Late last month, President Trump signed an executive memorandum officially notifying the United Nations that the United States was withdrawing its support for a United Nations-backed treaty former Secretary of State John Kerry signed in 2013.
With this action — “un-signing” a treaty document — Trump sent a clear, unambiguous, and long-overdue signal to the domestic and international gun control movement, that since 2001 had been pressing for a U.N. foothold to regulate firearms use and possession within our country: “Back off!”
In signing this document, Trump drove a stake into the heart of the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT); and our Second Amendment is the stronger for that action.
Oh, the outcry from the left! New Jersey’s Bob Menendez, ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, wailed that in taking this “disturbing” action, Trump was “[jeopardizing] U.S. security.” Rachel Stohl, managing director for the Stimson Center in the nation’s capital, somehow concluded that the president’s action will “harm the American economy.” The common catchword by these and other globalists in describing the ATT that is now dead to the United States, was — as always for the gun control movement – “common sense.”
In fact, there was nothing “common sense” about this document and the ongoing process to make it the operative mechanism for international gun control.
Always seeking relevance and power since it was established in the immediate aftermath of WWII, the U.N. has worked for nearly two decades to shoehorn gun control into its “world peace” mission. In this, it has been strikingly successful, with some 130 countries signing the ATT and over 100 actually ratifying it and becoming thereby fully and legally bound by its terms. The U.N. even convinced the Obama Administration to sign onto it and submit it to the U.S. Senate for ratification, where it sat until Trump’s April 29 action pulling it back.
Despite the long-standing effort by ATT proponents to present the Treaty as a purely international instrument affecting only export and import of firearms, lurking within its broad parameters and underlying authorities is a catalog of gun control measures that each signing country (which had included the United States) commits to act consistent with. This list of what Menendez and Stohl (and others) describe as “common sense” measures includes, among others:
• 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 re-licensed 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 pre-determined number of firearms and rounds of ammunition may be possessed by a properly licensed civilian.
• Magazine capacity is limited to 10 rounds.
• No firearm could be possessed before at least a seven-day waiting period.
• No civilian could own or possess a firearm for self-defense unless they first demonstrate 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.”
These terms would not — unless the treaty was ratified by the Senate — be legal binding. However, the federal government’s commitment to act consistently with all explicit and underlying terms of the treaty would have provided easy opportunity for gun control advocates in any administration to take such steps and justify them by virtue of Kerry’s signature back in 2013.
At least with regard to the Arms Trade Treaty and its sneaky gun control agenda, Americans who understand and support the right to keep and bear arms, can heave a sigh of relief thanks to Trump’s action on April 29.
Bob Barr (@BobBarr) represented Georgia in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1995 to 2003. He currently serves as president and CEO of the Law Enforcement Education Foundation.