U.N. Gun Control

Posted: Jul 13, 2001 12:00 AM
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- If the utopian do-gooders at the United Nations have their way, between now and July 20 the members of this august body will adopt a "non-binding Protocol" to, among other things, "require member states to complete a registry of all Small Arms within their borders," and to redress "the excessive and destabilizing accumulation of, and illicit trafficking in, small arms and light weapons" by "limiting the sale of such weapons only to governments." According to U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, this protocol is necessary "because small arms (are) 'weapons of mass destruction' in terms of the carnage they cause." At the very least, Annan wants the "United Nations Conference on the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects" (no kidding, that really is the name) to draft "internationally recognized standards and provisions regarding marking, registration and 'traceability' of firearms." These statements are music to the ears of U.S. gun-control advocates like Michael Beard of The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, and Eurocrats like Belgian Foreign Minister, Louis Michel, who represents the European Union, and most representatives of the 123 nations attending this two-week seance in New York. To Undersecretary of State John Bolton, the official U.S. representative to the conference, the U.N. is, as is so often the case, dead wrong. In his opening statement, Bolton made it clear that "the United States will not join consensus on a final document that contains measures abrogating the constitutional right to bear arms." His comments were seconded by the only legislator who is an official member of the U.S. delegation, Rep. Bob Barr, R-Ga., who said, "The UN Conference is an effort by its many liberal members to accomplish through the international arena what they and other gun-control advocates have been unable to achieve domestically -- expanded registration and control of lawful, non-military firearms. If these nations are serious about combating illegal firearms trafficking, they should strengthen their export laws to parallel those of the United States, instead of attacking our nation's Second Amendment rights." Bolton and Barr were, of course, immediately castigated as "reactionary" and "xenophobic" by conference participants and the international press -- all of whom neglected to mention that the United States is the only country represented that constitutionally protects an individual's right to keep and bear arms. That, of course, is no surprise coming from the U.N., where the United States has few friends and just two months ago was voted off the Human Rights Commission and International Narcotics Control Board. While most Americans agree that the U.N. has no business meddling in the U.S. Constitution, it is also disingenuous for the U.N. to mislead other member states in the belief that "gun control" -- as it envisions it -- will somehow prevent more blood soaked killing fields. The facts say otherwise. While the striped-pants set listened to each other pontificate about "guns in the hands of more than 305 million people," the citizens of Srebrenica, Bosnia, were honoring more than 7,000 people who were murdered in genocidal violence five years ago. Do the conference participants believe that this massacre, Europe's worst since World War II, could have occurred if the citizens were legally armed? Rwanda and Sierra Leone ban private ownership of guns. Would lawfully armed people in these places have allowed a million or more people to be hacked to death over the last seven years? If "gun control" is so successful, then why has there been, according to the London Sunday Times, a 39 percent increase in violent firearms offenses since Great Britain banned nearly all private gun ownership five years ago? In that same period, violent crime dropped by 41 percent in the United States, where private gun ownership is constitutionally protected and the government is forbidden from registering privately owned firearms. If those examples are too onerous for the tea-sipping, America-bashing diplomats gathered at the U.N., then they should contemplate what's been happening on the island of Jamaica while they have been drafting their petty Protocol. In 1973, the Jamaican government banned all private ownership of firearms. Law-abiding citizens dutifully surrendered their guns to the local constabulary for destruction -- leaving, supposedly, only the police and the military with guns. Yet, this week, while diplomats bloviated about the need for just this kind of "global gun control," more than 25 Jamaicans were killed by gunfire, leaving the nation's 2 million souls cowering defenseless in their homes as roving bands of thugs shoot it out in the streets. Jamaican Prime Minister Percival Patterson has dispatched the army to restore order and called for "international support." He had better hope that the U.N. doesn't respond. In the last several years, the U.N. has suborned our Constitution by conscripting American soldiers and Marines to wear blue berets. It has attacked the 10th Amendment by interfering in death-penalty cases in Virginia and Arizona. The U.N.'s new International Criminal Court is an assault on the Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Amendments. Now it is going after the Second Amendment. What's next -- the rest of the Bill of Rights -- or life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?