by Steven Yates
Just recently, the federal government pledged to contribute $1.3 billion in taxpayer dollars to the United Nations' anti-AIDS campaign. This came about as part of a three-day convention on AIDS. On Monday, internationalist Colin Powell pledged that the U.S. (i.e., U.S. taxpayers) would give still more money to fight AIDS. The dominant media dutifully reported all of this.
One wonders to what extent they will report the 11-day confab scheduled to begin on July 9. As of this writing, I've seen nothing except on the Internet.
The topic of this upcoming event is gun control, so-called. Its purpose is discussing various strategies for controlling the distribution of "small arms," i.e., a global strategy for disarming not governments but citizens. It is fair to say that UN superelites and the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution are on direct collision course and have been for several years now. Gun control, so-called, has been a popular stance for doctrinaire leftists of all stripes, with some of them vocally wishing they could make every gun just disappear – whatever this means.
I use the phrase gun control, so-called, to underscore the fact that what is proposed is not so much the control of guns but the control of people. If laws banning guns were intended to keep guns out of the hands of criminals, then these laws are dismal failures – all over the world. In the late 1990s Australia passed some of the strictest gun measures in the world. Violent crime immediately skyrocketed. Other nations have had similar experiences. The American city with the strictest gun laws, Washington, D.C., is also the most crime-ridden. John Lott has demonstrated in a book and in any number of articles that there is a direct relationship between the crime rate and the perception that citizens are unable to defend themselves. While the media has maintained a strict blackout on Lott's work, his results make perfect sense. Criminals may be immoral but they are not irrational; they will usually think twice about holding someone up who might be carrying a concealed weapon, or robbing a house if they are afraid the owner will shoot back.
Now the UN wants to finish the job of disarming us that U.S. leftists have started. The upcoming summit, to begin on July 9 and run until July 20, is called the United Nations Conference on the Illlicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons In All Its Aspects. According to the UN's website which provides a wealth of information on the conference, “Small arms are weapons designed for personal use, while light weapons are designed for use by several persons serving as a crew. Examples of small arms include revolvers and self-loading pistols, rifles, sub-machine guns, assault rifles and light machine-guns. Light weapons include heavy machine-guns, mortars, hand grenades, grenade launchers, portable anti-aircraft and anti-tank guns and portable missile launchers.” Small arms, in other words, are weapons that can be carried by one person, e.g., handguns. Much of the material on the UN website seems — shall we say — intended to disarm with its overall tenor. The press kit stresses the humanitarian goals of the UN in the face of the roles played by small arms and light weapons in the conflicts of the past few years, the effects of these conflicts on children, and so on. (Never mind that most of the conflicts of recent years have been fomented by the same superelites that are now pushing for controls on weapons; the push for global government has gained by leaps and bounds by destabilizing regions such as the former Yugoslavia.)
An introductory statement concludes, "The international community has come to recognize that the excessive and destabilizing accumulation of and illicit trafficking in those weapons is a global threat to peace and security. Small arms fuel conflicts and pose serious danger to innocent civilians as well as to humanitarian workers and peacekeepers. The international community needs to take concerted action to end this scourge." While claiming that "A ban is impossible because … small arms and light weapons are necessary for a State's legitimate right of self-defence," the overall strategy is toward "a politically binding declaration – a programme of action – that will continue the process of controlling small arms and light weapons. Two areas cited by the draft plan are u2018negotiation of an international instrument to identify and trace the lines of supply of small arms and light weapons' and negotiations on an international instrument u2018to restrict the production and trade in small arms and light weapons to registered manufacturers and brokers' authorized by States."
In other words, we are looking at gun control, so-called, going international, with ownership and trade of guns out of the hands of private citizens and controlled by governments – under the watchful eye of the UN. Ensuing material elaborates the efforts involved in putting "into place laws to exercise effective control over the legal manufacturing, transfer and possession of small arms and light weapons and to ensure punishment for the breaking of those laws." Other programs are also in the works. One "would … establish a standardized marking system so that weapons can be traced in the event of their illegal use or transfer. Unmarked weapons could be destroyed." Another would set out to "establish tighter export controls with enhanced end-user certificates to ensure that small arms and light weapons are exported only to legitimate recipients; this could be supplemented by national systems for regulating arms brokers." In other words, universal gun registration, taken to an international level as seen by the following: "Laws could also be changed to make violations of United Nations arms embargoes a breach of national laws." The UN acts, in a power grab of unprecedented proportions, implementing policy that will supercede national law in a manner similar to how centralized national law has come to supercede state and local law. "Tighter controls over the possession of and access to small arms and light weapons by both authorized government bodies (police, armed forces) and by civilians would also help stem the illicit flow of arms."
