What If The Palestinians Were “State Representatives” To UNSCAR

A post on the Volokh Conspiracy by Eugene Kontorovich from Tuesday caught my eye. He was discussing the demand of 28 US senators that funding for the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change be stopped. The reason that they were demanding that US funding to this UN agency be stopped is that the Palestinian Authority has been accepted by that agency as a “state party”.

Federal law bars any funding for U.N. agencies or affiliates that “grants full membership as a state to any organization or group that does not have the internationally recognized attributes of statehood.” In the official U.S. view, “Palestine” is not a state. Thus when the Palestinian Authority joined the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 2011, it triggered federal defunding of that organization. Now, federal law requires a similar cessation of any funding to UNFCCC.

The purpose of Professor Kontorovich’s article to speculate what might happen if the Obama Administration ignored the clear law that prohibits the funding. However, for my purposes, the article made me speculate how this law could be used to cut funding of the UN’s gun control efforts.

The Arms Trade Treaty is administered by UN Trust Facility Supporting Cooperation on Arms Regulation or UNSCAR. While the United States has not ratified the treaty, it is a signatory to it. The Arms Trade Treaty seeks to control not only major weapons systems but also small arms and ammunition. As of now, the Palestinian Authority is not considered a “state representative” to UNSCAR insofar as I can tell. That said, UNSCAR has two current projects going in the Arab and Middle Eastern states.

It would be in the interest of gun rights NGOs like the National Rifle Association and the Second Amendment Foundation to lobby to get the Palestinian Authority full recognition as a state and full membership in UNSCAR. While neither organization nor its members usually have much love for the Palestinian Authority given its connections to Hamas and the PLO, getting them recognized as a state representative does cut potential funding for more international gun control efforts.

In my view, that is a good thing.

A Commemorative Day I Could Do Without

July 9th was the UN’s International Small Arms Destruction Day. Who knew?

From the UN’s press release:

In light of the International Small Arms Destruction Day, Kosovo destroyed over 1,700 small arms and light weapons (SALW) with support from the European Union and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Firearms and Explosives Risk Minimization (FERM) project. The objective was to raise awareness of the dangers of surplus, illegal and insufficiently secured weapons, and to increase the security and safety of people living in Kosovo.

The destruction was organized by the Kosovo Police and took place at Shkritorija, Janjevo. The arms that were destroyed were weapons that the police had confiscated during their crime investigation work.

The Minister of Internal Affairs of Kosovo, Mr. Skender Hyseni, and UNDP Deputy Resident Representative, Ms. Alessandra Roccasalvo were joined by the Deputy General Director of the Kosovo Police, Naim Rexha and Mr. Asllan Uka on a panel.

This destruction is an important element of Kosovo’s comprehensive Small Arms and Light Weapons Control Programme because it is an effective method of reducing the number of illegal weapons in the market, and reducing the potential supply of such weapons in the future. This destruction ensures that SALW will not find their way back into the illicit market and can thus build confidence in overall efforts to prevent, combat, and eradicate their illicit trade. It also contributes to decreasing the number of people who will face the similar hardships to Asllan Uka in the future.

The destruction of SALW was supported by the European Union, through the COUNCIL DECISION 2013/730/CFSP, dated 9 December 2013, in Support of SEESAC Disarmament and Arms Control Activities in South East Europe (EUSAC), in the framework of the EU Strategy to Combat the Illicit Accumulation and Trafficking of SALW and their Ammunition.

It seems the State Department stopped publicizing the day back in 2010 when Hillary Clinton was still Secretary of State. Back then, the State Department boasted that the United States had spent over $130 million to support the destruction of 1.4 million small arms and light weapons, 80,000 tons of munitions, and 32,000 ManPADS.

I’ll give them the ManPADS. However, doesn’t it make more economic sense to reuse some of that 80,000 tons of ammunition? I will acknowledge that some will be artillery shells but a lot of it probably was 7.62×39 ammo which could have either gone to our allies who use that round or be imported here as surplus ammo. Moreover, I would think many of the destroyed small arms could have been imported as parts kits.

Of course it made more economic sense but when has economic sense mattered to the United Nations or, for that matter, to the Obama Administration. It is the agenda and not the cost that matters.

The UN, Jesse? Really?

In an op-ed published yesterday in the Chicago Sun-Times, the Rev. Jesse Jackson called for an investigation into Trayvon Martin’s death the the United Nations Human Rights Commission. He hints that the self-defense shooting of Martin may have been a violation of international law.

We need a national investigation of the racial context that led to Trayvon Martin’s slaying. Congress must act. And it’s time to call on the United Nations Human Rights Commission for an in-depth investigation of whether the U.S. is upholding its obligations under international human rights laws and treaties. Trayvon Martin’s death demands much more than a jury’s verdict on George Zimmerman. It calls for us to hear the evidence and render a verdict on the racial reality that never had its day in court at the trial.


The sad reality is that the UN is more likely to “investigate” this that than state-sponsored atrocities happening around the world.

“United States Welcomes Opening of Arms Trade Treaty for Signature”

The headline is from a release put out by the State Department noting that the United States planned to sign the UN’s Arms Trade Treaty. Maybe the vaguely French looking Secretary of State who, by the way, served in Vietnam, welcomes it along with the rest of the Obama Administration but most assuredly I don’t welcome it and neither do at least 130 members of Congress.

