Archive for April, 2013

Belmonte: Gun control to be taken up in 16th Congress

Friday, April 26th, 2013

Original story by  (

MANILA, Philippines – After a recent survey showed that 3 out of 4 Filipinos support a gun control policy, Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. said on Friday that the issue would be taken up in the next Congress.

Reiterating his call for a strict gun control, Belmonte said the matter “would most likely” be among the many concerns to be raised when the 16th Congress opens in July.

Earlier this year, Belmonte said the country certainly needs greater firearms control. A total ban except for those in the military, police and security agencies, was only ideal as long as illegal firearms thrive, he added.

Meanwhile, one of the authors of a gun control measure filed in the lower house stressed the need for “comprehensive, sustainable and stricter” regulations on all types of firearms and its components.

Marikina City 1st District Representative Marcelino Teodoro said the proliferation of firearms is becoming rampant, making it easier for criminal entities to perform acts of violence.

“A gun control law must be upheld and fully enforced upon by the concerned agencies and supported by the government to eradicate criminal acts,” said Teodoro, one of the authors of House Bill 5484 or the Comprehensive Firearms, Light Weapons and Ammunition Regulation Act of 2012.

The House of Representatives approved the said bill on third and final reading on Jan. 24, 2012, and sent it to the Senate two days later.

Last February 4 or more than a year later, the Senate approved on third and final reading a similar gun measure, the Senate Bill 3397 or the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act.

The said bill had been adopted by the Lower House as an amendment to HB 5484.

Among other violations, the Senate measure penalizes the illegal acquisition or ownership of three or more light firearms, which is punishable by lifetime imprisonment.

The gun measure was filed in the Senate last January, a month when gun-related incidents such the Atimonan, Quezon shooting and the New Year stray bullet cases were highlighted.

Earlier this week, a Pulse Asia survey showed that 75 percent of Filipinos are in favor of the implementation of a gun control policy.

See related story: 3 out of 4 Pinoys favor gun control

In the survey that covered 1,800 people aged 18 and above, only seven percent disagreed to such regulation, while 18 percent were undecided on the issue.

The survey also showed that most Filipinos (78 percent) prefer a policy that only allows law enforcers and licensed private security guards to carry firearms in public places.

A sizeable majority of the respondents (67 percent) also think that guns and their proliferation are among the key reasons why crime and violence occur in the country.

SAF Alarmed at Absence of Civilian Arms Rights in UN Arms Trade Treaty

Wednesday, April 3rd, 2013

The controversial Arms Trade Treaty passed by the United Nations General Assembly (GA) with the United States’ support represents an alarming policy shift, and a potential threat to American gun rights, the Second Amendment Foundation said.

“The vote was not about public safety,” stated SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb. “The United States already has the strongest regulations in the world on the international trade of conventional weapons.”

The U.S. broke with its policy requiring consensus and not only voted for the treaty but sponsored it.

Julianne Versnel, SAF’s Director of Operations, who spoke about self-defense in an NGO statement expressed disappointment.

“We have been working for 7 years on an ATT. There have been eight lengthy multi-day meetings and we still can’t get the right of civilians to self-defense acknowledged,” she observed.

On March 27, after the final text of the ATT was released, SAF sent a letter to Assistant Secretary Thomas M. Countryman expressing concern and asking for clarification regarding several provisions of the proposed treaty. Also signing the letter were the National Rifle Association, Manufacturers Advisory Group, World Forum on Shooting Activities, Defense Small Arms Advisory Council, Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers Institute and Firearms Import/Export Roundtable. This laid out five main reservations.

Of primary concern is the fact that civilian arms appeared to be included in the treaty, yet there is no recognition of the lawful right of civilians to own, trade and use small arms for self-defense. The language used in the Scope does not exclude “firearms that are lawfully owned by civilians and are not part of international commerce.” The language was also unclear concerning international travel with firearms by hunters and sport shooters.

Additionally it was unclear whether relics and curios would fall under this treaty or whether state-owned museums would be able to transport artifacts to other countries without export licenses. There is also concern that the amendment process for the treaty, and the possibility that major provisions could be effected by a minority.

The ATT will be open for signatures on June 3. Although President Obama has indicated he will sign it, the Treaty would have to be ratified by the Senate before it becomes binding on the United States.

The Second Amendment Foundation ( is the nation’s oldest and largest tax-exempt education, research, publishing and legal action group focusing on the Constitutional right and heritage to privately own and possess firearms. Founded in 1974, The Foundation has grown to more than 650,000 members and supporters and conducts many programs designed to better inform the public about the consequences of gun control. In addition to the landmark McDonald v. Chicago Supreme Court Case, SAF has previously funded successful firearms-related suits against the cities of Los Angeles; New Haven, CT; New Orleans; Chicago and San Francisco on behalf of American gun owners, a lawsuit against the cities suing gun makers and numerous amicus briefs holding the Second Amendment as an individual right.

