Day four at the UN gun ban conference

Posted: Jun 30, 2006 12:01 AM

It seems to be getting quiet at the United Nations. Oh, the delegates are still speaking, but on Thursday much of the discussion moved behind closed doors. It’s funny, actually. Every anti-gun delegate or activist talks about the need for “transparency” in firearms ownership, but those running the gun summit don’t seem that interested in transparency for what they’re doing.

A few more countries gave their opening statements on Thursday. The representative from the Solomon Islands said, “the commitment of the Government of Solomon Islands in implementing the Program of Action is so much so that it has even banned the selling of toys guns sold in shops including collecting licensed arms for the purposes of rooting out a gun culture from growing in a small country.” I suppose you can’t blame the government of the island chain for being a little nervous. After all, the Bougainville Revolutionary Army fought a war for autonomy not too far away in Papua New Guinea, and there’s been a lot of unrest in the Solomons as of late. Better take everyone’s guns just to be safe.

The highlight of the fourth day of the conference took place outside of the General Assembly (and the working day). Last evening an art exhibition was held in the General Assembly Visitors Lobby. Nothing says “politically conscious artist” like being anti-gun, and plenty of artists were willing to make an anti-gun statement. Perhaps the most unique was Colombian musician Cesar Lopez, who played his “escopetarra”. What is an escopetarra? It’s a guitar made out of an AK-47.

I don’t know about you, but my first thought after hearing about this instrument was, “We’ve gotta get Ted Nugent one of those!” And therein lies the problem for the anti-gunners. Unwittingly, they’ve proven the point of gun owners that it’s the owner, not the object that matters. In the hands of Cesar Lopez, the gun-guitar is an anti-gun statement, but if it was Uncle Ted playing the “Star Spangled Banner” with his escopetarra it would be a statement about the 2nd amendment protecting his right to speak (and sing) about whatever he wanted.

The same holds true for a gun itself. Many at the UN seem to think that arms in the hands of the State are fine, but arms in the hands of private citizens are uniformly bad. Luckily, the United States doesn’t hold that position. As Undersecretary Robert Joseph told the assembled nations earlier this week, “we recognize the rights of the oppressed to defend themselves against tyrannical and genocidal regimes and oppose a blanket ban on non-state actors.” Or as UN Ambassador John Bolton (then the Undesecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs) put it back in 2001 at the first small arms summit, “Distinctions between governments and non-governments are irrelevant in determining responsible and irresponsible end-users of arms.” It’s such a simple concept that you can’t help but wonder if the various nations suffer from a deficiency of common sense, or if they’re just willfully ignoring the truth.

Today is Non Governmental Organization day at the United Nations. Various anti-gun groups will speak, including the spokeswoman for the International Action Network on Small Arms, Rebecca Peters. This is the same woman who in her 2004 debate with NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre said, “Yes, I believe that semiautomatic rifles and shotguns have no legitimate role in civilian hands. And not only that, handguns have no legitimate role in civilian hands.” Can’t you just imagine what she’ll say today?

Actually, there’s no need to imagine. Tune in to “Cam and Company” on Sirius Patriot 144 or log onto this afternoon at 3 p.m. Eastern for Executive Editor Ginny Simone’s live reports from the UN Gun Summit.