ve seen on it outside of NRA News.

As part of the the story they interview Chris Cox of the NRA-ILA. Cox pointed out that shotguns, pistols, and rifles are what’s meant by “small arms”.

Watch the latest video at

CCRKBA On HR 3594 And The Arms Trade Treaty

Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL) is not your average Chicagoland congressman. He is actually pro-gun and pro-Second Amendment unlike many of others. Walsh spoke at the 2011 Gun Rights Policy Conference held in Chicago and gave a very pro-gun speech.

This past December he introduced HR 3594, the Second Amendment Protection Act, which hits directly at proposed the Arms Trade Treaty. It would cut off all funding to the United Nations unless the president certified that the UN had not taken actions that would infringe on the rights of Americans to possess firearms and ammunition.

(a) In General- Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the United States may not provide any funding to the United Nations for a fiscal year unless, before the last day of the preceding fiscal year, the President makes the certification described in subsection (b).

(b) Certification- The certification described in this subsection is a certification submitted to the Congress by the President, that states that the United Nations has not taken action to restrict, attempt to restrict, or otherwise adversely infringe on the rights of individuals in the United States to possess a firearm or ammunition, including by imposing burdens on international commerce, or abridge any of the other constitutionally protected rights of citizens of the United States.

The bill currently has 60 co-sponsors including 26 just added recently. The Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms released the statement below on HR 3594 and the new sponsors.


BELLEVUE, WA – Twenty-six more members of Congress have signed on as co-sponsors to the Second Amendment Protection Act, the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms announced today.

“This is good news,” said CCRKBA Chairman Alan M. Gottlieb. “With a vote looming on the proposed United Nations Arms Trade Treaty, this sends a clear message to the Obama administration that the president will face real trouble if he or Secretary of State Hillary Clinton signs any document that threatens our constitutionally-protected individual right to keep and bear arms.”

Sponsored by Illinois Republican Congressman Joe Walsh, H.R. 3594 was written with help from CCRKBA staff, Gottlieb noted. It now has 60 co-sponsors, and has been referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. CCRKBA has been urging members and supporters to contact Congress and demand action on this bill.

“The U.N. is scheduled to vote on the proposed treaty next week,” Gottlieb said. “Right now they are pushing to include small arms and ammunition, and because the Devil is always in the details, when they finally hammer out a document that the Obama administration has already indicated it will sign, this could be extremely bad for American gun owners.

“Fortunately, Congressman Walsh had the foresight to understand this,” he continued, “so he introduced this legislation to protect Second Amendment sovereignty. We want the United Nations gun grabbers, and the Obama administration to understand that they are treading in perilous waters if they adopt a treaty that even remotely threatens the firearms freedoms of our citizens.

“We are coming down to the wire on this treaty,” Gottlieb stated. “Our constitutional rights far outweigh the administration’s desire to push its ‘citizen-of-the-world’ philosophy down the throats of American gun owners. We want to see action on the Second Amendment Protection Act, and with 26 new co-sponsors, we are one step closer to achieving that goal.”

Ambassador John Bolton On The ATT

Former US Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton has an op-ed in today’s New York Daily News on the proposed Arms Trade Treaty and why he considers it a stealth attack on gun rights in the United States.

Ostensibly, UNATT is about regulating government-to-government arms transfers or direct sales by manufacturers to foreign governments. But the hidden agenda of the gun controllers is to craft treaty language that, while seemingly innocuous, has long-range implications for the use and ownership of guns here in America.

The real danger lies in vague, ambiguous stipulations gun-control advocates could later cite as requiring further domestic restraints. In other words, they hope to use restrictions on international gun sales to control gun sales at home.

Indeed, the theme underlying the negotiations is that the private ownership of guns is inherently dangerous.

Bolton goes on to say that strong arguments on regulating the trade in crew-served weapons such as mortars, machine guns, and shoulder-launched missiles can be made. However, he notes that the US does already regulate our international trade in these weapons through the Arms Export Control Act and they we have strong controls on the ultimate users of these weapons. That said, he doesn’t think the Arms Trade Treaty will have much impact on trade in such weapons. Rogue nations and even developed nations less scrupulous than the United States (can you say Russia?) will just go around the treaty or ignore it.

He concludes his op-ed by saying:

They may have waited too long, because their current frantic efforts betray their fear that Obama could lose in November, replaced by a pro-Second Amendment Romney administration. Significantly, a bipartisan letter signed by 58 senators has already rejected any treaty that seeks, however cleverly, to impose gun-control obligations on the U.S.

The gun-control crowd’s strategy of trying to do through treaties what it cannot accomplish in America’s domestic political process is not unique to that issue.

We have seen and will undoubtedly see many more examples of frustrated statists, unable to prevail in free and open debate, seeking to take their issues global, hoping to find more sympathetic audiences.