Canada’s NFA Opposes UN ATT

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013

Original Story Via:  NFA.CA

The UN General Assembly passed a flawed Arms Trade Treaty this morning in New York City with 3 no votes, 23 abstaining, and 154 voting in favour.  According to NFA President Sheldon Clare, “The Arms Trade Treaty will set a dangerous precedent as a bad international agreement that will do nothing to prevent the misuse of major weapons systems and much to limit access of firearms and ammunition to legitimate users.” He continued, “As we see it, this ATT will harm legitimate users. We expect that it will increase the cost of ammunition, firearms, parts, and accessories for normal civilian users.” Canada’s National Firearms Association has gone on record as opposing the inclusion of civilian small arms and light weapons in the Arms Trade Treaty. “Canada will now need to decide whether or not to ratify this treaty, and we strongly suggest that our government not ratify it.”

Clare pointed to several problems with the draft treaty, part of which calls on states to “…establish and maintain a national control system, including a national control list, in order to implement the provisions of this Treaty.  The treaty is vague in many sections and in our view this vagueness opens doorways for many additional regulations and restrictions to be introduced in a treaty that we expect would be ever-expanding.”

Clare said, “We see this vague phrasing as having the potential to create a national registry which would be all the more offensive as it would be made public.”  He continued, “Several articles are about “end user” documentation, and the NFA submits that the end user of small arms and ammunition cannot be known in the absence of a heavily regulated registration and licensing program, which we vigorously oppose. The peer-reviewed evidence shows that neither licensing nor registration prevents criminal use of firearms. Furthermore, the ATT ignores personal defence as a legitimate form of firearm use.”

“Another significant problem is that parts of the draft treaty open the door to widespread corruption as well as to potential costly demands for real and necessary assistance. Our members hope that Canada will push for fiscal responsibility at the UN to ensure that funding is better monitored and controlled. Improved financial controls would save more lives than this Arms Trade Treaty ever would,” Clare stated. “Though we are disappointed that Canada voted for the treaty, we are pleased that Canada did not sponsor the treaty during the vote, and we hope that Canada will not ratify the Arms Trade Treaty. The Canadian government stood strongly in favour of civilian firearms owners during the treaty process to obtain some helpful preamble language, but the treaty remains a bad deal.  The present domestic burdens on Canadian firearms owners are already excessive, and the effect of this treaty would be to add more onerous and costly requirements for firearms ownership, as well as build further disrespect for firearms law. This treaty does not have the support of a significant proportion of the firearms owning public, and it appears to be in direct conflict with the stated aims of the Government in regards to not having any new burdens for firearms owners.”

Canada’s National Firearms Association is this country’s largest advocacy organization promoting the rights and freedoms of all responsible firearm owners and users.

UN adopts Arms Treaty in hurried vote

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013

Original Story Via:

By Dave Workman | Senior Editor

By a 154-3 vote with 23 abstentions that included Russia and China, the United Nations General Assembly quickly pushed through an international Arms Trade Treaty that many in the gun rights community see as a direct threat to the Second Amendment.

The Obama administration officially supported the treaty, in an about-face that raised the anger of the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

NSSF Senior Vice President and General Counsel Larry Keane said that this proves “the Obama administration wants a sweeping U.N. arms control treaty.”

“We are troubled by the timing of the Obama Administration’s decision to abandon consensus on the eve of the Senate debate on pending gun-control measures,” Keane said in a press release. “The United Nations treaty would have a broad impact on the U.S. firearms industry and its base of consumers in the U.S.”

Gun rights organizations, including the National Rifle Association (NRA), Second Amendment Foundation (SAF), and the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (CCRKBA), have been sounding alarms on the treaty effort for several years. SAF helped create the International Association for the Protection of Civilian Arms Rights (IAPCAR) in early 2010, and CCRKBA has been instrumental in creation of at least two Capitol Hill measures to prevent the United States from participating in U.N. gun control actions.

According to Fox News, the vote was 154-3 with 23 abstentions. The Washington Times quoted Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) who essentially said the treaty would not survive a Senate vote.

“The Senate has already gone on record in stating that an Arms Trade Treaty has no hope, especially if it does not specifically protect the individual right to bear arms and American sovereignty,” he said, according to the newspaper. “It would be pointless for the president to sign such a treaty and expect the Senate to go along. We won’t ratify it.”

Gun control organizations including Amnesty International were crowing about the vote. Deputy Executive Director Frank Jannuzi issued a statement blasting the NRA, which opposed the treaty.

“Today’s victory shows that ordinary people who care about protecting human rights can fight back to stop the gun lobby dead in its tracks, helping to save countless lives,” he said. “The voices of reason triumphed over skeptics, treaty opponents and dealers in death to establish a revolutionary treaty that constitutes a major step toward keeping assault rifles, rocket-propelled grenades and other weapons out of the hands of despots and warlords who use them to kill and maim civilians, recruit child soldiers and commit other serious abuses. Iran, Syria and North Korea blocked consensus at the U.N., while the NRA cynically – and ultimately unsuccessfully – tried to erode the U.S. government’s support through a campaign of lies about the treaty But in the end, the global call for responsibility in the arms trade won out.

