Archive for the ‘News’ Category

UN on ‘Collision Course’ with Civilian Arms Rights

Thursday, June 19th, 2014

The United Nations is “on a collision course” with the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment and the natural right of all people to defend themselves,” the Second Amendment Foundation said today in a statement to the U.N.’s Programme of Action (POA) meeting in New York.UN Gun Control

SAF Operations Director Julianne Versnel told the committee that “the POA and other UN efforts repeatedly and vociferously discuss gender issues.”

“They acknowledge that women are disproportionally the victims of horrendous violence, sometimes even perpetrated by their own governments or others in power,” Versnel said. “Yet, they turn a blind eye to the reality that women have a right to defend themselves and are capable of doing so. The Programme of Action seems unable to acknowledge anything beyond the simplistic notion that civilian firearms are inherently evil. The right of women, indeed the right of men and women, to self-defense is a human right.”

The U.N. has failed to recognize this human right, she stated, whether it deals with POA activities, the infamous Arms Trade Treaty or even its own Human Rights Council.

“This is not a geographically limited issue and a growing number of organizations consider it vital,” she said. “In fact, the Second Amendment Foundation along 20 other civilian firearms rights groups from six continents came together in 2008 to form the International Association for the Protection of Civilian Arms (IAPCAR). IAPCAR intends to vigorously pursue the right to self-defense in every possible venue.”

Versnel criticized a 2006 report by Barbara Frey with the UN Human Rights Council that “refused the idea that there is a right to have arms for self-defense and furthermore rejected any concept of self-defense as a human right. It also went on to say that states had a duty to engage in gun control. The kind of gun controls makes self-defense impossible.”

Frey’s report was titled Prevention of Human Rights Violations Committed with Small Arms and Light Weapons.

“These conclusions were outrageous,” Versnel stated. “These erroneous concepts have spread at the UN. It appears that Peru introduced a resolution at the UN Human Rights Council, based on the Frey report that, in essence, demanded that all states institute strict civilian gun control. NGOs are starting to base their opposition to firearms on the Frey report at the expense of recognizing an individual’s right to self-defense.”

While acknowledging that the question cannot be resolved quickly, Versnel promised to “debate this in any venue, at any time, at any place.”

Gunowners in Peru gain small victory against anti-gun odds

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

Original story via: TheGunMag.com

by Art Merrill

Anti-gun rights and anti-hunting groups from the US and abroad are very active in Central and South America, with the intent to outflank and overrun US gun owners from that direction. But a fledgling movement to fight the complete eradication of hunting and civilian gun ownership in the Southern Hemisphere has succeeded in introducing legislation in Peru to instead expand the rights of owners under a draconian gun control system.

“We achieved a landmark … when a Peruvian congressman introduced a bill favoring the position of the firearms community,” said J. Thomas Saldias, coordinator of the Coalicion por un Peru Libre de Armas ILEGALES (Coalition for a Peru Free of ILLEGAL Firearms). “The bill is significant because it’s the first bill in the region that favors the position of shooters and hunters.”

The bill is a beginning on a very long road to secure some firearms rights that gunowners in the US will find familiar, and some they would consider restrictive and invasive; but in Latin American countries like Peru, where ownership is strictly controlled and limited to only four firearms per person, any inroad at all is a positive step. The bill now before the Peruvian Congress stipulates the establishment of:

• A national registry of convicted felons, with the purpose of denying them possession of firearms, similar to the NICS check in the US;

• Mandatory training for all gun owners, both in firearms handling and in current laws;

• Using the US ATF definition of “antique” and “collectible,” and removing the current requirement that such firearms be de-milled by drilling the chambers;

• A registration card for each firearm with no expiration date;

• A CCW permit, and

• Requiring military members to register their personal firearms with the same government agency as civilians, rather than with their military branch.

Peru is not alone. Other Latin Americans are trying to rally against an organized and methodical assault on gun ownership orchestrated by Oxfam International, International Action Network on Small Arms (IANSA), Open Society, the Latin American Parliament (Parliamentary Forum on Small Arms) and the Latin American Coalition for the Prevention of Gun Violence (CLAVE).

“Even some governments, such as the governments of Belgium, UK, Australia, Norway and Sweden have been very proactive in promoting coercive measures in our region,” Saldias said.

According to Saldias, finances for these anti-rights and anti-hunting forces also stream from North American sources, such as: the Rockefeller Foundation; Compton Foundation; John and Catherine McArthur Foundation; Samuel Rubin Foundation, and the Ploughshares Fund.

Saldias said Small Arms Control, with more than 100 member organizations operating offices in 120 countries, is the most active anti-rights group in Mexico. “It is led by Rebecca Peters, an Australian native who moved to New York,” Saldias said. “She is directly funded by [anti-rights billionaire] George Soros.”

Foreign anti-rights influences are so powerful in Latin America that the Coalition had been working since May 2013 to get backing for their bill in the Peruvian Congress. The Coalition finally got in the door of Congressman Juan Carlos Eguren last November and Eguren introduced the bill Mar. 14.

Seeing the bill pass as written may be too much to expect, but its introduction alone is a victory. “The most important thing about this bill is that it reverses a trend that has been always restrictive and confiscatory,” Saldias said.

Brazilian disarmament: an undisputed failure

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

Brazilian disarmament: an undisputed failure

By Fabricio Rebelo

The public security field should be immune to ideological experiments, because it’s subjects are individuals, the citizens who make up the population of a country. Thus, when the experiment fails, it is this subject that ends up dying, and this is, unfortunately, what’s going on in Brazil again and again.

The country chose the wrong path when it perceived the serious homicidal violence framework in which it was immersed, seeking solutions that were far from the real cause of the problem and that, only, intended to transfer the responsibility for it to society. The results were catastrophic and, today, the Brazilian killer framework is the worst since it began to be measured almost 35 years ago.

The data are available on the 2014 Edition Preview “Map of violence”, the country’s most trusted and who has official recognition by the Ministry of Justice, for it is based on the Mortality information System (SIM), from the Ministry of Health. According to that, the country of the Soccer World Cup and the next Olympic Games has reached, in 2012, the most recent year with recorded data, its absolute annual homicides record: 56,337 victims, with the highest historical rate since the beginning of the registry (in 1980), amazing 29 murders per 100 K inhabitants.

Those are impressive numbers, higher, even, than those of countries at war. The explanation, although it can include more complex aspects, like everything else in public safety, features a predominant factor to the further the severity of the frame: the error of the civilian disarmament.

The disarmament concept was officially introduced in Brazil in 1997, when the first effectively restrictive of gun-bearing law was enacted (bill # 9,437/97), through which the National System of Weapons-SINARM, intended for strict control of legal weapons circulation, was also created. A few years later, at the end of 2003, the law became even more restrictive, with the “Disarmament Statute”, which had as its major goal precisely to reduce the amount of murders in the country. It was, actually, putting into practice of a disarmament ideology drawn up by the UN long before, although without any proven positive example.

