U.N. Passes gun Control Treaty: International and National Gun Battles Looming
by Jim Shepherd
With yesterday's passage of the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty, the Obama administration added more fuel to the fire of critics who refer to the "imperial presidency" rather than the "current administration." Reversing previous national policy to endorse a gun control treaty that would essentially allow the United Nations to have the final say on any firearms exports, the administration put its full weight behind the measure.
It's brought more than a few blasts from unhappy members of the firearms industry in the past few days, but it's also gotten the attention of the United States Congress. And Congress says that while the president might well sign the treaty, it will be dead on arrival at the Senate. If the Senate doesn't approve the treaty, Mr. Obama's signature will, essentially, be meaningless from a legal standpoint.
That hasn't kept anti-gun groups from crowing about the "setback for the pro-gun bloc, especially the NRA". And it only points out the growing division over gun rights between the administration and the Congress and the administration and the people.
As the smoke settles on the international treaty, war drums are beating on both sides of the gun issue in Connecticut. That's because voting is set to begin tomorrow on a set of proposed regulations that would severely restrict the rights of law-abiding citizens when it comes to firearms types and ammunition capacities. The measures include:
- "Universal background checks" for the sale of all firearms
- Significant expansion of the existing Connecticut "Assault Weapons Ban"
- Immediate ban on the sale or purchase of "large capacity" magazines
- Such magazines currently possessed must be registered by January 1, 2014
- Eligibility certificates for the purchase of any rifle, shotgun or ammunition
- Expanded scope for Connecticut's firearms safe storage law
The National Shooting Sports Foundation issued a statement late yesterday afternoon on the impending vote:
"With less than 24 hours remaining before we are told voting will begin in the State Senate, very few legislators have even seen, let alone had time to read and analyze, what we hear is 100 pages of proposed legislation that is being called the strictest set of gun-control measures in the nation. This is being done without the benefit of a public hearing where bill language can be addressed and with a large number of unanswered questions.
We all abhor the tragedy that took place in December at the Sandy Hook Elementary School. That sad day will always be seared into our hearts. It is difficult to see, however, how the measures put forward in outline form by the General Assembly's leadership would do anything to meaningfully prevent future tragedy or reduce the criminal misuse of firearms. When we know the common denominator in the mass killings of recent years has been the mental instability of the perpetrator, we have yet to hear any proposals to address this great failing in our society.
Instead, we have a situation where law-abiding citizens will face greater restrictions on their Second Amendment and state constitutional rights while Connecticut's firearms manufacturers will be forced to pay a price economically for the state's double-standard of you can build it here, but not sell it here, public policy formulation."
At the same time, the NSSF and pro-gun groups are issuing calls for Connecticut supporters to turn out this morning in Hartford to protest the measures. We're told that courtesy shuttle buses will be running from the Cabela's location in East Hartford beginning at 8:30 a.m. and continuing until 5 p.m.
This latest bit of legislation seems to be emphasizing the fact that a state once at the heart of the U.S. firearms industry doesn't want any part of the gun business anymore.
Although I'm not one to advocate retaliatory measures, I'm going to be very clear about how I see the situation: should Connecticut's legislators pass all-or a part of this legislation- any company or organization related to firearms manufacturing should begin looking for new a new home. To me, that would mean the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) will need to do the same.
Staying tells anti-gun proponents nationwide that it's OK to mess with the rights of gun manufacturers, despite their obvious benefits to tax rosters.
Yesterday I received a letter from Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions responding to my having sent him a message opposing any legislation restricting gun rights. His response pretty accurately summed up the problem with gun laws:
"We know from history that efforts to restrict gun rights of law-abiding Americans have not been shown to reduce crime," he wrote, "Local, state and federal officials should instead pursue measures that will work, such as improvements to mental health policy and more aggressive efforts to target criminals- rather than peaceable Americans."
So what does Session advocate? Enforcement of existing laws. "As a former federal prosecutor...I know the focus of the government's efforts should be on criminals with guns.....under President Obama and Attorney General Holder, prosecutions of criminals who use and carry guns have fallen below the numbers during President Bush's term- the lowest since 2001.
"What we have," he concludes, "is an administration that reduces pressure on criminals using guns while placing more burdens on law-abiding citizens and their constitutional right to keep and bear arms."
I like his suggestion for a solution: "Working together we can protect our liberties, our families, and the most vulnerable among us."
Unfortunately, the most vulnerable among us today seem to be gun owners.
Republished from The Outdoor Wire.
Gun rights advocates fear U.N. treaty will lead to U.S. registry