John Bolton on Gun Control
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."
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.
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.
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."
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