Obviously, it was to no avail. The murders, as seen, have not been reduced, but, on the contrary, they’ve reached their highest number, and what was said to be a magic solution became an unquestioned and grandiose failure. Establishing the prohibition of the possession, as well as carry-on, as a general rule, the Disarmament Statute began to take effect in 2004, the year in which 48,374 homicides were recorded in Brazil . Four years later, with the near extinction of the legal arms trade practice, the numbers came to 50,113 (2008) and since then, there have been on a upward climb until the record of 56,337, registered in 2012.

In the same period, the number of registered weapons in the country plummeted. Of the approximately 8 million records that made up the initial SINARM framework, today there are only about 600 K, due to the great restrictions imposed on the citizen, even for the renewal of those permits that already existed. The law thus does not contribute to the reduction of homicides, but it has actually provoked a massive uncontrolled circulation of arms in the country, producing an effect diametrically opposed to the desired one. The practical reality of the ideological disarmament experiment ended up indicating that the reduction of weapons legally in circulation generates an increase in the amount of intentionally violent deaths.

This increase is not hard to understand. The problem is that disarmament policies in Brazil or in other countries, only have the possibility to affect the crimes of passion, those treated in the “Global Study on Homicide-2014″ by the UN itself as “interpersonal” crimes”, committed on impulse and for which the legal possession of a firearm could be a facilitator. However, the participation of these crimes in the total amount of homicides in Brazil is minute, as in the country, according to the same study, the predominant cause for murders is the usual practice of criminal activity-homicides related to other criminals activities, namely, the Brazilian murders are in direct relation with other crimes, mainly drug trafficking and theft.

While Brazil insisted on disarmament policies that only made the citizens vulnerable, the country failed to battle the criminal activities of which the murders actually stem. Without being in the focus of public security policies and with society turning gradually helpless, crime was strengthened and, with that, more and more deaths are being recorded.

This framework is extremely worrying. The increased rate of homicides from 2011 to 2012 reached 7% and their absolute number has already settled in 50 Ks for 5 years. If the focus is not changed and public security policies fail to see the responsibly citizen armed as an ally rather than an enemy, the year 2016 might bring some more records to Brazil, however without any connection with the Olympic Games that are going to happen here, but having everything to do with those who, victimized by criminals, won’t be able to attend them.

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Fabricio Rebelo, Bachelor of Law, is a researcher in public safety for the Movimento Viva Brazil NGO:  http://www.mvb.org.br/

MANILA: SC gets 2 petitions vs gun control law

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014
By Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News
Posted at 03/26/2014 10:09 AM | Updated as of 03/26/2014 10:09 AM

MANILA – Two petitions have been filed with the Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday that seek to nullify certain provisions of Republic Act (RA) No. 10591, also known as the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act of 2013.

The law, signed on May 25, 2013, has become controversial for imposing stricter requirements for obtaining firearm licenses, and stiffer penalties for violators.

The Peaceful Respondent Owners of Guns, Inc. (Progun) filed its petition against the Philippine National Police (PNP), alleging grave abuse of discretion on the part of the PNP for ordering the centralization of all firearms requirements, testing, and licensing in its headquarters in Camp Crame, Quezon City.

The group said this is “arbitrary, whimsical, and so difficult to comply with,” considering that there are 1.5 million licensed gun owners in the country spread all over the regions.

Progun also hit the law for being violative of the constitutional guarantee against unreasonable searches, for providing that “all firearms applicants and owners under compulsion to ‘waive’ their right [to] the privacy of their homes and allow the police to enter their dwelling under the guise of inspection.”

Click here to read full story

National gun control lobby pushes for a dangerous weapons search in Tasmania

Friday, March 21st, 2014

Via ABC.NET.AU

The national gun control lobby wants more resources put into finding dangerous weapons hidden in the Tasmanian community.

On Monday police in Devonport seized a semi-automatic assault rifle and other unregistered firearms from a local property.

Only a few assault rifles have been seized in Tasmania since they were outlawed after the Port Arthur massacre in 1996.

Detective senior sergeant Joanne Stolp says police believe there are more in the community.

“They have just never come to light because either searches haven’t been conducted or people have forgotten about them lying around,” she said.

Roland Browne from Gun Control Australia says police need more resources to find the guns.

“They are liable to be stolen, we can’t rely on people handing them in,” he said.

Police say no semi-automatic rifles have been used in crimes in Tasmania since 1996.

‘Coordinated attacks’ by global anti-gunners gain sweeping victories at America’s doorstep

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014

by Art Merrill | TGM Correspondent (Original Article Via TheGunMag.com)

Meeting fierce opposition on frontal assaults against America’s strong pro-rights defenses, anti-gun forces have successfully penetrated the US back door of Latin American countries, where they intend a domino effect of harsh restrictions and bans to eventually topple gun ownership in the US.

“The anti-gun and anti-hunting groups are well organized and well-funded in the region and they are gaining momentum,” said J. Thomas Saldias, executive director of the Latin American Coalition for Legal Firearms (CALL). “We have already several countries in which hunting has been banned; in the majority, gun ownership is under attack. Unfortunately, we are facing tremendous adversaries with no assistance or funding from the firearms industry.”

Small pro-gun rights groups in seven Latin American nations—Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Mexico, Peru and Uruguay—have banded together as CALL to raise awareness and fight for gun ownership. According to Saldias, CALL is struggling against the very step-by-step model that anti-gun organizations employ in the US and elsewhere in their goal to eventually completely disarm the civilian populace.

“Their idea is to put up so many barriers that you get tired of fighting,” Saldias said.

The difference is that they are succeeding in Latin America.

Total Bans

Here are some of Saldias’ examples of increasing restrictions Latin American gun owners have recently experienced:

-Peru has limited gun ownership to only four firearms, 2 handguns and two long guns—period.

-Bolivia passed a “temporary” ban on importing firearms and ammunition, and Ecuador then followed suit. Bolivia’s ban is in its third year, but Ecuador dropped the ban.

-In Argentina the government publishes gun owners’ names and addresses on a public access website.

-In Chile, citizens can buy and possess firearms, but all firearms are legally the property of the government, which can recall them at any time by Presidential decree.

-According to the Venezuelan Hunting Federation, before Chavez came to power they used to sell over 20,000 hunting licenses per year; now, that number is less than 1,000.

-Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic have totally banned all hunting.

-Paraguay narrowly missed passing legislation to ban lead hunting ammo and now the same proposal is in front of Argentine legislators. Such a ban would be disastrous. “There are no alternatives to lead ammunition in Latin America,” Saldias said. “A ban would effectively end all hunting.”

No Pro-Rights Lobby

Identical proposed legislation is being repeated in country after country, Saldias said, proving a coordinated attack by organized anti-gun forces.

“In fact,” he said, “once the hunting ban had passed in Costa Rica, immediately the same project was presented in Argentina.”

The anti-rights legislation is being introduced and backed by deep pockets, including IANSA (the international lobbying organization intent on banning all private gun ownership worldwide through the United Nations), several US non-profit foundations and the governments of Australia, Belgium, Norway and the UK, Saldias said.

