6/97 United Nations: Pressing For U.S. Gun Control

The United Nations: Pressing for U.S. Gun Control

Executive Director
Gun Owners of America

Why should gun owners concern themselves with the United Nations? After all, what jurisdiction do U.N. bureaucrats have for sticking their nose into the U.S. gun control debate since the United States Constitution gives no authority of any kind to the U.N? To answer that question, it might help to ask another question. By what authority is the United States Congress (and the rest of the federal government) passing one bill after another to disarm, one step at a time, the civilian population of the country?

Clearly, gun control (or more plainly called civilian disarmament, which is what concerned the founders) is prohibited by the Second Amendment. In reality, the Second Amendment was specifically intended to protect an individual’s right to own the type of firearms in “common use.” Consider the statement by the Supreme Court in U.S. v. Miller (1939): “The Militia comprised all males physically capable of acting in concert for the common defense… [and that] when called for service, these men were expected to appear bearing arms supplied by themselves and of the kind in common use at the time.” (emphasis added)

So what is one to conclude from all this? First, the Constitution gives Congress no authority to enact gun control legislation. Second, and perhaps even more surprising for modern-day pundits, the Constitution allows the Congress to require gun ownership. Consider a law which Congress passed in 1792 — a law which is clearly authorized by the “arming and disciplining the militia” clause in the Constitution:

In the Militia Act of 1792, the second Congress defined “militia of the United States” to include almost every free adult male in the United States. These persons were obligated by law to possess a [military-style] firearm and a minimum supply of ammunition and military equipment…. (emphasis added)

The above quote comes from a statement issued in 1982 by the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on the Constitution. The subcommittee correctly observed that Congress can require gun ownership.

The governing principle of what authority the federal government has is stated in the Tenth Amendment: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” In other words, if an explicit grant of power is not authorized in the Constitution, the federal government may not act.

“We the people of the United States” have not held our politicians accountable. As with undisciplined children, they have been doing whatever they feel like rather than operate according to the rules. Not surprisingly, these same politicians have no problem with the United Nations telling Americans what to do without authority since the federal government has been doing the same thing for a long time. Involvement by the U.N. is actually politically quite convenient as long as voters do not object.

From the Horse’s Mouth

The documents from the U.N.’s own webpage (http://www.un.org) make it clear that they are very serious about disarming American civilians.

For example, on December 22, 1995, the UN announced the launch of a study of small arms. According to the U.N., small arms “are increasingly associated with crime, accidents and suicides, and form a major source of illicit profits for transnational criminal networks…. While trade in major weapons is on the decline, small arms are spreading.” That sounds like something Sarah Brady or Rep. Charles Schumer, among others, could have written.

This worldwide survey of firearms ownership is being financed by the Japanese government. The Canadian government is supplying a number of gun control bureaucrats to assist in the U.N. project. Also participating is Stewart Allen, Chief of the Intelligence Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms along with the Russian in charge of the Firearms Control Division of the Russian Ministry of the Interior.

The survey is being done, according to a December 22, 1995 press release from the U.N., in cooperation with U.S. police, customs and military services. The Clinton Administration evidently is hoping to use the U.N. study to lend support to its own desire to disarm American citizens. This is the function assigned to similar studies voted by Congress over the years including the instant background check with its establishment of the means of instant gun registration when background checks are carried out. The Congress passed a study resolution mandating the Justice Department to study the issue. Not surprisingly, the bureaucrats concluded that they should have this increased power over the citizens and the additional information about who has guns. Following the study, the Brady Law was passed with its instant background (registration) features firmly implanted in the legislation.

Former U.N. Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali spoke of a world “awash” with small arms. The Japanese got the U.N. to approve a resolution authorizing the U.N. Crime Commission to consider various measures to regulate guns. Several of the member governments spoke of the “alarming rise in the proliferation of small arms and underscored that their mounting use by drug traffickers and criminal gangs posed a grave threat to public safety and the rule of law.” The same sinister depiction of guns as only used by drug dealers is the same rhetoric employed in the U.S. by Handgun Control and their champions in the Congress and other government bodies.

An earlier draft of the resolution would have encouraged the U.N. Secretary-General “to continue efforts to curb the illicit circulation of small arms and to collect such arms in the affected States, with the support of the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Africa.” While that resolution was dealing with Africa, Americans should not be relieved that the U.S. was not included — in that resolution. The fact of the matter is, the U.N. is increasingly assuming the jurisdictional authority of a federal world government with the U.S. as just one of scores of member states. And gun control — meaning civilian disarmament — is high up on the agenda of the U.N.

New Focus, Same Goals

With the end of the Cold War, the U.N. has shifted its focus to gun control and fighting drugs as a way of continuing to justify its existence. We see the same pattern of big government refocusing in the United States using the same themes of a war on drugs and gun control.