What we are talking about here is the centralization of control over guns, and therefore over law-abiding citizens' ability to defend themselves from power-grabbers, on a scale never dreamt of until just the past few years. The above statements are all off the UN's own website, where anyone can check their accuracy and context. The global gun grabbers are not hiding; they are not conspiring behind our backs. What is going on, as I have long insisted, is going on right before our eyes; anyone who knows how to access the Internet can read the full extent of the documentation for himself.
While calls by leftists for gun control go back many years, of course, the UN's current plans got underway in 1995, when then-Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali was asked to appoint a "panel of government experts" to prepare a report on the distribution of small arms. This report was finally submitted to the current UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan, in 1997. It included such provisions as: "All States should determine in their national laws and regulations which arms are permitted for civilian possession and the conditions under which they can be used." And: "All States should ensure that they have in place adequate laws, regulations and administrative procedures to exercise effective control over the legal possession of small arms and light weapons and over their transfer."
A new group of "government experts" convened in 1998 to report on the progress of implementing the 1997 recommendations. Their report was submitted in August, 1999. It took note of the gun control initiatives in various countries such as Australia. The panel further recommended: "States [i.e., nations] should work toward the introduction of appropriate national legislation, administrative regulations and licensing requirements that define conditions under which firearms can be acquired, used and traded by private persons. In particular, they should consider the prohibition of unrestricted trade and private ownership of small arms and light weapons…"
There is, in the United States, an important stumbling block to all this: the U.S. Constitution. The Second Amendment articulates the right of law-abiding citizens to bear arms: "A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." Notice there is no reference here to Congress or any other governmental body, as can be found in the First Amendment. A great deal of ink has been spilled on the "interpretations" of the Second Amendment, including whether it applies to individual citizens or to some other entity. I shall take the position that it means just what it says, and is very fundamental: clearly the Constitution cannot protect itself. An armed citizenry has always had the potential to restrain the growth of government. Disarmed people are no longer citizens of a free republic but subjects of an empire. Dr. Herbert L. Calhoun, the U.S. representative on the "panel of government experts," endorsed the UN's plans anyway.
In fact, discussions of the U.S. Constitution or the Second Amendment are conspicuous in their absence from the UN statements we have considered. A standard browser search of the various pages of the UN website dealing specifically with the Conference on the Illlicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons In All Its Aspects turned up no references to either the Second Amendment or the Constitution itself. So despite the appeals to "international law," the rule of law does not appear to be foremost in the minds of those in the UN General Assembly – nearly all of whom, after all, come from places with no tradition of liberty and the rule of law whatsoever. It is clear, moreover, that even if the UN cannot, all by itself, compel the U.S. government to implement its massive agenda of gun control, UN superelites and their supporters are in a position to place enormous pressure on the U.S. All they have to do is exploit their wealth of contacts in the media. All of a sudden we will see an avalanche of unsigned editorials and other commentaries on how dangerous guns are. We read about every single instance of a child being killed accidentally by a gun. (In fact the numbers here are statistically insignificant – there are far more people killed in automobile accidents annually than will ever be killed by guns.). The dominant media will deluge us about how other nations are implementing measures to control guns, and how the U.S. needs to "get with the program," get into the 21st century and follow suit. The ridicule and fear of being ostracized in the "international community" will be too great for the majority of politicians to resist. (At present, only the ever-reliable Ron Paul, R-Tx, is putting up a gallant effort to defend the Constitution from the UN globalists.) They can also exploit corporate America, which having fallen hook, line and sinker for every politically correct fad of the 1990s, is fruit ripe for the picking for the global statism now emerging. Some companies, such as K-Mart, are already curtailing sales of ammunition, in response to the popular ambience in which guns are considered sources of evil. Can other large chains be far behind, if pressure is actually placed on them by the media?