“Amnesty International played a leading role in initiating the campaign for this treaty nearly 20 years ago and has fought tirelessly to stop weapons from being sent to countries where we know they are used to commit human rights atrocities,” Januzzi added. “This has been a life-saving struggle that never could have been achieved without the support of millions of human rights activists who stepped forward to demand change. We call on President Obama to be first in line on June 3 when the treaty opens for signature.”

That may be a tall order for the president, who already knows that there are not enough votes in the Senate for ratification.

Phil Watson, IAPCAR executive director, noted that the treaty language is troubling because there is no specific protection for privately owned civilian firearms. He was also wary about the vote because he said it had not been on the General Assembly agenda, but was called up and passed quickly on the morning of April 2.

In a statement to TGM, Watson noted that the treaty had not been able to reach consensus with all parties in agreement, and it was “hurried to the General Assembly.”

“An ATT without any provision protecting civilian use of firearms for the purpose of self-defense is unacceptable,” Watson said. “While the preamble makes vague reference to civilian arms, there is nothing acknowledging the right in the operative language of the treaty.”

IAPCAR comment on UN ATT approval

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013

The International Association for the Protection of Civilian Arms Rights (IAPCAR) expressed concern about the passage of the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty (UN ATT) after its approval on April 2, 2013 in the UN General Assembly. This is not the path that the ATT should have taken. The Treaty had not been able to reach consensus, where all parties agreed, and it was hurried to the General Assembly. There were 154 votes in favor, 3 against and 23 abstentions.

Philip Watson, IAPCAR’s executive director, stated, “An ATT without any provision protecting civilian use of firearms for the purpose of self-defense is unacceptable. While the preamble makes vague reference to civilian arms, there is nothing acknowledging the right in the operative language of the treaty.”

IAPCAR co-founder Julianne Versnel addressed the global body at the ATT conference on March 27 along with other Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO’s) and defended the use of firearms in self-defense. “Almost half of the handguns in the US are owned by women. They are used daily for self-defense. I fully endorse, as should every person in this room, the idea that women must have the means to defend themselves. Nothing that is in an Arms Trade Treaty should affect a woman’s right to defend herself,” she told the delegates.

Pro-civilian rights supporters, collectors, industry and other participated in the process; however, were given less than half the time allotted to the self-titled ‘arms control’ groups in testimony to the global body.

The ATT will be open for signature on June 3 and will enter into force 90 days after the 50th signatory ratifies it.

The International Association for the Protection of Civilian Arms Rights ( is the only worldwide political action group focusing on the human right to keep and bear arms. Founded in 2010, IAPCAR has grown to 24 major gun-rights organizations and conducts operations designed to inform the public and promote the right of self-defense and gun-ownership.

NSSF Objects to U.S. Government Abandoning Position that U.N. Treaty Must be based on International “Consensus”

Monday, April 1st, 2013

Via:  National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF)

The National Shooting Sports Foundation today strongly objected to the last-minute reversal of the U.S. government position regarding the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty. In the closing hours of negotiations on Thursday, March 28, the government abandoned its previous insistence that the treaty be approved only through achieving “consensus” of all the member states. Requiring consensus had been the United States position going back to earlier administrations.

At the end of the session, a U.S. government spokesperson told reporters “It’s important to the United States and the defense of our interests to insist on consensus. But every state in this process has always been conscious of the fact that if consensus is not reached in this process, that there are other ways to adopt this treaty, including via a vote of the General Assembly.” The spokesperson went on to say that the United States would vote “yes” on the treaty in the General Assembly, regardless of the positions of other member states. By abandoning the requirement for consensus the United States is assuring passage of the treaty by the United Nations.

“This abrupt about-face on the long-standing United States requirement for ‘consensus’ illustrates that the Obama Administration wants a sweeping U.N. arms control treaty,” said Lawrence Keane, NSSF senior vice president and general counsel. “We are troubled by the timing of the Obama Administration’s decision to abandon consensus on the eve of the Senate debate on pending gun control measures. The United Nations treaty would have a broad impact on the U.S. firearms industry and its base of consumers in the U.S.”

Industry analysts have identified three major areas of concern with the treaty text. The treaty clearly covers trade in civilian firearms, not just military arms and equipment. It will have a major impact on the importation of firearms to the United States, which is a substantial source for the consumer market. And it will impose new regulations on the “transit” of firearms, the term defined so broadly that it would cover all everything from container ships stopping at ports to individuals who are traveling internationally with a single firearm for hunting or other sporting purposes.

“We hope that the Members of the U.S. Senate are closely watching the White House abandon its principles and promises in the rush to ramrod this flawed treaty into effect. Not only will they later be asked to ratify this attack on our constitution and sovereignty, but they will also be lavished with new promises from the administration in its drive to push a broad gun control agenda through the U.S. Senate when it returns from recess. They would be right to question those promises strongly,” concluded Keane.