Fact-Checking the UN “Small Arms Treaty”

Author’s Note, 31 July 2012:  It appears that, for now, the Arms Trade Treaty is on hold.  That doesn’t mean it won’t be pursued in the future, so stay aware.

Author’s Note, 18 July 2012:  Since originally writing this article over two years ago, we’ve finally had more information leaking out.  I hope to post a full update when true content is really known (such as the treaty text or other relevant items), but until then, keep in mind the age of this article (becoming outdated) and the fact that our public servants are indeed pursuing this treaty.  In Article 6:2 of the Constitution we see the following:

2:  This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.

To me, this means whatever the content, the treaty—if passed into law—will supersede even our own Constitution.  In the meantime, keep an eye on the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs page (“…strengthening peace and security through disarmament”) and the Arms Trade Treaty Conference page for current updates.  One question—how does a small-arms treaty with the UN benefit the citizens of the United States (whatever its content)?  And now, back to the original article.


Last week my dad mentioned that, though I won’t hear it on main-stream news sources, our beloved Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, had signed a small arms treaty with the UN.

“What!?!  Those globalist jerks!”

Wait a minute.  Let’s cool off and see what we can find reported on this topic.

A quick search through Google led me to an article posted at one of the NRA’s pages, effectively stating that Ms. Clinton did not, in fact, sign any treaty regarding small arms, nor was such a treaty negotiated or ratified by the Senate.

Good.  Case closed.

Well, not quite.  Today I noticed all sorts of chatter recirculating on this topic, appearing to emanate from a letter by Congressman Paul Broun of Georgia which was posted at the National Association for Gun Rights.  Here’s an excerpt of that letter:

In fact, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton just announced the Obama Administration would be working hand in glove with the U.N. to pass a new “Small Arms Treaty.”

Disguised as legislation to help in the fight against “terrorism,” “insurgency” and “international crime syndicates,” the U.N.’s Small Arms Treaty is nothing more than a massive, GLOBAL gun control scheme.

If passed by the U.N. and ratified by the U.S. Senate, the U.N.’s Small Arms Treaty would almost certainly FORCE national governments to:

  • Enact tougher licensing requirements, making law-abiding citizens cut through even more bureaucratic red tape just to own a firearm legally;
  • CONFISCATE and DESTROY ALL “unauthorized” civilian firearms (all firearms owned by the government are excluded, of course);
  • BAN the trade, sale and private ownership of ALL semi-automatic weapons;
  • Create an INTERNATIONAL gun registry, setting the stage for full-scale gun CONFISCATION.

Hmmm.  Time to do a bit more digging and see what we can find.  The NRA’s page I mentioned earlier is still posted, so no changes there.  Maybe the UN has something to say about this?

Yes.  Or at least the UN Dispatch does, in an article directly addressing this topic.  But first, who is the “UN Dispatch”?  Are they really related to the UN?  Sort of.  On their “about us” page, they disclose they are funded by the United Nations Foundation.  Who are they?  On their “about UNF” page, they reveal their advocacy of the UN.  Here’s an excerpt:

The UN Foundation, a public charity, was created in 1998 with entrepreneur and philanthropist Ted Turner’s historic $1 billion gift to support UN causes and activities. We are an advocate for the UN and a platform for connecting people, ideas and resources to help the United Nations solve global problems.

We help the UN take its best work and ideas to scale—through advocacy, partnerships, constituency building and fund-raising.

Whoa.  OK, so let’s get back to the UN Dispatch, who is supported by the UNF, who is an open advocate of the UN and the amazing work they do throughout the world.  What do they say?  Here’s an excerpt from their statement on this treaty.

Needless to say, the UN does not want to confiscate Americans’ firearms.  What many member states do want to do, however, is make it more difficult for guerrilla movements, insurgents and irresponsible governments from easily obtaining small arms.  Nine years ago, member states proposed setting in motion a treaty process that would do just that. The Bush administration, though, opposed the treaty process.  This was problematic for the cause, as it were, because the United States is among the world’s largest exporter of small arms.  Any treaty without the United States on board would not be very effective.

The Obama administration does not share the previous administration’s view of the utility of a small arms trade treaty.  This fall, Secretary Clinton made clear that the United States would support the arms trade treaty process. However, understanding that any treaty requires senate passage, the United States set one big condition on the treaty negotiation process: that it proceed by consensus. This means that unanimity is required for all votes, which, in turn, gives the United States an effective veto over the entire process.   This has not seem to quell the conspiracy spinners, who apparently remain convinced that the UN is plotting to take Americans’ guns away. But the fact of the matter is, this treaty process is all about restricting the international transfer of small arms to irresponsible end users, like terrorist groups, militias that use child soldiers, or governments that use the weapons to commit terrible human rights abuses.

