Dispatches from the Creation Wars

They’s Gonna Take Our Guns Away!

Chuck Norris joins the crazy brigade in arguing that the Obama administration is on the verge of taking away everyone’s guns. He makes it sound exceedingly ominous:

Right now, Washington is scheming and scamming to erode then erase the Second Amendment from our Constitution. And it will accomplish it through the signing of international treaties on gun control, bypassing the normal legislative process in Congress, tightening regulations upon firearm and ammunition manufacturers, using the anti-gun financing of tycoons and ultimately confiscating all firearms under the guise of terrorism patrol and enforcement. Without public debate and cloaked in secrecy, gun control will covertly come upon us like a thief in the night. One day, we will wake up to discover that the U.S. has signed a global treaty that will prohibit any transfer of firearm ownership, force reductions in the number of firearms privately owned and eventually eradicate the planet of guns for law-abiding citizens. Of course, the criminals will still illegally have their guns. And on that day, if you do not comply with that global treaty, you will be fined and face imprisonment. This is not a fictitious story or false warning.

But if you look at the rest of the column, you’ll see that is based on nothing at all. His only “evidence” for this claim is the existence of a treaty called CIFTA — the Inter-American Convention Against Illicit Manufacturing and Trafficking of Firearms — that not only has Obama not done anything to promote, he intentionally tabled it and hasn’t pushed for it to get a vote in Congress.

This is Part One of three articles in which I’ll be addressing the evidence – the smoking gun, if you will – of the pressing threat to the Second Amendment and our firearm freedoms.

As Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of the National Rifle Association, wrote in the American Rifleman (February 2010): “President Obama’s political mantra of ‘hope and change’ has morphed into a very real threat. Obama’s deep curtsy to international arms control has given ‘hope’ to the international gun-ban crowd that they will prevail.”

But he even admits that Obama hasn’t done anything on the treaty, which he attempts to explain away:

It was also no surprise, therefore, a year ago this month when Obama personally promised Mexican President Felipe Calderon that the White House would push to ratify through the Senate the CIFTA (the Inter-American Convention Against Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms) treaty, which has sat tabled and unapproved by the U.S. Senate since 1997.

But then, as quickly as he initiated the debate, the president just as quickly ceased trying to ratify CIFTA in the U.S. Senate. Why was that? Cato Institute scholar Ted Galen Carpenter said there was a reason that the treaty was tabled a year ago by Obama. I agree. I believe that reason was Obamacare. He knew he couldn’t tackle and force through Congress two incredibly hot and volatile issues at once, at least of this caliber. But now that Obamacare is law, it’s no surprise that both CIFTA and a separate U.N. small arms treaty are experiencing a renewed life. And like Obamacare was pitched solely under “health-care reform,” you can bet that a small arms weapon ban will be pitched under “a fight against global terrorism and drug wars.”

Okay, now let’s take a look at the actual treaty, which — surprise, surprise — doesn’t do anything even remotely like what Norris and LaPierre claims it does. The first clue should be in the word “illicit” in the title of the treaty. The only thing the treaty does is say that the country would take legislative action against illicit manufacturing and trafficking of guns. That is, it deals with major arms traffickers who make and transport illegal weapons for use by terrorists, gangs and other unsavory groups.

Here’s the definition of what the treaty seeks to restrict:

1. “Illicit manufacturing”: the manufacture or assembly of firearms, ammunition, explosives, and other related materials:

a. from components or parts illicitly trafficked; or

b. without a license from a competent governmental authority of the State Party where the manufacture or assembly takes place; or

c. without marking the firearms that require marking at the time of manufacturing.

2. “Illicit trafficking”: the import, export, acquisition, sale, delivery, movement, or transfer of firearms, ammunition, explosives, and other related materials from or across the territory of one State Party to that of another State Party, if any one of the States Parties concerned does not authorize it.

It isn’t talking about someone going to a licensed gun shop, filling out the proper paperwork, going through the background check and legally buying a gun; it’s talking about guns that are manufactured illegally in mass quantities and sold to gangs of criminals. And the treaty quite explicitly allows confiscation only for “firearms, ammunition, explosives, and other related materials that have been illicitly manufactured or trafficked.”

The reality that these people actively ignore is that the right of American citizens to own guns has probably never been safer than it is at this moment. For the first time in American history, the Supreme Court in 2008 explicitly declared — quite correctly — that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to own handguns. Any attempt at a wholesale ban on gun ownership would be struck down immediately by the courts, as it should be.

This is pure fear-mongering and demagoguery.