Last week, 130 members of Congress signed a letter to Obama and Kerry urging them to reject the measure for this and other reasons.

“As your review of the treaty continues, we strongly encourage your administration to recognize its textual, inherent and procedural flaws, to uphold our country’s constitutional protections of civilian firearms ownership, and to defend the sovereignty of the United States, and thus to decide not to sign this treaty,” the lawmakers wrote.

The chance of adoption by the U.S. is slim, even if Obama goes ahead and signs it — as early as Monday, or possibly months down the road. A majority of Senate members have come out against the treaty. A two-thirds majority would be needed in the Senate to ratify.

 Kerry’s statement goes on to say it won’t infringe on the Second Amendment.

The ATT will not undermine the legitimate international trade in
conventional weapons, interfere with national sovereignty, or infringe
on the rights of American citizens, including our Second Amendment

I wonder if he considers the walking of guns to Mexico in Operation Fast and Furious to have been “legitimate international trade in conventional weapons” as it certainly did interfere with the national sovereignty of Mexico. Kerry’s remark that it won’t infringe upon the Second Amendment does not even dignify a response.

According to the Toronto Globe and Mail, Canada, by the way, has not yet decided whether or not it plans to sign the Arms Trade Treaty.

The federal government hasn’t decided whether it agrees with the UN’s arms trade treaty, despite having voted to move it ahead in the first place, Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird said Monday.

“We believe that any treaty regarding the sale of munitions that helps move the international community closer to world-leading standards is a good thing,” Baird said during question period. “We participated actively in these discussions. I think we have an obligation to listen before we act, and that is why we will be consulting with Canadians before the government takes any decision.”

The Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister went on to say that the Canadian Government sees a potential link between the ATT and their former gun registry which they abolished last year.

I think the Canadians are being a heck of a lot smarter about this than the US which doesn’t surprise me in the least.

A Lump Of Coal From The UN

As a lump of coal for our Christmas stockings, the United Nations voted on Christmas Eve to restart debate on the Arms Trade Treaty.

The talks had collapsed in July when a consensus couldn’t be reached. It was felt at the time that this was due in part to President Obama not wanting the ATT hung around his neck going into the fall elections. Of course, this was denied by the US delegation.

That was then and this is now. According to Reuters, the US supported the resumption of talks.

But after Obama’s re-election last month, his administration joined other members of a U.N. committee in supporting the resumption of negotiations on the treaty.

That move was set in stone on Monday when the 193-nation U.N. General Assembly voted to hold a final round of negotiations on March 18-28 in New York.

The foreign ministers of Argentina, Australia, Costa Rica, Finland, Japan, Kenya and the United Kingdom – the countries that drafted the resolution – issued a joint statement welcoming the decision to resume negotiations on the pact.

“This was a clear sign that the vast majority of U.N. member states support a strong, balanced and effective treaty, which would set the highest possible common global standards for the international transfer of conventional arms,” they said.

There were 133 votes in favor, none against and 17 abstentions. A number of countries did not attend, which U.N. diplomats said was due to the Christmas Eve holiday.

The exact voting record was not immediately available, though diplomats said the United States voted ‘yes,’ as it did in the U.N. disarmament committee last month. Countries that abstained from last month’s vote included Russia, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Sudan, Belarus, Cuba and Iran.

 The Capitol Hill newspaper The Hill says of the resumption of talks:

The move could intensify another high-profile fight between the
administration, which backs the treaty, and the National Rifle
Association (NRA) which says it will restrict the domestic sale of

 As I see it, we will have both a domestic and international battle on our hands in the coming months. Now, more than ever, we need to be united and to deluge Congress with letters, faxes, and emails demanding no new gun control.

SAF On UN Move

The Second Amendment Foundation which has been participating in all the United Nations conferences on small arms as an accredited non-governmental organization (NGO) released this statement today regarding the move to push the ATT forward now that Obama has been re-elected.

For Immediate Release: 11/7/2012

BELLEVUE, WA – Less than 24 hours after winning re-election, President Barack Obama’s administration joined with China, France, Germany and the United Kingdom, and more than 150 other governments, in supporting renewed debate on the proposed United Nations Arms Trade Treaty, confirming the worst fears of the American gun rights community.

The vote came at the U.N. General Assembly’s meeting of the First Committee on Disarmament at the world organization’s headquarters in New York City.

“It’s obvious that our warnings over the past several months have been true,” said Alan Gottlieb, founder and executive vice president of the Second Amendment Foundation. “The election was called about 11 p.m. Tuesday and by 11 a.m. this morning, we got word that the United States was supporting this resolution. We have to be more vigilant in our efforts to stop this proposed treaty.”

SAF Operations Director Julianne Versnel, who has been back and forth to the United Nations over this proposal, said the fight is not finished. The measure will be considered for finalization in March 2013.

“We will continue to monitor this issue and oppose any effort to enforce a global gun control measure,” she stated.

Amnesty International issued a statement Wednesday lauding passage of the resolution, saying the treaty will protect human rights.

“The right of self-defense is a human right,” Gottlieb countered, “and in this country, the Second Amendment protects that right.

“Just days ago as he campaigned for re-election,” he concluded, “Barack Obama told his supporters that voting is the ‘best revenge.’ I guess now we know what he was talking about. The revenge he seeks is against American gun owners and their Second Amendment rights.”

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

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.