Oh.  Right—nothing to see here.  Except that we have a Secretary of State who is in apparent support of such a treaty.  And that we don’t know what that treaty says, and probably won’t until it’s on the table for signatures.  Perhaps it’s like the recent health care debacle, of which Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said “we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it”.  Wouldn’t that be nice?  I just love surprises.

There’s also that trifling little bit about guerrilla movements and insurgents and such.  You don’t think they’re talking about Patriots Clubs or Tea Party organizations, do you?

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170 Responses to Fact-Checking the UN “Small Arms Treaty”

  1. Mark Stoughton says:

    There is a loophole in the Constitution that states any treaty entered into by the US becomes the law of the land. I think it is in section 6. We certainly can not trust the current admin, and the GOP does not have a majority in the Senate. The Supreme Court will be useless, and I fear that should this ‘treaty’ be forced on us it will be the ignition point for a revolution, the likes of which the world has never seen.

  2. Jeff Mowry says:

    Mark, this is what I see in 6:2 of the Constitution:

    2: This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.

    So we see we’re in dangerous times anytime our public servants disregard the Constitution for exactly these sorts of situations. If they’d rather be global citizens (and spit on our own glorious heritage) I wish they’d become so outside our borders and ivory halls. I’ve no use for such miscreants on my native soil.

  3. Gene Bifano says:

    Being a doubting Thomas I went to the UN website to read the treaty myself. Couldn’t find it.Hmm Then I sent a Email to the Director of that group who quickly sent 3 marketing pieces saying how it wouldn’t infringe on Americans rights. I replied and said thank you but I would like to see the actual text and make up my own mind.

    So far no response – go figure. So if they’re not willing to publish the treaty then I would guess Hillary has screwed us.

    My nest attempt is with the Dept. of State. Guessing that won’t work either.

  4. Basic Civics says:

    Could any of you please take a civics course?
    The Secretary of State cannot ratify a
    Treaty, only a super majority of the Senate.
    A treaty may not be in conflict with the constitution.
    So now we need a super majority of the Senate
    And in this case and constitutional convention and
    A super majority of the States. In other words, can’t
    Happen. Take off the tin foil hats and read.

  5. Jeff Mowry says:

    Hey, Civics, that isn’t really news, and I’ve read (and generally comprehended) the Constitution. So ignorance really isn’t the issue so much as distrust. Now why might folks distrust our public servants? Is this really so unimaginable to you? Let’s consider some unsolved breaches between the actions of Congress and what the Constitution says. I’ll focus on a few items concerning Congress in Article I.

    Does Congress, for instance, truly handle all duties of legislation? Hell, no—not only do they not write the bills they pass into law, they generally don’t even read them! I suggest it’s impossible to keep their oath of fidelity to the Constitution when they don’t even know what they’re passing into law (a la Pelosi’s “we have to pass the law to find out what’s in the law” illiterate idiocy).

    Does Congress coin money or regulate the value of money? No, a private banking entity does this—with no provision of delegation found in the Constitution. And despite the mandate to the Federal Reserve for “stable prices”, the value of the dollar has instead lost over 95% since the Fed’s inception! Congress has done nothing to stop this (and implicitly encourages it), which is in effect an unconstitutional tax.

    Does Congress always declare the wars we start? No, the executive branch has entered into war on their own lately, counter to the clear reading of the Constitution.

    Has Congress ensured the Writ of Habeus Corpus? No, they’ve recently passed legislation in direct violation of Habeus Corpus (of American citizens!) with enactment of the NDAA.

    Has Congress ever allowed Bill of Attainder or ex post facto law to be enforced? Of course, on many occasions, whenever expedient.

    Has Congress ever taken money from the treasury without appropriate means of controlling the spending of said money via law? Sure, we’ve been over three years with no issued budget by the Senate.

    Has Congress allowed anything other than gold or silver as legal tender for payment of debts? Of course! In fact, it’s openly prosecuted “competing currencies” made in exactly gold and silver while forcing upon the citizens only worthless Federal Reserve Notes as use as currency. (Yeah, I’m interpreting this one a bit broadly.)