Latin American citizens are a vulnerable target for anti-gun interests and repressive governments because, Saldias said, they have no pro-gun rights lobbying powers at all.

“No one is lobbying legislators [for pro-gun rights],” Saldias said. Lacking any voice or legal clout, gun owners have no recourse. “Everybody hides, everybody runs away,” he said.

CALL formed in the image of US pro-gun rights groups like SAF to give gun owners a chance to stand their ground and fight back via legal action and lobbying. Lobbying requires money, and many Latin American economies don’t have a large middle class—or any middle class at all—that is typically a major source of donations for pro-rights causes, such as in the US. Without opposition lobbying, the anti-gun factions have made rapid progress infiltrating their agenda into Latin American legislation.

Who Cares?

Why should we care about these internal issues in Latin American countries? After all, we have our own Second Amendment battles to fight here at home. Because apart from pure altruism, the desire to help others fighting the same ideological fight as one’s own, history shows that isolationism ultimately fails 100% of the time. To protect US interests President Monroe in 1823 presented what became known as the Monroe Doctrine, a declaration that any interference into the Americas by European nations would be considered an act of aggression. Whether or not this doctrine is applicable in fact or in principle to the foreign groups and governments orchestrating legislative outcomes in Latin America today, Saldias pointed out the threat to US citizens is very close to home.

“What happens in your own back yard influences you more than when further away,” he said.

Banning gun ownership in Latin America will also have a major economic impact on the US firearms and the outdoors industry, Saldias said. All businesses must either grow, stagnate or wither away; Latin American countries represent vast potential markets for the US outdoors industry, both in direct sales and in the countless additional North American hunters who would outfit themselves to hunt down south if given the opportunity. Because the industry is committed to firearms rights in the US, Saldias hopes that industry leaders will understand the commercial loss and threat to North Americans’ rights if the anti-rights forces completely prevail in Central and South America.

A CALL TO ACTION

According to Saldias, CALL is tackling three serious challenges simultaneously: unifying the many different pro-gun rights groups from the independent Latin American nations; sharing information and human resources among them, and a lack of funds and financial streams. The first two challenges CALL will have to work out on its own. CALL is turning to its northern neighbor for assistance with the third.

“It is to our mutual benefit that the [US outdoors] industry help us,” Saldias pointed out. Without that assistance, the pervasive and accelerating encroachment of total civilian disarmament and criminalizing of hunting now occurring in Latin America will become an enormous political weapon against both the US shooting sports industry and US citizens alike.

CALL is still in its formative stages and debuted in the US at a National Shooting Sports Foundation’s SHOT Show press conference in January 2014. Working with the assistance of Safari Club International (SCI) and the World Forum on Shooting Activities (WFSA), CALL hopes to soon have solid backing from the US outdoors industry in their fight to stop the global anti-gun forces and regain their lost freedoms.

SIDEBAR

CALL’s objectives

The International Action Network on Small Arms (IANSA) is rapidly succeeding in advancing its agenda to completely disarm all civilians in Latin America by making access to firearms increasingly complex and costly for law-abiding citizens. In response, the Latin American Coalition for Legal Firearms (CALL) has objectives that sound familiar to North American gun owners; among them are:

-To promote education and training in the safe and responsible use of firearms;

-To promote sport shooting and hunting, and wildlife conservation, and

-To promote the universal right to self-defense.

CALL has a facebook community at http://www.facebook.com/armaslegales

SIDEBAR

Who is WFSA?

The World Forum on Shooting Activities (WFSA) is an international association of about 50 member organizations dedicated to shooting, hunting and pro-gun rights. It is a non-governmental organization (NGO) recognized by the UN Economic and Social Council.

According to information on the WFSA website, “The WFSA is a pro-active advocacy organization, working in concert with international bodies, national governments and regulatory authorities, for the worldwide promotion and preservation of sport shooting activities.” The stated purpose is, “to further the study, preservation, promotion and protection of sport shooting activities on every continent.”

Member groups in the US include the Second Amendment Foundation, Safari Club International, National Rifle Association, National Muzzle Loading Rifle Association and National Shooting Sports Foundation. http://www.wfsa.net/

French Gun Rights Group Joins Growing International Coalition Against Gun Control

Tuesday, December 24th, 2013

The International Association for the Protection of Civilian Arms Rights (IAPCAR) announced today that French gun rights group National Union of Owners Arms Hunting and Shooting (UNPACT) have joined the international coalition of 29 associations in 21 countries dedicated to defending civilian firearms rights.

UNPACT’s membership in the civilian arms rights coalition expands the European membership to eleven groups from eleven different EU and non-EU countries.

“We’re on the side of everyday people in all countries that wish to exercise their right to use firearms for legitimate purposes, including self-defense,” IAPCAR’s Executive Director Philip Watson said. “We’re very pleased to have UNPACT as our newest ally in the fight against extremist groups and individuals attempting to diminish firearms and self-defense rights.”

Gilles Proffit, UNPACT’s Secretary General recently issued a statement critical of an EU ‘White Paper’ proposing new regulatory schemes aimed at curtailing the legitimate ownership of commonly used firearms.

“European citizens cannot and shall not any further trust people, be they designated or elected, who do not trust them,” Proffit said. “They have long memories and will remind voters in all EU countries of this incredible matter in due course every time a national or European ballot comes up.”

IAPCAR and its affiliates issued a call to action last May on the newly proposed EU firearms regulations. The result of public input across Europe was over 92 percent opposed to the new restrictions.

IAPCAR Director Julianne Versnel, who is also the Second Amendment Foundation’s Director of Operations, submitted testimony to the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) meeting in March objecting to the exclusion of civilian arms rights from the ATT. “Nothing that is in an Arms Trade Treaty should affect a woman’s right to defend herself,” Versnel told the delegates.

The IAPCAR civilian arms rights coalition is focused on opposition to the ATT, which has passed the U.N. General Assembly and was made available for countries to sign on June 3. The ATT does not acknowledge or protect civilian arms rights or recognize the right to self-defense in its enforceable language.

The International Association for the Protection of Civilian Arms Rights (www.iapcar.org) is the only worldwide political action group focusing on the human right to keep and bear arms. Founded in 2010, IAPCAR has grown to 29 major gun-rights organizations in 21 countries and conducts campaigns designed to inform the public and promote the right of self-defense and gun-ownership.

Civilian Arms Rights News: Philippines, Iceland, Uganda

Wednesday, December 4th, 2013

Philippines Launches Digital System for Gun Licensing

Iceland:  Despite High Gun Ownership Rate, Police Officers Fatally Shoot Armed Suspect for First Time in Iceland’s History

Uganda:  Senior Lord’s Resistance Army Commander Dead

 

EU fires first salvo for stricter gun control

Thursday, November 14th, 2013

Story via Euro News

(Video available at linked story)

Gun crime is on the rise in Europe with the Schengen open border policy making it easier for criminals to move weapons across the continent.

In addition, Brussels says as many as 500,000 legally registered guns have been lost or stolen.

The European Union wants action, however any tightening of EU gun laws is likely to impact on registered owners.

