In this column, A1F Daily trains its watchdog eye on The Trace, Michael Bloomberg’s new anti-“gun news” site.
On Aug. 17, The Trace chided opponents of the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), saying NRA and others wildly exaggerate its provisions to panic members into opening their wallets. Basically, The Trace’s arguments can be filed into one of two categories: 1) The U.N. is more interested in warships and tanks than it is in your guns; or 2) The U.N. can’t find their … um, rear entrance with both hands, anyway, so what are you all up in our grill about?
Let’s start by examining the text of the treaty. We’ve noted previously that The Trace uses links masquerading as footnotes to improve its credibility. Sure enough, “the treaty text is online” is highlighted in blue, so we click on it to read … “404 Not Found.”
This may explain why The Trace is advertising for an editorial intern on their home page. Or perhaps this is just more evidence of U.N. incompetence (see item 2 above). Anyway, a little digging unearthed the English version, where we found this at the bottom of a list of applicable arms:
“(h) Small arms and light weapons”
… which would seem to dispense with any notion that the treaty is only about missiles and attack helicopters. In fact, it commands, “Each State party is encouraged to apply the provisions of this Treaty to the broadest possible range of conventional arms,” which sounds a lot like my guns. It also describes tracking imported arms to their “end user,” and providing such information to importing countries, which sounds a lot like registering my guns. We’ve been around long enough to know that being vague is a tool used by bureaucrats hoping to pull one over on us (just look at the names of bills in the U.S. Congress). NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre has warned, “Specifically, Articles 8, 12 and 15 of the treaty would create international pressure (and the perfect excuse) for signatory nations to compile ‘records’ of all gun owners who purchase firearms imported into their country …”
The Trace grudgingly admits, “Even among the better informed and less-conspiracy-minded, there are in fact reasons to be skeptical of the Arms Trade Treaty. As with most well-intended treaties, the language is vague.” For once, we’re in agreement with The Trace.
But we’ve been around long enough to know that being vague is a tool used by bureaucrats hoping to pull one over on us (just look at the names of bills in the U.S. Congress). The best way to divine the intent of the treaty, then, is to listen to what its backers actually have to say in a video by NRA’s Ginny Simone:
The former U.N. Under-Secretary-General for Disarmament Affairs: “The fewer guns we have in the world, the better it is for mankind.”
Japan: “… small arms and light weapons are truly weapons of mass destruction … we strictly punish and control the possession and use of small arms by civilians.”
Australia: “Firearm owners in Australia must also demonstrate a genuine need for ownership.”
The Netherlands: “It’s my firm conviction that the illicit arms trade cannot be tackled without involving the legal arms trade.”
Canada: ”Registration is a cornerstone of the entire strategy.”
OK, things are getting less vague now. For further clarification, watch the U.N. film, “Armed to the Teeth: The Worldwide Plague of Small Arms.” The level of anti-gun virulence displayed cannot be adequately described; you have to see it to believe it. It calls small arms “a prime candidate for public enemy Number 1.” Guns “are not fussy about the company they keep: They can murder indiscriminately.” The estimated 500 million guns in existence circulate the globe, “traveling from conflict to conflict.” Guns are blamed for destabilizing nations and displacing millions of children. Carol Bellamy, at the time the executive director of UNICEF, says the world’s children “are being threatened … by the violence that exists in the world today—much of that violence brought about by small arms.”
It also praises the International Action Network on Small Arms (IANSA), which was headed by Rebecca Peters until 2012. Peters was a major player in Australia’s nationwide gun ban. Prior to IANSA, Peters worked for the Open Society Institute. Both organizations are funded by anti-gun billionaire George Soros. So given the U.N.’s not-so-subtle attitude toward firearms, what do you think that organization would do with a ratified ATT? Scuttle the sale of a warship? Ground the flight of a helicopter?
So, given the U.N.’s not-so-subtle attitude toward firearms, what do you think that organization would do with a ratified ATT? Scuttle the sale of a warship? Ground the flight of a helicopter? Or would it instantly begin to use such power to eradicate firearm freedoms wherever possible?
In that case, The Trace tells you it doesn’t matter, because the U.N. is actually powerless to enforce anything (item 2 above, again). But the ATT is significant enough to have come to the attention of U.S. legislators. In 2013, 50 senators (including Joe Manchin) signed a letter to President Obama opposing the treaty. A similar bipartisan letter from congressmen Kelly and Peterson was signed by 181 U.S. representatives.
At a consultation meeting in Mexico, the U.N. overplayed its hand by empowering an outside organization, Control Arms, to deny applications of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) who oppose the ATT from attending—prompting another letter from Senators Jerry Moran and Jim Inhofe. (Note: The NRA has NGO status at the U.N.)
But, surprisingly, we agree with The Trace again; we’re actually not overly worried about what the toothless U.N. would do. We’re more worried about what President Barack Obama would do.
Or President Hillary Clinton. Or President Joe Biden. Given that Obama has set precedent by ignoring the law and achieving his goals through executive order, to what lengths would an anti-gun president go in order to comply with such “international law”?
Secretary of State John Kerry tried to assure us by saying, “Make no mistake, we would never think about supporting a treaty that is inconsistent with the rights of American citizens to be able to exercise their guaranteed rights under our Constitution.” But Kerry has supported every anti-gun proposal that has crossed his path in public life, so … Thanks, John, but don’t be on our side.
In truth, the intent of the U.N.’s ATT backers should now be clear. And squared off against billionaires Bloomberg (The Trace) and Soros (The Open Society, IANSA), perhaps it’s also clear why NRA puts out a call for funding.
After all, at $35 each/year, it’s going to take a lot of members to fight off a thinly veiled global gun-ban scheme.