The first act of any tyrranical regime is to disarm the populace. One of the things which sets the United States apart from most of the rest of the world - more even than the other provisions of our Constitution - is that our Republic has built into it a tolerance of and endorsement of the right of our citizens to be armed. That right has been qualified and whittled down a bit more than I'm comfortable with over the years, but in principle it still survives.
Yet right here, on our own soil during the week we celebrate our independence, the United Nations has gathered together representatives of the worlds many petty tyrranies to discuss the methods by which civilian populations can be disarmed on a world-wide basis, with their chief target the negation of the 2nd Amendment. The U.N. Conference to Review Progress Made in the Implementation of the Programme of Action to Prevent and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects is going on right now in New York - a city which shows the success of incrementalism in eroding our rights by maintaining its own unconstitutional ban on firearms.
The chairman of the conference, Sri Lanka's Prasad Kariyawasam, maintains that the 2001 agreement on small arms and the discussion of the conference will focus on controlling the trade in illegal weapons, not on taking guns from private citizens, yet the wording of the original agreement which can be found in the UN Firearms Protocol does have some troubling elements. It is not a call for the outright ban of guns in the hands of private citizens, but it does clearly imply tight state controls on firearm ownership, including tracking of all guns in private hands and encouraging states to restrict private gun ownership as much as possible, saying:
Tighter controls over the possession of and access to small arms and light weapons by both authorized government bodies (police, armed forces) and by civilians would also help stem the illicit flow of arms.
For the UN the dividing line between privately held arms and illicit arms is a very fine one, merely the matter of the whim of a dictator or a future UN mandate. This may not be an outright gun ban as some have claimed, but it's a big step in that direction. And the real threat may come from the proposed legislation in Congress to implement the restrictions which the UN has mandated, legislation which includes rigid licensing restrictions for gun sales and severe penalties for the smallest infractions.
Make no mistake that the intention of the UN and its supporters is the ultimate elimination of private gun ownership. Anti-gun radicals from all over the world have been invited to attend the conference in the expectation that their voices will be heard while those of the American public will be ignored. No one will appear to represent the interests of private gun owners. The 60 nations officially represented at the conference include a rogue's gallery of tyrranical and terrorist nations, among them Iran, China, Nigeria and Indonesia.
The National Rifle Association has made a major issue of this conference, probably out of proportion to the real threat which it poses. Their efforts have been remarkably successful, with over 100,000 letters sent from their website to UN and US government officials decrying the conference and its efforts. Adding another letter to that pile probably wouldn't do any harm.
The UN has, in past statements, singled out the US as a major offender in the proliferation of small arms largely because of our domestic market for firearms and our lack of repressive regulation of gun ownership.. The timing of this conference to coincide with our major patriotic holiday is certainly no coincidence. The UN is sending a message to gun manufacturers and gun owners that they stand hand in hand with groups like HGCI, IANSA and the Brady Campaign to work step by step to disarm American citizens and put them at the mercy of tyrrants at home and abroad.
There will come a point where Americans in government and individually are going to have to decide whether they are willing to stand up for the protections of our Constitution against the dictates of the UN. This conference is one more step towards that moment of conflict.