Europe’s gun lobby is dead set against stricter regulation arguing that criminals already operate outside the law and more stringent measures will in no way stem the flow of black market weaponry.

Gun Trade World Article: Arms Trade Treaty Under Scrutiny

Monday, November 11th, 2013

Feature story in November 2013 print edition of Gun Trade World.

Available online linked here.

THREE GROUPS JOIN GROWING INTERNATIONAL COALITION AGAINST GUN CONTROL

Monday, November 11th, 2013

The International Association for the Protection of Civilian Arms Rights (IAPCAR) announced today that civilian arms rights groups in the Ukraine, Moldova, and Belarus have joined the international coalition of 28 associations in 20 countries dedicated to the preservation and defense of civilian firearms rights.

After meeting in Moscow for the second Right to Arms Congress the Ukrainian Gun Owners Association, Moldova’s Practical Shooting Association, and the Association of Practical Shooting in Belarus agreed join the growing coalition of civilian arms rights organizations.

“The global coalition of like-minded civilian arms rights groups is unified with greater strength in Europe now more than ever before,” IAPCAR’s Executive Director Philip Watson said. “I think most people agree with the right of self-defense, that’s why our coalition just continues to grow.”

The three groups will expand the European membership of IAPCAR to ten groups from ten different EU and non-EU countries.

IAPCAR directors Julianne Versnel and Alan Gottlieb attended and addressed the two day Right to Arms Congress in Moscow Russia held on Oct. 31 and Nov. 1. The conference was hosted by Russia’s IAPCAR affiliate Right to Arms, and featured pro civilian arms rights speakers and exhibitions from Russia and around the world.

A representative to the U.N., Versnel, who is also the Second Amendment Foundation’s Director of Operations, submitted testimony to the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) meeting in March objecting to the exclusion of civilian arms rights from the ATT. “Nothing that is in an Arms Trade Treaty should affect a woman’s right to defend herself,” Versnel told the delegates.

The IAPCAR civilian arms rights coalition is focused on opposition to the ATT, which has passed the U.N. General Assembly and was made available for countries to sign on June 3. The ATT does not acknowledge or protect civilian arms rights or recognize the right to self-defense in its enforceable language.

The International Association for the Protection of Civilian Arms Rights (www.iapcar.org) is the only worldwide political action group focusing on the human right to keep and bear arms. Founded in 2010, IAPCAR has grown to 28 major gun-rights organizations in 20 countries and conducts campaigns designed to inform the public and promote the right of self-defense and gun-ownership.

Russian Gun Rights Congress

Wednesday, November 6th, 2013

The II Congress of the movement of The Right to Arms was held on Oct. 31 and Nov. 1 2013. IAPCAR Directors Julianne Versnel and Alan Gottlieb attended and addressed the conference. Also in attendance was Gary Burris, President of U.S. IAPCAR affiliate group LSSA. Representatives of various regions of Russia, political parties, countries, associations, and public officials, met to discuss issues of international cooperation, the development of weapons of culture and improvement of state regulation in the field of weapons legislation.

Articles and pictures on the conference also available from the IAPCAR affiliate Right to Arms here and here.

Russian Gun Rights Congress

By Gary Burris, LSSA President

The Lone Star Shooting Association (LSSA) was invited to speak at the All-Russian Gun Rights Congress held in Moscow, Russia, on 31 October 2013. Chairman of that organization, Maria Butina, invited a number of the members of the International Association for the Protection of Civilian Arms Rights (IAPCAR) to the meeting. Our good friends Alan Gottlieb and Julianne Versnel were there representing the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF), The Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (CCRKBA) as well as IAPCAR.Right to Arms

Maria asked me to address the Gun Rights Congress on a series of questions regarding American citizens’ gun rights.

Here in the USA we have to constantly be on guard to protect our gun rights guaranteed by the Second Amendment to our Constitution. In my opinion there are three main groups of people who are a threat to our human right of self-preservation and self-defense.

First there is the ignorant group. I believe this to be the largest group and perhaps the easiest to deal with. The people in this group are for the most part well intentioned. They are under the false assumption that if you had laws restricting the use of firearms by law-abiding citizens then violent crimes involving firearms will stop. Logic and statistics will go a long way in correcting this misconception, after all criminals do not obey laws by definition. So, part of the mission of LSSA is to inform the public and educate them in the use of firearms for recreational and self-defense purposes.

The second group is just plain stupid. I once had a boss who told me that you could fix ignorance with education but that you cannot fix stupid. This group is the most dangerous when it comes to attacking our human right to self-preservation. Typically members of this group are liberal politicians who feel the need to impose their will on the people. And of course they have a large following of stupid people.  Even when the majority of citizens who elected them to office are in favor of gun rights, they (being elite and knowing what is best for the masses) will endeavor to remove the citizens’ rights and freedoms “for their own good.” The conclusion is that it is a waste of time to try to deal with this group.

The last group is apathetic. They seem to live in their own world and cannot be bothered with what they consider to be mundane issues that don’t involve them. Often they realize too late that they have lost a freedom by doing nothing. This group is recognizable by their absence from the voting booth. Members of this group are typically young and more concerned about their social media tweet or Facebook image than they are about their right to bear arms. The LSSA youth training program is trying to address this issue.

Now we come to the issues facing Russian citizens. Maria and her organization are doing a great job in their fight for gun rights. This is the current situation for gun owners in Russia:

  • Citizens can own and carry pistols that shoot rubber bullets with up to 91 Joules of energy (non-lethal) but must have permission from the police to carry concealed.
  • Citizens cannot own pistols or revolvers and keep them at home nor can they carry them if they shoot real bullets.
  • Citizens can own and keep at home long guns for self-defense. This includes shotguns, rifles, teargas, non-lethal and air-soft.
  • No specific caliber restrictions but magazine capacity is restricted to 10.
  • A Russian citizen must own a smooth bore long gun for a minimum of 5 years without having any legal issues before he is able to purchase a rifled firearm.

The purchase of firearms by Russian civilians is regulated by a 1996 law “On Weapons.” This law is vague and gaps in the law are covered by orders of the Minister of Interior and government regulations. This creates a bureaucracy of red tape and forms the civilian must navigate in order to purchase a firearm.

Unlike here in the USA where the media is anti-gun for the most part, Russians are fortunate in that the media seems to be neutral on the issue of ownership of firearms by civilians.  Russian media appears to be more representative of the citizens and are therefore eager to learn about the ownership and use of firearms.

It is illegal to advertize firearms in Russia so you will not find a sales brochure insert in your local paper nor will you see anything on TV related to the purchase of firearms. For this reason a large portion of the public is unaware of laws and their rights to own a firearm. And as usual if people are uninformed about their rights to self-defense they tend to oppose ownership of firearms.

So what is the path forward for Russian citizens and what can others do to help them in their quest for the freedom of self-defense? Obviously, Maria and her organization must continue with their efforts. Several powerful Russian politicians were in attendance at the Gun Rights Congress and support Maria’s work. This is a great step in the right direction because gun rights are clearly political issues around the world.  Recognizing that self-preservation is a human right is the first step in securing the right of self-defense.