However, the greatest danger — as one would expect — is coming from American politicians' falling in step with the UN's plans for disarming citizens the world over. Consider, for example, the “bipartisan” McCain-Leiberman Bill (S.890), otherwise known as the “Gun Show Loophole Closing and Gun Law Enforcement Act of 2001.” To say the least, it does far more than deal with an alleged “loophole” allowing criminals to buy guns at gun shows, as Brad Edmonds has already shown. Those who have studied this bill even further such as Alan Korwin, author of Gun Laws of America and other books, serve up a frightening spector. What this bill does is call for a massive centralization of all transactions at such shows, even those not involving guns, and for massive information-gathering not just on vendors but all attendees as well. Here, according to Korwin, is what the bill calls for:
- Federal control will be asserted over gun shows nationwide – otherwise legal gun shows will have to be licensed, registered, and granted federal approval.
- Gun-show promoters must obtain federal licenses and registration.
- Every vendor at a gun-show – even those not selling guns – also must obtain federal licenses and registration. (For one of us to attend a show for the purpose of selling a book we still have to preregister with the federal government or risk being arrested and charged with a federal crime.)
- Every person who attends a gun show must be registered with the federal government – even if you have nothing to sell and buy nothing. You will not be allowed in without registering.
- Collection of "any other information" on gun-show attendees will be required. What any other information means is determined solely by the Secretary of the Treasury.
- Imprisonment will be the penalty for anyone who attends a gun show and fails to supply the information required by these new regulations.
- Imprisonment will be the penalty for any promoter who allows a single vendor into the show without federal registration.
- Imprisonment will be the penalty for any promoter who cannot prove he notified every person attending the gun show of the new rules and obtained the required information.
- Promoters will have to submit vendor registration logs at least 30 days before the gun show, submit updated vendor registration logs 72 hours before any gun show, and supply additional vendor registration logs within five days of the close of any gun show – noncompliance again resulting in arrest and imprisonment.
- Venders must by identified with a federally approved photo ID that may include a social security number, electronically encoded information or biometric identifiers such as fingerprints, voice print, retinal scan, iris scan or similar (as defined under 18 US 1028(d)(2).
- A new license will be created (in addition to the gun-show promoter's license) for individuals who want access to the NICS national background check system for facilitating gun-show sales for private citizens.
- Regulations will be issued by the Secretary of the Treasury on procedures, data collection, methods and implementation of the entire process of centrally regulating gun shows; the full scope of these central regulations will not even be drafted until after McCain-Lieberman is enacted.
- State governments will be placed under pressure so that at least 95 percent of their law enforcement records open to federal inspection for the past 30 years, with:
- enormous quantities of federal funds so the states can comply with these goals,
- annual review of states' compliance,
- increased penalites (up to ten years imprisonment) for record-keeping violations
- permission granted to state governments to make even more restrictive requirements without being out of compliance with the federal ones (and, by implication, placing states that resist these rules in federal trouble),
- hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars supplied for more law enforcement
- the hiring of 200 more BATF agents
- grants $10 million to the National Institute for Justice to research "technologies that limit the use of a gun to the owner,"
- detailed annual reports to be made by the Attorney General to Congress on whether the Brady law is working.
- The federal bureaucracy will be expanded and appropriation of however many taxpayer dollars are required to license, register and monitor perhaps ten million law-abiding citizens who attend the thousands of gun shows held annually in the United States.
- And, finally, for good measure, there is a clause that makes a private citizen engaging in a voluntary transaction with another private citizen a federal criminal if the transaction involves the first selling a gun to the second without registering the transfer and getting the permission of the federal bureaucrats in the data complex in Clarksburg, W.Va.
The McCain-Leiberman bill thus dovetails nicely with the UN agenda – so nicely, in fact, that it ought to be difficult to believe, even for those not prone to accepting "conspiracy theories," that we are looking at what is fundamentally a single package here. The aim of that package (of laws, licenses, technology, etc.) is to disarm law-abiding U.S. citizens. It is worth remembering, in this context, that every 20th century dictatorship, whether of the communist variety or the fascist variety, climbed to power on the backs of a disarmed citizenry. There is a great deal more to this agenda, and no doubt more details are unearthed of the efforts by UN superelites to turn us all into subjects of a global police state. The fact that this article is based only on a small portion of the UN's website ought to give all of us a few extra sleepless nights.
Steven Yates [send him mail] has a Ph.D. in Philosophy and is the author of Civil Wrongs: What Went Wrong With Affirmative Action. He is presently compiling selected essays into a single volume tentatively entitled What Is Wrong With the New World Order and Other Essays and Commentary and a work on a second book, The Paradox of Liberty. He also writes for the Edgefield Journal, and is available for lectures. He lives in Columbia, South Carolina, and is starting his own freelance writing business, Millennium 3 Communications.