The U.N. Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice met in Vienna in May, 1996 to discuss strategies for civilian disarmament among the member states. In announcing this summit, U.N. bureaucrats set forth what they perceived to be a major problem — namely, that “small arms are spreading throughout society with little documentation, since they are frequently bought from private individuals.” Thus, one of the commission’s objectives was to study gun control laws around the world for “the development of related strategies” among the member countries (like the U.S.).

Since most countries register gun owners, one would undoubtedly expect that the “related strategies” would include registering all guns so that the U.N. and the subordinate governments (including the U.S.) will know where the guns are. No more anonymous gun sales with “little documentation.” No more passing a gun down from father to son. No more selling a gun to a friend at the office. Big Brother will track everything pertaining to guns.

This alone is reason for gun owners and all who are working to restore constitutional government in the United States to rejoice that Rep. Ron Paul has introduced H.R. 1146, The American Sovereignty Restoration Act of 1997. In brief, H.R. 1146 would get the U.S. out of the U.N. and the U.N. out of the U.S.

Gun control illustrates one of the dangers of the U.S. membership in the U.N. In May of 1994, the Clinton administration agreed to participate in a discussion of ways for the United Nations to control the manufacture of guns and their sales to civilians. This is over a year before all of the activities of the U.N. Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice swung into motion with financial support from Japan and bureaucrats on loan from our neighbor, Canada. These other countries were not sneaking in the back door of U.S. sovereignty — our own government was hiding behind the U.N. to carry out the civilian disarmament they did not think they could get away with by themselves.

In the May 24, 1994 issue of The Washington Times discussing the U.S. support of U. N. gun control, Colombia’s U.N. representative was complaining about the U.S. as a source of guns to Columbia in much the same way that Washington, D.C. complains about some of the states: “Columbia’s problem is that in the U.S. you can legally buy and sell arms, and those arms then are transferred illegally out of the country. But in Columbia, any purchase of arms is illegal.” Pretty soon we will be told that we need a “one-gun-a-month” rationing scheme to stop the flow of guns not just to poor crime-wracked Washington, D.C., but to drug-lord oppressed Colombia.

The enemies of an armed citizenry have already shown that in order to pull off gun rationing, they need to have an instant registration system in place, such as the Brady instant background check. Hardly anybody thinks that criminals buy guns in ways that subject themselves to background checks, but that is not what Handgun Control (better called, Allgun Control), Inc. is after. They want to know who has the guns. And so does the U.N.

Less Sovereignty Can Lead to More Gun Control

The web of international organizations being spun around the United States has already begun to reveal a transfer of sovereignty from our national government to unelected, supra-national organizations. When the GATT (General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade) Treaty was being adopted, proponents declared that treaty language would prohibit any part of the treaty from having effect if it would be inconsistent with any law of the United States. But other advocates, such as House Speaker Newt Gingrich, were more candid. He likened GATT to the Maastricht treaty governing much of Europe, by which individual states have surrendered an unprecedented degree of sovereignty. Gingrich said that we need “to be honest about the fact that we are transferring from the United States at a practical level significant authority to a new organization. This is a transformational moment.” (Human Events, 11/25/94, p.4)

Another candid advocate of the GATT’s transfer of sovereignty to the World Trade Organization (WTO) was William Holder, the Deputy General Counsel of the International Monetary Fund who told an American University audience on November 19, 1994: “The WTO is de jure [legally] world government.”

Article 16, paragraph 4 of the WTO charter (which is part of the GATT legislation) states that each government “shall ensure the conformity of its laws, regulations and administrative procedures with its obligations…”

We have seen in our own country how the interstate commerce clause of Article I Section 8 of our constitution went from being the delegation of a limited power (to keep states from taxing each other) to a “justification” of nearly totalitarian federal power to regulate anything at all. The argument was, that something that is not moving in interstate commerce has negatively impacted interstate commerce. Thus, something you grow for yourself on your own land, the feds have asserted, is game for federal regulation under the commerce clause.

If that kind of fallacious and dangerous thinking has held sway in the United States, what makes us think that assumptions of international government power even worse than we have inflicted on ourselves domestically will not be imposed on the United States by the U.N. and other “entangling alliances” that George Washington warned us against.

We have seen from the discussions under way at the United Nations that gun control is one of the top agenda items of the U.N. and many foreign nations. The U.S. gun laws are much freer than those of most of the rest of the world. Through the web of entangling treaties attaching the U.S. to various international organizations, the rope is being slipped about the neck of the Second Amendment. One of these days, we may wake up to headlines that the U.N. or the WTO have demanded that the U.S. “harmonize” its gun laws (translation: disarm our civilians the way Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, Idi Amin and many others have).

Hopefully, if that time ever comes, H.R. 1146 will have already been made law and the U.S. will have broken its entangling alliance with the U.N. Members of Congress need to be encouraged to cosponsor this legislation by Rep. Ron Paul. For a quantity of postcards to have sent to your congressman, contact GOA at 703 321 8585 (8001 Forbes Place, Springfield, VA 22151) or e-mail your request to [email protected].