I noted that there have been some IPSC and IDPA matches in Russia.  IPSC tends to be run and gun where IDPA is more practical.  LSSA is a combination of the two with fewer rules, easier scoring system and a lot of fun. I would like to see shooting clubs in Russia start holding LSSA 3-gun matches. Take the example of Italy that held over 50 LSSA matches last year.  Some were shotgun or rifle only and others were a combination of the two.  In the coming year they will hold pistol only and a combination of all three types of guns in the same match.  LSSA even has a set of rules for air-soft matches. Rules are very simple and membership is only 5 Euros per year. Additionally, LSSA was able to prevent the Italian bill 29/2012 from becoming law that would have restricted ownership of military look alike firearms, i.e. the AR-15. Because we used these firearms in shooting competitions we were able to show that they are used for sporting activities and should not therefore be restricted. The proposed law was withdrawn from consideration by the Italian authorities.

The International Association for the Protection of Civilian Arms Rights (http://iapcar.org/) is the only worldwide political action group focusing on the human right to keep and bear arms. Founded in 2010, IAPCAR has grown to 25 major gun-rights organizations and conducts operations designed to inform the public and promote the right of self-defense and gun-ownership.

Main Conference

Alan Gottlieb, SAF, CCRKBA, IAPCAR

Julianne Versnel, SAF, IAPCAR

Gary Burris, LSSA

Alexander Torshin, First Deputy Chairman of the Federation Council

IAPCAR Directors to speak at conference on international experience in the area of regulation of civilian weapons and justified self-defense

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013

31 October – 1 November, 2013

Location: event-hall «InfoSpace»

Moscow, 1 Zachatievskiy lane 4

Metro Kropotkinskaya, Park Kultury

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD INFO AND AGENDA (Adobe Acrobat Reader Required)

Exclusive: After Westgate, Interpol Chief Ponders ‘Armed Citizenry’

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013

Original Story Via ABC News

By

Interpol Secretary General Ronald Noble said today the U.S. and the rest of the democratic world is at a security crossroads in the wake of last month’s deadly al-Shabab attack at a shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya – and suggested an answer could be in arming civilians.

In an exclusive interview with ABC News, Noble said there are really only two choices for protecting open societies from attacks like the one on Westgate mall where so-called “soft targets” are hit: either create secure perimeters around the locations or allow civilians to carry their own guns to protect themselves.

“Societies have to think about how they’re going to approach the problem,” Noble said. “One is to say we want an armed citizenry; you can see the reason for that. Another is to say the enclaves are so secure that in order to get into the soft target you’re going to have to pass through extraordinary security.”

Noble’s comments came only moments after the official opening of the 82nd annual gathering of the Interpol’s governing body, the General Assembly. The session is being held in Cartagena, Colombia, and is being used to highlight strides over the last decade in Colombia’s battle against the notorious drug cartels that used to be the real power in the country.

FULL ARTICLE AVAILABLE HERE: http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/exclusive-westgate-interpol-chief-ponders-armed-citizenry/story?id=20637341&singlePage=true

Over 100 Women Take Up Arms in Mexico to Defend Community

Thursday, August 22nd, 2013

Via:  Latin American Herald Tribune

The women signed up over the past four days with the UPOEG, Xaltianguis community self-defense force commander Miguel Angel Jimenez said

MEXICO CITY – More than 100 women in the southern Mexican town of Xaltianguis have taken up arms to protect their community from organized crime groups, a local self-defense force official said Monday.

The women signed up over the past four days with the Union of Peoples and Organizations of Guerrero State, or UPOEG, Xaltianguis community self-defense force commander Miguel Angel Jimenez told reporters.

“We have an average of nine groups” of community police, with each one made up of 12 women who will work in the daytime in the neighborhoods of Xaltianguis, located about 50 kilometers (31 miles) from the resort city of Acapulco, Jimenez said.

[Click here to view full article]

Taking Stock of the UN Arms Trade Treaty

Tuesday, July 9th, 2013

The Arms Trade Treaty As Gateway Framework For National Small Arms Control And Disarmament

By Jeff Moran | Geneva

(c) Jeff Moran

Image: (c) Jeff Moran

On 20 June Ambassador Roberto Moritán (Argentina), the former President of the 2012 UN ATT Conference and Chairman of the pre-negotiations process, spoke as part of a public briefing on the ATT at the United Nations in Geneva titled “The Arms Trade Treaty: Past, Present, Future.”

Amb. Moritán explained the ATT should not be seen as a static treaty, like others within the traditional arms control and disarmament field.  Instead, he explained that the ATT is best understood as an ongoing process and a framework…dynamic and expandable with amendments and additional protocols perhaps.  Additional protocols were understood to mean distinct treaties negotiated in addition to the ATT.  An example of a disarmament treaty with additional protocols of would be the 1980 Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons.

Expanding on this theme, Amb. Moritán stated the current “scope,” “parameters,” and “criteria” within the existing treaty “need additional negotiation.”  In particular, he said the scope of the treaty should be expanded over time in light of technological developments, and cited scientific achievements in robotics as one reason for this.  He concluded by stating “the ATT has to lead to negotiations in conventional weapons.  Negotiations of conventional weapons cannot continue to be a taboo in the United, Nations.”

If the ATT is to become a broader framework for ongoing negotiations on conventional arms control and disarmament, it is only a matter of time before the volume of the UN small arms control discussion turns up.  This was hinted at during the follow-on presentation by Sarah Parker of the Small Arms Survey, the UN’s go-to resource for small arms control research and policy development.

Ms. Parker presented a PowerPoint version of a report she published earlier this month called: “The Arms Trade Treaty: A Step Forward in Small Arms Control?”.  She explained in her report that while “the ATT has contributed several missing pieces to the framework of controls governing the international transfer of small arms,” it nonetheless has “provisions that are, in many cases, weaker than existing commitments on small arms transfers agreed more than a decade ago.”  The key takeway: the ATT needs more work with respect to controlling and documenting international small arms transfers at the very least.

But normative developments within the ATT and broader small arms process framework will not likely be limited to controlling and documenting international small arms transfers.  Given the history of the ATT negotiations and the small arms process, restrictions on transfers of small arms to “non-state actors” or “private actors” (diplomatic homonyms that often mean rebel groups, private corporations, or individuals) will probably reappear on the UN agenda through implementation and expansion of the ATT framework.  So might global restrictions in the form of national controls on civilian access or even outright prohibitions on civilian possession of certain types of small arms.

In this direction, a coalition of UN agencies and contracted small arms control advocates have been quietly developing a series International Small Arms Control Standards (ISACS) since 2008.  Some ISACs were released last year, but the project coordinator reports remaining ones are going to be released this year.  Privately, diplomats and ISACS advocates confirm that these will be “of use” and that many states hope a critical mass of these standards become the basis for future negotiations to amend the ATT.  Amendments to the ATT can be voted on six years after the instrument enters into force, and during meetings of States Parties only every third year thereafter.  Decisions on amendments will not be made by consensus, but through a three-fourths majority vote of States Parties in the room.