    Such a stunning record of unbroken trust and adherence to the Constitution. Perhaps you’re right, Civics, that passage and ratification of a treaty that disavows simply “can’t happen”. After all, nothing contrary to the Constitution has ever been seen at the hands of these trustworthy public servants!

  6. Michael says:

    I heard, don’t know if it’s true or not, if this small arms treaty is signed by clinton,
    will stand as law for five years, regardless if the Senate ratifies it. Anybody know
    if this is correct or not

  7. Jeff Mowry says:

    Michael, I’ve got no way of verifying whether this is true or not—but it certainly wouldn’t be Constitutional (not that it matters much anymore).

  8. Bree says:

    Gene, you can’t see the actual text of the treaty because it is not final yet; the negotiating conference ends on Friday. You can see draft texts and all sorts of other documents at this website: http://www.reachingcriticalwill.org/disarmament-fora/att (click on “negotiating conference” and then “documents.” There are a lot of references to gender-based violence on the website because it belongs to a gender equality non-profit org.)

    Also, the treaty would not be enforced by the U.S. unless the Senate approves it by a 2/3 majority. So, the idea that it would be enforced for 5 years regardless of ratification is false.

    That said, I’ve been researching this topic for almost 3 years and those “marketing pieces” you received are not lying when they say the treaty would not affect legal gun ownership. Here in the U.S. we use high standards in our arms imports and exports (as far as legality goes; not so much on the humanitarian aspect that some people also want the treaty to address). See this article for an example: http://www.examiner.com/article/united-technologies-fined-for-arms-export-violations.

    The treaty is intended to force other countries to step up their trade standards to be closer to ours, so hopefully we could stop things like this:

    “The Secret Online Weapons Store That’ll Sell Anyone Anything”: http://gizmodo.com/5927379/the-secret-online-weapons-store-thatll-sell-anyone-anything

    “Ex-Navy SEAL gets nearly 18 years in weapons case”: http://www.whbf.com/story/19045965/ex-navy-seal-gets-nearly-18-years-in-weapons-case

    Here is a nice infographic that Oxfam has made to show the importance of closing gaps in international trade regulations: http://www.oxfamamerica.org/landing-pages/why-the-world-needs-an-arms-trade-treaty?gclid=CJSrm_japrECFWVvTAodR1EA_g

    Here are also some other examples to give you perspective on how this treaty can help others who aren’t as lucky as we are in the U.S.:

    “Nigeria conflict takes unexpected, dangerous turn with attack claim by Islamist sect”

    “Massacre Reported in Syria as Security Council Meets”

    “Desperate Central Americans fleeing violence, poverty flood north through Mexico to the US”

    “Ethnic Violence and Arresting UN Workers: Myanmar Backslides”

    “Viktor Bout associates exploited flaws in international law, UN study finds”

  9. Pingback: | Beware of Obama’s Sleight of Hand PR Stunt on No New Gun Control Laws and Signing the UN Small Arms Treaty. |

  10. jay says:

    Now we know why homeland secrity has been stocking up all for this event and the backlas it will cause…..get reaady here it come if obama is reelected

  11. william says:

    haven’t you people ever heard of reid v. covert ? The supreme court clearly decided that the us constituion supercedes any treaty we may sign. stop with the scare tatics and stick with the real issues like home grown gun control

  12. Jeff Mowry says:

    William, I understand there are a lot of comments to wade through on this post, but just as the Supreme Court has ruled in various ways in the past doesn’t mean the whole of the other two branches really care about the Constitution—or act accordingly. Numerous comments have pointed that out, specifically, in this post. Recent legislation, for instance, or various regulatory practices, clearly violate several items of the Constitution. You call concern over this “scare tactics”, but such concern seems only wise, given the recent spate of anti-Constitutional actions taken by rogue servants/departments of this government.

  13. Jones says:

    william, SCOTUS has reversed decisions in the past, nothing stopping them from doing so gain.

  14. Gary Privitt says:

    As a Veteran (drafted 1968) I thought ya’ll might want some TRUTH about this instead of the trash presented here (not that they will allow this to be posted.

  15. Jeff Mowry says:

    Gary, you don’t seem to be paying attention to the fact that our servants in government find little use for the Constitutional limits placed on them anymore. Signing of the Patriot Act and NDAA were both flagrantly illegal according to the limits of the Constitution. Further, the claims in that Snopes article you linked to were never claimed here, so the article is irrelevant to this discussion.

