The true scope of the anti-firearm crusade of the United Nations, which began more than a dozen years ago, finally is coming into clear focus, as the White House readies to sign the Arms Trade Treaty adopted with U.S. support this past April by the U.N. General Assembly. The reach of this long-term, carefully crafted agenda is truly breathtaking, going far beyond the publicly articulated goals of even the most radical of homegrown gun-control groups.
Since the first major U.N. meeting in July 2001, officially launching the so-called "Program of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects," this bureaucratic behemoth on the banks of the East River in New York City has been attempting to stretch its tentacles into the domestic regulation of firearms. If the administration of President Obama signs the Arms Trade Treaty, the U.N. will have taken a major step toward its ultimate goal — regardless of whether the treaty is ever submitted to the Senate for ratification.
According to experts familiar with this process, the mere act of signing the treaty — a responsibility that would fall to Secretary of State John Kerry — would "obligate" the U.S. government as a signatory not to act "contrary to" its terms. Those "terms" are, to quote Ross Perot, the "devil in the detail" — found not only within the four corners of the document itself, but in companion, foundational documents on which it is based.
For example, a 2006 U.N. report (authored by an American academic, Barbara Frey) lays out with frightening clarity where advocates of the approach reflected in the Arms Trade Treaty are coming from. According to this Eurocentric worldview, there is no "right" to self-defense, and the national government is obligated to restrict civilian ownership of firearms, including determining which citizens properly "understand" firearms and might, therefore, be permitted to possess them.
Another important but little-known set of documents that reveal the true purposes of the treaty were crafted by the U.N. Coordinating Action on Small Arms. These include the International Small Arms Control Standard, which is developing "modules" on gun control to serve as "model legislation" for countries that sign on to the treaty. The most relevant of these is the one titled, "National controls over the access of civilians to small arms and light weapons."
One need read no further than the introduction to this missive to understand its goal. The operative focus is strict regulation of civilian possession of firearms by the "central" or national government. This is necessary because "some civilians misuse small arms" by using them illegally or "improperly stor[ing]" them. The document bases this notion of government control of firearms and ammunition on "international law" — an inaccurate interpretation of such body of laws, but one that fits conveniently the U.N.'s agenda.
From this global perspective, the International Small Arms Control Standard module then directs, in excruciating detail, the manner in which national governments should restrict access to firearms and ammunition:
Restricting civilian possession of firearms only to those "at the lowest risk of misusing them."
Limiting sales and other transfers of firearms only to commercial transactions at licensed "sales premises" (in other words, no transfers at gun shows).
Only persons licensed and periodically relicensed by the national government could possess firearms.
All firearms must be registered with the national government.
All persons wishing to possess a firearm must pass a rigorous exam administered by the national government.
All firearms must be stored in locked containers separate from ammunition, and "bolted to a heavy or immovable object."
Only a predetermined number of firearms and rounds of ammunition may be possessed by a properly licensed civilian.
Magazine capacity is limited to 10 rounds.
Possession of a firearm may only occur after a seven-day waiting period.
No civilian could own or possess a firearm for self-defense unless he first demonstrates a clear and convincing need.
Individuals licensed to own firearms are subject to periodic and random inspections of their homes or businesses.
In order to be granted a license to possess a firearm, an individual must secure recommendations from "responsible members of society," attesting to their "suitability to possess a small arm."
The above list is by no means exhaustive of the restrictions in the U.N. model legislation, which is designed to limit the possession of firearms and ammunition to the smallest possible number of civilians, and it provides clear insight into where this process is going. If Congress fails to take swift action to prohibit the administration from implementing any part of the Arms Trade Treaty or taking any action pursuant to it, we now know exactly where we are headed.
Bob Barr, a former member of Congress, is a board member of the National Rifle Association and a candidate for Georgia's 11th Congressional District.