Two ISACS are thought to be of particular interest to those seeking to amend the ATT.  The first is ISACS number 03.20, “National Controls Over The International Transfer Of Small Arms And Light Weapons.”  Among other things, 03.20 has a provision that prohibits international transfers to private actors without “end-user certification.”  The second is ISACS number 03.30,“National Controls Over the Access of Civilians to Small Arms and Light Weapons.”  Among other things, 03.30 requires national registration of firearms and owners, prohibitions on civilian  possession of certain weapons Americans can already legally and legitimately possess with additional licensing, and even has language advocating for national home inspections of private gun collections for “safety compliance.”  This second standard was written by Dr. Ed Laurance, who is a former strategic planner for IANSA.  IANSA stands for the International Action Network on Small Arms, which, according to page 3 of its foundation document, is committed to “reducing the availability of weapons to civilians in all societies.”  (More information on draft versions of ISACS 03.30 and 03.20 and other ISACS involving national controls can be found here.)

If the ATT negotiations to date and the 112 signatories to the 2006 Geneva Declaration are any indicator, most if not a three-quarters majority of UN member states would endorse “private actors,” “end-user certification,” and “civilian access” appearing on the UN’s small arms control and disarmament agenda with the ATT.  In fact, Ms. Parker, along with her colleague Markus Wilson, even suggest in their small arms process guide for diplomats that a prohibition on transfers to private or non-state actors and prohibitions on civilian possession would have already become established, if not binding, international norms by now were it not for the singular opposition of the United States during the 2001 UN Conference on the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects, which resulted in the politically binding Program of Action (PoA).

Of course, the ATT can and should do much good to help establish badly needed  import/export controls with respect to conventional weapons in States currently lacking them.  The ATT should also and rightly compel appropriate humanitarian criteria into exporting State decision making where such criteria are missing or weak.  But can anybody deny at this point that the ATT is also a giant milestone towards global small arms control and disarmament, toward “reducing the availability of weapons to civilians in all societies?”  The truth is that a legally binding ATT, among other things, can and most likely will be revised and expanded to substantially achieve all that the politically-binding PoA was hoped to achieve but hasn’t, and then some.

At bottom, if the US is already the “gold standard” in terms of export controls and already applies humanitarian criteria in international weapons transfers, why again is it so imperative the US sign the ATT?   Some key diplomats suggest the US signature is necessary to create a symbolic demonstration of communitarian international engagement, and that this would help encourage other key states to do the same.  But if the American payment terms for signing and ratifying the ATT include a balloon payment 6 years from entry into force ultimately requiring a roll-back of American civil arms rights and privileges, perhaps the US ought not sign the treaty after all.  Instead, perhaps the US and other states should focus less on international trade controls and focus more on addressing root causes of armed violence in the developing or fragile states most affected by it, namely, lack of rule of law, weak if not incompetent local governance, and corruption.  Even Sarah Parker has apparently, finally, admitted in the conclusion of her aforementioned report:

“Small arms related problems have less to do with inadequate international transfer controls and more to do with controlling small arms already within their territories.” 

Ms. Parker’s remark is supported by prior research making the stronger point that, in fact, for most countries around the globe, particularly for most developing or fragile states, a combination of deficient domestic regulation of legal firearms possession with theft, and loss or corrupt sale from official inventories is a more serious problem than illicit trafficking across borders.[*]  Though the timing of Ms. Parker’s apparent admission (after the conclusion of the ATT negotiations) may raise certain ethical questions to some, her acknowledgement is nonetheless welcomed by this author in the spirit of it being better late than never.

Note

[*] This author first called attention to the apparent overselling of the ATT’s benefits in this regard in 2012. See http://tsmworldwide.com/dishonest-humanitarianism/ at notes 17, 18, and 19, which address research invalidating the overhyped claim by many ATT proponents, including the UN Office of Disarmament Affairs, that there was ever and still is a large problem of international trafficking of small arms.  Real scholarship shows, contrary to ATT advocacy campaigning message, that the problem of international trafficking of small arms is actually quite small, and isolated to specific troubled states or sub-regions.  Key source:  Owen Greene and Nicholas Marsh, eds. Small Arms, Crime and Conflict: Global Governance and the Threat of Armed Violence. Routledge: 2012. P. 90-91.

About The Author

Jeff Moran lives in Geneva, Switzerland and is a consultant specializing in the ethical and responsible development  of the international defense, security, and shooting sports industries at TSM Worldwide LLC.  Previously Mr. Moran was a strategic marketing leader for a multi-billion dollar business unit of a public defense & aerospace company and an American military diplomat.  He is currently studying weapons law within the Executive LL.M. Program of the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights.  Mr. Moran has an Executive Master in International Negotiations and Policymaking from the Graduate Institute of Geneva, an MBA from Emory University’s Goizueta Business School, and a BSFS from Georgetown University’s Walsh School of Foreign Service.

Distribution  Notices

© TSM Worldwide LLC.  Online republication and redistribution are authorized when this entire publication (including title, byline, images, notes, hyper-links, and distribution note) and linkable URL  http://tsmworldwide.com/taking-stock-of-the-arms-trade-treaty/ are included.  See other published items at http://tsmworldwide.com/category/published/

Israel: Taking Away the Licensed Guns

Monday, July 1st, 2013

Original Story Via: Yeshiva World Israel

When licensed gun owners in Israel receive their renewal, they are now informed they will have to justify the reason for holding a handgun. Minister of Public Security Yitzchak Aharonovich and others appear determined to reduce the number of handguns held by citizens.

That means if one was granted a handgun license because one lives in a community in Yehuda and Shomron, and one then moves over the Green Line to “Israel proper”, one may lose the handgun license. It does not matter if a gun holder is a soldier or officer serving in the IDF reserves, he will lose his weapon.

Unlike in some countries when one is given a license and one can purchase handguns, in Israel, it is a license for a specific handgun and only for that handgun. In addition to losing a licensed weapon, there will be a financial loss as well for a pistol such as a Glock ® which can cost upwards of 5,000 NIS in Israel will then have to be forfeited or sold. A store buying a second hand weapon realizing the owner must sell is unlikely to pay a fair market value for the weapon. As more and more people are compelled to get rid of their weapons, there will be a surplus of handguns, resulting in the value dropping even more.

The recent shooting spree in a Beersheva bank that left a number of people dead was carried out by a veteran of the military, a decorated officer, and this significantly boosted the voice of gun control advocates, who are not pleased that less handguns will be held in Israel.

Opponents insist that statistically speaking, the incidents of such events involving licensed handgun owners are miniscule – explaining there is no justification to confiscate licensed weapons from law abiding citizens. These people explain this is not the United States but the Mideast and having a handgun is wise and perhaps even essential.

