Reprinted from www.libertylobby.org, home of The SPOTLIGHT archive
UN could seek American gun control
Why should gun owners concern themselves with the United Nations? After all, what jurisdiction do UN 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 UN?
To answer that question, it might help to ask another question. By what authority is 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 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 te kind in common use at the time."
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 1972 -- 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."
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 UN is actually politically quite convenient as long as voters do not object.
FROM THE HORSE'S MOUTH
The documents from the UN's own web page (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 UN, 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 (D-N.Y.) 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 UN 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 UN, in cooperation with U.S. police, customs and military services. The Clinton administration evidently is hoping to use the UN 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 UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali spoke of a world "awash" with small arms. The Japanese got the UN to approve a resolution authorizing the UN 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 United States by Handgun Control and their champions in Congress and other government bodies.
An earlier draft of the resolution would have encouraged the UN 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 Center for Peace and Disarmament in Africa." While that resolution was dealing with Africa, Americans should not be relieved that the United States was not included in that resolution.
The fact of the matter is, the UN is increasingly assuming the jurisdictional authority of a federal world government with America 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 UN has shifted its focus to gun control and fighting drugs as a way of continuing to justify its existence. We have the same pattern of big government refocusing in the United States using the same themes of a war on drugs and gun control. The UN Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice met in Vienna in May, 1996 to discuss strategies for civilian disarmament among the member states.
Among the "needs" to controlling a "world awash with small arms' is to register all guns so that the UN and the subordinate governments including the united States will know where the guns are. The study of gun control in selected countries would be "used by the Commission in the development of related strategies" (May 21, 1996 press release). No more anonymous gun sales. No more passing a gun down from father to sun. 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 (R-Texas) has introduced H.R. 1146, The American Sovereignty Restoration Act of 1997. In brief, HR. 1146, The American Sovereignty Restoration Act of 1997. In brief, HR. 1146 would get the U.S. out of the UN and the UN out of the U.S.
Gun control illustrates one of the dangers of the U.S. membership in the UN. 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 UN 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 UN to carry out the civilian disarmament they did not think they could get away with by themselves.
In may 24, 1994 issue of the Washington Times discussing American support of UN gun control, Colombia's Un representative was complaining about the United States as a source of guns to Colombia in much the same way that Washington, D.C. complains about some of the states: "Colombia'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 Colombia, 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 byy guns in ways that subject themselves to background checks, but that is not what Handgun control (better Allgun Control), Inc. is after. They want to know who has the guns. And so does the UN.
LESS SOVEREIGNTY, MORE 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 wold 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 (R- Ga.), 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."
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."
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 that we have inflicted on ourselves domestically will not be imposed on the United States by the UN 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 agenda items of the UN and many foreign nations. The U.S. jun laws are much freer than those of most of the rest of the world. Through the web of entangling treaties attaching America 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 UN or the WTO have demanded that the U.S. "Harmonize" its gun laws (translation: disarm our civilians).