Stopping UNATT will be one clear way to send a message that such strategies are doomed to failure.

If anyone knows what evil lurks in the hearts of the gun controllers at the UN, it would be John Bolton.

SAAMI’s Statement At The Arms Trade Talks

SAAMI – the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers Institute – delivered an official statement at the Arms Trade Treaty talks going on at the United Nations in New York. SAAMI is a registered UN non-governmental organization (NGO) with roster status. Earlier this year, they took steps to withdraw any reference of SAAMI association from the U.N. agency project to create International Small Arms Control Standards (ISACS) because they found the process tainted by the anti-gun forces.

Richard Patterson, Managing Director of SAAMI, delivered the following statement on Wednesday to the UN in New York. Mr. Patterson made some very good points that unfortunately will probably be ignored. I’ve taken the liberty of highlighting them.

Thank you, Mr. President. My name is Richard Patterson and I’m the Managing Director of the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute, also known as SAAMI. SAAMI was created in 1926 at the request of the US government to create safety and reliability standards in the design, manufacture, transportation, storage and use of firearms, ammunition and components.

The true success of this conference requires a focus on the big picture. Guns are tools, and like any tool can be used for great good and great harm. We all know the tragedy caused by those few who choose the path of violence, regardless of the tools they use. But you must also remember that hundreds of millions of citizens regularly use firearms for the greater good. Regulated hunting keeps wildlife populations in balance with healthy ecosystems and is a major contributor to economic stability—and thereby promotes peace—in rural areas and developing countries. Target shooting has its roots in the very beginnings of civilization. This is an Olympic year, and shooting events attract the third largest number of participating nations of any sport at the Olympic Games. And people in every nation in this room—including the UN itself—use firearms to protect the law abiding and enforce peace. A well-meaning treaty that does not support the positive use of firearms is doomed to cause more harm than good. A simple step in the right direction is to focus on the fully automatic weapons of war and exclude sporting firearms.

There are some who want to see the inclusion of small arms ammunition in this treaty. As the UN’s Group of Government Experts has determined, the shear numbers involved in ammunition—the US alone produces more than 8 billion rounds of ammunition per year and there are potentially hundreds of billions of rounds in stockpiles around the world—prevent any sort of realistic marking and tracing scheme. But even if the treaty includes a general requirement for shipments, what will that do? The US has some great legal and technical points supporting their position, but let me focus for a minute on the practical side of the equation. Millions of dollars would be spent creating and implementing an export and import authorization process for ammunition. Even more money must be spent for a system of verification. As an example, let’s say a shipment of 1 ton of small arms ammunition goes through this bureaucratic process and is approved. An expensive follow-up system results in a trained inspector showing up at the intended point of delivery. The inspector sees there is far less than 1 ton of ammunition and says “Where’s the rest of the shipment?”

And the answer is “we shot it.”

Now what does the inspector do? Millions of dollars would have been wasted—diverted into a system that cannot work. This money could otherwise have been used to fight those who choose violence.

Just as you cannot be all things to all people, this treaty can’t either. Focus on the real problems, that can be managed—focus on military weapons, and avoid being distracted by topics like ammunition, which are laudable in their idealism, but completely lacking in their practicality. Be focused, be specific, and draft a treaty with precise definitions that minimize the loopholes of “creative interpretation.” This is the path to a successful Arms Trade Treaty.

Thank you.

Chris Cox On The Arms Trade Treaty

Ginny Simone of NRA News interviewed Chris Cox, head of the NRA-ILA, about the UN’s Arms Trade Treaty yesterday. This interview was after Wayne LaPierre spoke to the delegates of the ATT talks and presented the NRA’s position.

Chris made some good points in this interview. Perhaps the best was when he said that “our freedoms shouldn’t be dumbed down to an international standard; the truth is that international standards need to be brought up to United States (levels).” Given that the ATT has countries like Iran in a leadership role I don’t see this happening. That said, Chris is correct.

Another important point that Chris made was that treaties hang around forever until such time as there is a President and Senate willing to ratify it. Unlike a bill passed in one house of Congress that dies at the end of that Congressional session if the other house doesn’t pass it, an international treaty hangs around like a Zombie.

LaPierre Addresses Arms Trade Treaty Talks

The pro-gun NGOs have been jerked around by the organizers of the Arms Trade Treaty talks going on this month at the United Nations. First, they were supposed to speak at the end of the conference and then at the beginning. It appears that they have struck a happy median and are having them speak this week.

Wayne LaPierre of the NRA was finally able to present his brief remarks today to the ATT talks. They have just been posted by the NRA-ILA and appear below:

Mr. President, thank you for this brief opportunity to address this conference. I am Wayne LaPierre and for 21 years now, I have served as Executive Vice President of the National Rifle Association of America.