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)

http://www.theyeshivaworld.com/news/General+News/174042/Israel%3A-Taking-Away-the-Licensed-Guns.html

A warning from Brits on gun ban

Friday, June 7th, 2013

Via:  Philly.com

By Alan Gottlieb

When the British newspaper the Telegraph asked readers which of six suggested measures they would like to see introduced in the House of Commons, the response was surprisingly tilted toward one significant proposal.

Of the six suggestions, which included setting a flat tax and placing a term limit on the office of prime minister, what drew more than 86 percent of reader support was a proposal to repeal the handgun ban of 1997. This is an unscientific poll, but the results should signal to U.S. gun prohibitionists that their habitual use of the United Kingdom as an example of domestic tranquility where guns are concerned just took a direct hit in the credibility department.

Full article available at:  http://articles.philly.com/2013-06-06/news/39791252_1_handgun-ban-alan-gottlieb-flat-tax


Alan Gottlieb is chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms and founder of the Second Amendment Foundation.

U.S. skips signing ceremony for U.N. arms treaty

Monday, June 3rd, 2013

Original Story Via:  The Washington Times

The White House stepped back from its open support for the U.N. arms treaty, deciding not to attend a public signing ceremony for the document in New York on Monday morning after all.

The United Nations was hosting a 10:30 a.m. ceremony with representatives from the United Kingdom, France, Mexico, the Democratic Republic of Congo and roughly 60 other nations to sign the international weapons treaty. But the U.S. decided not to show, according toBloomberg.

“I suspect they probably took a decision that, politically, it made sense not to completely alienate people in Congress on something that, in their opinion, doesn’t matter when they sign it as long as they sign it,” said Adotei Akwei, Amnesty International USA’s managing director for government relations.

The treaty, decried by the National Rifle Association’s 4.5 million members as an infringement to the Second Amendment, isn’t likely to pass the Senate. President Obama was the first president to support it, but isn’t rushing to sign it, given its controversy and his need to generate enough political capital for its ratification in the Senate.

“We are conducting a thorough review of the treaty text to determine whether to sign the treaty,” said Laura Lucas, spokeswoman for the White House National Security Council.

Mr. Akwei said the tone for the treaty among politicos on Capitol Hill was “absolutely toxic” and that U.S. ratification is a “long-term strategy” that can take up to 15 years, Bloomberg reported.

Via:  http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/jun/3/us-skips-signing-ceremony-un-arms-treaty/

US State Dept. Press Release: “US Welcomes Opening of Arms Trade Treaty for Signature”

Monday, June 3rd, 2013

Press Statement

John Kerry
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
June 3, 2013

 

The United States welcomes the opening of the Arms Trade Treaty for signature, and we look forward to signing it as soon as the process of conforming the official translations is completed satisfactorily.

The Treaty is an important contribution to efforts to stem the illicit trade in conventional weapons, which fuels conflict, empowers violent extremists, and contributes to violations of human rights. The Treaty will require the parties to implement strict controls, of the kind the United States already has in place, on the international transfer of conventional arms to prevent their diversion and misuse and create greater international cooperation against black market arms merchants. The ATT will not undermine the legitimate international trade in conventional weapons, interfere with national sovereignty, or infringe on the rights of American citizens, including our Second Amendment rights.

We commend the Presidents of the two UN negotiating conferences – Roberto Garcia Moritan of Argentina and Peter Woolcott of Australia –for their leadership in bringing this agreement to fruition. We also congratulate all the states that helped achieve an effective, implementable Treaty that will reduce the risk that international transfers of conventional arms will be used to carry out the world’s worst crimes.

Britain wants its guns back

Thursday, May 30th, 2013

A Daily Telegraph online poll has revealed that over 80 percent of Brits would rather a repeal on the hand gun ban over various other “new law” choices

Article Via The Commentator

by The Commentator on 29 May 2013 Union_Jack

Last Friday the Daily Telegraph, Britain’s most widely read broadsheet newspaper, issued an online poll asking members of the public which proposal they would like to see introduced as a Private Members’ Bill in the UK’s Parliament.

Private Members’ Bills are introduced by Members of Parliament or Peers who are not government ministers.

The choices include term limits for Prime Ministers, a flat tax, a law to encourage the ‘greening’ of public spaces and the repealing of Britain’s hand gun ban. Following the Dunblane massacre in 1996, in which 16 schoolchildren were killed, Parliament passed The Firearms Act of 1997, which essentially banned handguns for the atrocity.

But Britons seem unconvinced by the law. The proposer, known as “Colliemum” asked, “…why should only criminals be ‘allowed’ to possess guns and shoot unarmed, defenceless citizens and police officers?”

While the poll continues, so far over 80 percent of the 11,000+ respondents have told the Telegraph that they want to see the handgun ban repealed. The news comes as America contemplates its own new laws on gun ownership, with British talk show host Piers Morgan claiming to back a UK-style ban for the United States.

While gun crime soared after the British ban in 1997, rates of gun violence have fallen, especially in British cities, following more spending by police forces into tackling gun crime. Police in England and Wales recorded 5,911 firearms offences in 2011/12, a reduction of 42 percent compared with nine years earlier, according to the Office for National Statistics.

But statistics from the United States show that guns are used by citizens to defend themselves around eighty times more often than they are used to take a life. A recent study published in the Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy concluded that there is a negative correlation between gun ownership and violent crime in countries internationally, that is, “where firearms are most dense violent crime rates are lowest, and where guns are least dense violent crime rates are highest.”

British versus American statistics perhaps displays nothing more than one country investing more in the government response to criminality, while the other maintains a citizen-based response.

Two other options were presented in the Telegraph poll, which were the closing of the child maintenance loophole and a banning of spitting in public. The full results as of 01:36am on Wednesday 29th May, can be seen on the right.

For an up to date look at the poll, click through to the Telegraph’s website, here.

http://www.thecommentator.com/article/3644/britain_wants_its_guns_back

In tense Mexico state, vigilantes refuse to drop guns

Thursday, May 23rd, 2013

Original Story Via:  za.news.yahoo.com

Farmers wearing bulletproof jackets and toting assault rifles ride in pick-up trucks emblazoned with the word “self-defense” to protect this rural western Mexico town from the Knights Templar drug cartel.

The federal government deployed thousands of troops to the state of Michoacan this week, but in some towns like Coalcoman, population 10,000, vigilantes are refusing to put down their weapons until they feel safe again.

“We won’t drop our guard until we see results,” Antonio Rodriguez, a 37-year-old avocado grower and member of the community force, told AFP.

Last week, Coalcoman residents packed the main square to give their support to the 200-strong vigilante patrol, making it the latest Michoacan town to take up arms in recent months to fight off the extorsion and violence perpetrated by gangsters.

The town lies in a region called Tierra Caliente, or Hot Land, known as a hotbed of cartel activity.

The vigilantes carry handguns and hunting rifles, but a few were seen Wednesday roaming around with AR-15 semi-automatic rifles. In other towns many wear masks to protect their identities.

“We got tired of paying the quota,” said Adriana, a 32-year-old woman working in a pharmacy.

The “cuota” is extorsion money charged by the Knights Templar every week or month from business owners, farmers, taxi drivers and even mayors.

