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John Bolton on Gun Control


No gun control via unwritten international law

This year, the Obama administration signed the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty to impose a "national control system" on "small arms and light weapons," even while its gun-control proposals floundered in Congress.

The attempt to advance gun control through the Arms Trade Treaty might surprise average Americans, but not liberals, who have long been frustrated by the Constitution's limits on government. Gun-control statutes, like any others, have to survive both the House and the Senate and then win presidential approval. It is far easier to advance an agenda through treaties, unwritten international law, and even "norms" delivered by the "international community."

Source: AEI Scholars column: Treaty by decree , Aug 5, 2013

UN Arms Trade Treaty is end-run around Congress

On April 2, the United States led 154 nations to approve the Arms Trade Treaty in the U.N. General Assembly. The new treaty also demands domestic regulation of "small arms and light weapons." The treaty's Article 5 requires nations to "establish and maintain a national control system," including a "national control list." The treaty offers no guarantee for individual rights, but instead only declares it is "mindful" of the "legitimate trade and lawful ownership" of arms for "recreational, cultural, historical, and sporting activities." Not a word about the right to possess guns for a broader individual right of self-defense.

Gun-control advocates will use these provisions to argue that the US must enact measures such as a national gun registry, licenses for guns and ammunition sales, universal background checks, and even a ban of certain weapons. The treaty thus provides the Obama administration with an end-run around Congress to reach these gun-control holy grails.

Source: AEI Scholars column: Backdoor to gun control , Apr 14, 2013

UN Arms Trade Treaty violates our Second Amendment freedoms

Gun-control advocates and the Obama administration are rushing to complete negotiations in New York on a proposed international agreement called the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty.

But the United States already has a strong regulatory regime under the Arms Export Control Act to license the export of American-made weapons.

During the 2001 debate, I spoke at the UN General Assembly in New York, and the reaction to my remarks revealed the gun-controllers' hidden agenda.

I said merely that the United States would not agree to any proposed treaty that would violate our Second Amendment freedoms. From the gun-control lobby's reaction, you would have thought I said something outrageous or even dangerous. In truth, they knew we had uncovered their agenda and spiked it.

Source: AEI Scholars column: A sneaky way , Jul 18, 2012

UN Conference on small arms focused on US gun control

The UN Conference on small arms and light weapons in 2001 ostensibly aimed at a political declaration on illicit trade in small arms. Although this was innocuous sounding, it was increasingly clear that many of the nongovernmental organizations orchestrating this gathering focused on domestic US gun control issues.

The NRA had been watching the unfolding UN small-arms conference with increasing unease, sensing that while "illicit trade" in such weapons was the initial focus, it was only a first step toward a network of international treaties that would deeply affect US domestic policies. I saw the real problem posed was not a new treaty on small arms, but an unending "program of action" creating endless headaches down the road.

I said, "I do not support measure that prohibit civilian possession of small arms. This is outside the mandate for this Conference. The US will not join consensus on measures contrary to our constitutional right to keep and bear arms."

Source: Surrender is Not an Option, by John Bolton, p. 87-90 , Nov 6, 2007

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Page last updated: Jan 14, 2015