Another Assault On The Bill of Rights


Another Assault on the Bill of Rights
— CWC Treaty violates protections that gun owners enjoy

by Gun Owners of America

(April 16, 1997) — Last week, Gun Owners of America represented the nation’s gun owners when it took the stage with Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) and almost 40 other conservative groups and talk show hosts to oppose the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) — a treaty aimed at banning certain types of weapons. While there are certainly many reasons for opposing the treaty, at stake from a gun owner’s perspective is the assault on the American Bill of Rights.

As stated by Sen. Inhofe on the Senate floor last week, “I think we should also look at the constitutionality of this [treaty]. I know a lot of times things are passed around here over the fact that it is a violation of the Constitution. . . . But in this case, it would permit searches and seizures without warrants or probable cause. I think this is a very serious thing.”

Judge Robert H. Bork also has commented on the Fourth and Fifth Amendment violations in the treaty, noting that: “The U.S. is required by the CWC to enforce inspection by an international team, even over opposition from the owner. On-site personnel can be compelled to answer questions, provide data, and permit searches of anything within the premises — including records, files, papers, processes, controls, structures and vehicles.”

According to Bork, international ‘observers’ would be allowed to inspect U.S. property without a warrant, and even seize American goods without probable cause. For now, the treaty would only ‘authorize’ infringements upon those who own chemical companies. But allowing foreign agents to violate the most basic freedoms of any American is a horrible precedent that should make every gun owner shudder. The Bill of Rights either protects every American, or it protects none at all. If we allow our government officials to start carving out exceptions — groups of people to whom the Bill of Rights does not apply — then it will be only a matter of time before the enumerated rights become meaningless . . . before these rights no longer apply to anyone.

Gun Owners of America joined Senator Inhofe and the near 40 organizations in denouncing the Constitutional violations in this treaty at a press conference last Thursday. “The Fourth and Fifth Amendments protect gun owners,” said GOA Director of Government Affairs Erich Pratt. “But this treaty will eventually endanger everyone’s rights if it is approved by the Senate.

“Two hundred years ago, King George tried to use general warrants to search for and seize American’s property. We fought a war over it. Now, we’re using a treaty to give foreign King Georges who are unaccountable to the American people the same power to run around the protections in the Bill of Rights. This is insane,” Pratt said.

ACTION: Senators are claiming that they have not heard any opposition to this treaty. Well, let your senator know that you do not approve of any violations of the Bill of Rights, and if that means voting down this treaty, so be it. Put your opposition in writing by faxing or mailing them a note.

Also, let Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-MS) know that you want him to lobby fellow Republicans against the treaty. There’s concern that Lott is not doing enough behind the scenes to kill the treaty. As one member of the coalition noted, Lott “may ‘do a Bob Dole.’ Greasing the skids for it and then voting against it in order to satifsy constituents.” According to The Washington Post, Sen. Lott is scheduling a vote to occur sometime around April 24. As Majority Leader, Lott could simply refuse to bring up the Clinton-backed treaty for a vote. Senate:1-800-962-3524; Lott’s ph: 202-224-6253; fax: 224-2262.

Final note: This alert has only attempted to give the Constitutional objections to the CWC. If you want more talking points regarding this treaty, please call the Center for Security Policy at 202-466-0515. On the Internet, you can find the treaty at the Web site of the U.S. Arms Control & Disarmament Agency.