The NRA is the largest and most active firearms rights organization in the world, with four million members who represent 100 million law-abiding Americans who own firearms.

On behalf of those 100 million American gun owners, I am here to announce NRA’s strong opposition to anti-freedom policies that disregard American citizens’ right to self-defense.

No foreign influence has jurisdiction over the freedoms our Founding Fathers guaranteed to us.

We will not stand idly by while international organizations, whether state-based or stateless, attempt to undermine the fundamental liberties that our men and women in uniform have fought so bravely to preserve – and on which our entire American system of government is based.

For six years, the NRA has closely monitored this effort for an Arms Trade Treaty.

We have watched with increasing concern and, one year ago, I delivered to the Preparatory Committee our objections to including civilian arms in the ATT. I said then … and I will repeat now … that the only way to address NRA’s objections is to simply and completely remove civilian firearms from the scope of the treaty.

That is the only solution. On that there will be no compromise. American gun owners will never surrender our Second Amendment freedom. Period.

Our Founding Fathers wrote the Second Amendment so Americans would never have to live in tyranny.

For any foreign entity to attempt to encroach on that great freedom is offensive to every American who has ever breathed our free air, or who has ever used a firearm to fend off an evil attacker – whether a criminal breaking into their home, or in defense of their family against a tyrant halfway around the world.

Our Second Amendment is freedom’s most valuable, most cherished, most irreplaceable idea. History proves it. When you ignore the right of good people to own firearms to protect their freedom, you become the enablers of future tyrants whose regimes will destroy millions and millions of defenseless lives.

Without apology, the NRA wants no part of any treaty that infringes on the precious right of lawful Americans to keep and bear arms.

Let there be no confusion. Any treaty that includes civilian firearms ownership in its scope will be met with the NRA’s greatest force of opposition.

Mr. President, there are those who believe that merely excluding civilian firearms from the ATT preamble will be sufficient.

Let me state – in the clearest possible terms – that it is not. A preamble to a treaty has no force of law. We know that, and a strong bipartisan majority of the United States Senate and House of Representatives know it as well.

Any Arms Trade Treaty must be adopted by two-thirds of the U.S. Senate, which has 100 members. Already, 58 Senators have objected to any treaty that includes civilian arms, and a majority of the U.S. House of Representatives also opposes such a treaty.

The NRA represents hundreds of millions of Americans who will never surrender our fundamental firearms freedom to international standards, agreements, or consensus.

America will always stand as a symbol of freedom and the overwhelming force of a free, armed citizenry to protect and preserve it.

On behalf of all NRA members and American gun owners, we are here to announce that we will not tolerate any attack – from any entity or organization whatsoever – on our Constitution or our fundamental, individual Right to Keep and Bear Arms.

Thank you.

UPDATE: Here is the video from Wayne’s speech before the ATT talks. 

At Least The Canadians Get It

Most of the developed world seems to be living in la-la land when it comes to the UN’s Arms Trade Treaty. I would include the Obama Administration in that category despite any reassurances that they might give regarding the Second Amendment. Not so out in la-la land are the Canadians whose statement at the opening of the Arms Trade Treaty talks has some realism in it.

For example, the Canadians insist that it is important for the ATT to recognize the legitimacy of lawful trade in firearms as well as that it recognize “the lawful ownership of firearms by responsible citizens for personal and recreational uses.” They propose adding the following two paragraphs to the Preamble of the Arms Trade Treaty.

Recognizing that the purpose of the ATT is to prevent, combat and eradicate the illicit and irresponsible transfer of conventional arms and their diversion into the illicit market, including for use in transnational organized crime and terrorism;

Noting that the ATT acknowledges and respects responsible and accountable trans-national use of firearms for recreational purposes, such as sport shooting, hunting and other similar forms of lawful activities, whose legitimacy is recognised by the State Parties.

I would also add in there the self-defense of individuals but it seems that the United Nations concept of lawful self-defense extends only to nations and not to individuals.

Given the recent experience with their own Firearms Registry and what a colossal and expensive failure it ended up being, it is no surprise that the Canadians say any additional reporting commitments be practical and realistic. They note for large importers and exporters maintaining detailed records of each and every transaction would overwhelm “virtually any administrative system now in existence.”

They go on to add that any reporting requirements must not contain so much details as to impair the national security of individual states nor compromise “the legally-protected information of private companies or the personal information of private individuals.”

I love their last point where they insist that if any new administrative unit is needed to implement and administer a new ATT then its funding should come out of the existing UN budget. Moreover, any new personnel would come from existing UN agencies and be located within existing UN institutions.

The points that the Canadians make notwithstanding, I still think the best treaty is no treaty and that the US should have told the UN to stick their ATT just like it did when John Bolton was the Ambassador to the UN.