    If you believe there are false claims in the article, please enumerate them and we can have a rational debate.

  16. Lucila Laguerre says:

    The second amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees every American the right to bear arms. Has any law ever been so ambiguous? What are arms? What does it mean to bear them? At least with the first amendment we know exactly where we stand: Freedom of speech. It couldn’t be any clearer. But, the right to bear arms leaves the second amendment open to different interpretations. We need gun permits to carry a concealed weapon. Do we need knife permits? No. Yet both can, and often do, cause death. We can own a gun, or a rifle, or a sub-machine gun, or a machete, and dozens of other tools to kill, even our own bare hands. So, gun control is a debate in our country that makes no sense unless you broaden the ban or acceptance to include all instruments of death..”

    (Link redacted by webmaster so as to avoid encouraging spam comments—which we receive all the time.)

  17. Jeff Mowry says:

    Ambiguous? Really? How so? The intent, in context, is quite clear—a free people must have the means of protecting their liberty, and sometimes this will mean setting their government straight by use of force. Therefore, “bearing arms” is whatever is necessary to achieve that end. Per the Declaration of Independence:

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security…

    You mention permits for carrying weapons in a concealed fashion, but such “permission” reduces the right to bear arms to a mere privilege. This is not a Constitutional device, but contra-Constitutional. That we have such invalid laws is evidence the of the creeping of the state over the Creator-given rights of the people—something I agree with Jefferson as being “a long train of abuses and usurpations”. In this regard, I agree that the discussion of gun control makes no sense in its current scope. England has chosen to make the attempt at banning knives and all sorts of other instruments of potential harm (which is absurd, in that the list will never end). But then again, England—whose citizens are not permitted to “bear arms”—has a bad problem with violent crime. Perhaps violent crime and despotism have nothing to do with the objects used, but the corruption of human hearts?

  18. James Lawliss says:

    This is a very interesting and informative thread.

    I would only like to add that it seems the ONLY folks in government striving to rid us commoners of our Constitutional right are those who possess a cadre of armed guards 24/7 who, by the way, are usually paid for by us commoners.
    Of course there are the sheeple who have been propagandized in our public schools- also paid for by us commoners-who will cheer and echo whatever those of the progressive left tell them to cheer and echo.
    Like the exciting days of the late 1700s, those who relish freedom are a minority.
    Interesting, isn’t it, how history just repeats and repeats…

  19. Gary Privitt says:

    I stand corrected. Next time I’ll be sober when I comment. Promise.

  20. Bill Howard says:

    I have read parts of the treaty that are available at least up to 2014. More importantly I have researched the UN Disarmament wing its resolutions, and discussions back to the 80’s. I am still in progress. Several things are clear. 1. The UN sets itself as the governing body over those who signed the treaty, especially with respect to reporting and record keeping regulations. Does anybody see a threat to national sovereignty, and constitutional Government. I believe we are the first nation in history to put in writing where the elected is a servant of the people, and power is LOANED to the elected. To bad the self serving career politicians don’t understand their agreed upon limitations by oath. 2. If the UN was really interested about preventing human rights abuses where have they been on China, the Sudan years ago killing Christians, or the current enslavement of women and children in the sex trade,as well as many other issues of humanitarian concerns. 3. What are major leaders of countries like Iran doing in key UN positions with respect to Disarmament especially in small arms. 4.Given what we have seen in this country from our representatives at all levels regarding the erosion of freedom and the discounting of our Constitution, How can there be any trust in a global organization that has not built itself on principles such as our founding, based in the Bible, the Magna Carta, and Plato’s Republic. 5. The treaty refers to an illicit trade of firearms, but requires Global record keeping of legitimate transactions. Who is to say who, and when determines what can be transacted down the road. The UN is clear about its goal of disarmament in the private sector.
    In closing I do not suggest we are a perfect country. We like all others have our Good ,Bad, and Ugly parts of our history. The difference is the Declaration of Independence, The Constitution, and The Bill Of Rights. Something unique to the rest of the world and History. As Adams said our system requires a moral and religious people to survive. Maybe it is time to LEAD from that perspective.
    The 5 rights of the 1st amendment, the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 10th all address protection from Tyranny. The notion of peace established by the UN through its disarmament policy pushed for years as it relates to the individual ownership of firearms is
    utopian, or an unspoken desire for control. I hope we have not lost the ability to govern ourselves. I am not ready to resign to that thought. I still see some hope and it is not in the UN.

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