“The one who didn’t pay would be kidnapped and ‘bang, bang,’ they’d kill him,” said Adriana, squeezing her finger as if pulling a trigger.

In recent months, the self-defense groups detained people they accused of working with the cartels and clashed with drug traffickers. The gangsters responded by besieging towns and preventing food deliveries.

Michoacan was the first state to see troops when then president Felipe Calderon deployed soldiers and marines across the nation to crack down on cartels in 2006.

But gang violence surged throughout Mexico, leaving 70,000 people in its wake by the time Calderon left office in December, and a powerful new cartel, the Knights Templar, emerged in Michoacan.

The government of President Enrique Pena Nieto sent around 4,000 soldiers and marines this week along with 1,000 federal police, vowing that they would stay until peace is restored in the troubled state.

Military surveillance planes fly over towns while soldiers man checkpoints in Tierra Caliente. But self-defense groups still staff their own road blocks in some parts despite the military presence.

“They should first disarm organized crime, then the people,” said a young man wearing a bulletproof jacket and a white T-shirt inscribed with the words “self-defense group” in the back.

Late Tuesday, a vigilante patrol detained one man they accused of being a thief in Coalcoman. He was beaten and paraded in the town square with a bloody face in front of residents a dozens of federal police.

The road linking Coalcoman to the village of Buenavista is littered with the charred remains of buses and other vehicles that were used by the Knights Templar to block the delivery of food, medicine and other goods.

At the entrance of Buenavista, a sign greets drivers with the words: “Welcome to the village of Buenavista, free of quotas and Knights Templar.”

A checkpoint was installed on a white altar with a red cross that was built by the Knights Templar on the side of the road in honor of Nazario Moreno, alias “El Chayo,” a drug lord that the government believes was killed in a clash in 2010.

His body was never found and the religion-inspired Knights Templar revere him like a saint. The words “Saint Nazario” are painted on the Buenavista altar, which is riddled with bullet marks.

Buenavista’s vigilantes said the area became safer once they took up arms. They just want the authorities to get rid of the cartel.

“If they want, we’ll take them to the town, street, gully or lair where they’re hiding,” said one of the armed civilians.

The Knights Templar cartel has accused the vigilantes of being backed by their enemies, the Jalisco Nueva Generacion cartel, which is linked to the Sinaloa syndicate led by Mexico’s most wanted man, Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.

The cartel, which is an offshoot of the faded crime syndicate La Familia Michoacana, describes itself as an “insurgent” group. Its members must follow an honor code based on the group’s interpretation of religion.

The self-defense militias deny any links to narco-traffickers, but Defense Minister Salvador Cienfuegos suggested on Tuesday that some were getting support from dubious groups.

http://za.news.yahoo.com/tense-mexico-state-vigilantes-refuse-drop-guns-194140641.html

NMLRA Speaks Out at UN

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013

Via: TheGunMag.com

by James C. Fulmer | Past President, NMLRA

Becky Waterman, NMLRA president, speaking at the UN.

Becky Waterman, NMLRA president,
speaking at the UN.

The National Muzzle Loading Rifle Association is celebrating its 80th anniversary this year. Founded in 1933 during the Great Depression, the NMLRA has grown and changed with the times, moving into the 21st century while holding on to the past. The NMLRA continues to promote this country’s firearm heritage through shooting, hunting and competition with muzzleloading rifles, pistols and shotguns. Last year during the September NMLRA Board of Directors’ meeting the directors voted in the first woman president of the NMLRA, Becky Waterman. She was born into an NMLRA family and grew up living and breathing muzzleloading firearms and American heritage.

During the 2013 SHOT Show in Las Vegas, as newly elected president of NMLRA, Becky met with Tom Mason, secretariat of the World Forum on Shooting Activities in America (WFSA).

The NMLRA is an associate member of the WFSA and has worked with them in the past. Here the NMLRA again offered to give any assistance to the WFSA.

The WFSA is an association of hunting, shooting and industry organizations.

For over 15 years the WFSA and its member associations have attended every major UN conference affecting hunting or sport shooting. The WFSA is an official United Nations Non-governmental Organization (NGO) recognized by the Economic and Social Council of the UN General Assembly. It is one of the few NGOs in the world to be invited to speak before one of the five committees of the UN General Assembly.

When the WFSA asked the NMLRA to speak at the UN Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty on March 21, the NMLRA didn’t hesitate to represent and defend the muzzleloading shooting sport at the world level.

NMLRA President Rebecca Waterman and NMLRA Managing Director Morgan Mundell made the trip to the UN in New York City. Here late Thursday afternoon with many other members of WFSA the president of the NMLRA presented the following remarks before the UN: “Mr. President, I am Rebecca Waterman, President of the National Muzzle Loading Rifle Association, an association member of World Forum on Shooting Activities. Our primary membership is in the United States, but I believe I speak for the many, many users of antique and muzzle loading arms in other jurisdictions.

“Mr. President, I will be extremely brief. I wish to address the question of the inclusion of antique firearms and their replicas, which most muzzleloaders are, within the scope of the ATT.

“Mr. President, there is no need or justification for the inclusion of antique firearms within the category of small arms. There is substantial international commerce in antique firearms and their replicas, but by no stretch of the imagination are they some kind of threat that should be included within the ATT.

“Mr. President, examining the record, we have not found one mention of antique firearms and their replicas being perceived as a threat.

“Mr. President, subjecting the international commerce in antique firearms and their replicas to an ATT will be an unjustified and unnecessary burden on that commerce.

“Indeed, Mr. President, this very issue was addressed during the drafting of the UN Firearms Protocol.

Article 3 (a) excludes antique firearms from the Protocol. It says, and I quote, ‘Antique firearms and their replicas shall be defined in accordance with domestic law. In no case, however, shall antique firearms include firearms manufactured after 1899.’ “Mr. President, we have submitted a version of this Firearms Protocol language to effectuate the exclusion of antique firearms and their replicas from the ATT.

“We sincerely hope that you and this body will follow the precedent of the Firearms Protocol.” The UN Arms Trade Treaty was followed by the media. The Shooting Wire, The Outdoor Wire, the National Shooting Sports Foundation and many, many others including this publication. They all gave excellent coverage to the treaty in many press releases. The sad part about all this is why would the National Muzzle Loading Rifle Association even have to attend? Why has common sense become so un-common? In the treaty itself it reads, “This Treaty shall apply to all conventional arms within the following categories: Battle Tanks; Armored combat vehicles; Large-caliber artillery systems; Combat aircraft; Attack helicopters; Warships; Missiles and missile launchers; and small arms and light weapons.”

Why would it be so hard to separate out antique or replica muzzleloading firearms from other modern military small arms and light weapons?

The Treaty will be talked about and discussed by everybody over the next few weeks. The National Shooting Sports Foundation’s Senior Vice-President and General Counsel Lawrence Keane stated, “We hope that the Members of the US Senate are closely watching the White House abandon its principles and promises in the rush to ramrod the 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 US Senate when it returns from recess. They would be right to question those promises strongly.”

What this all means to the reader is be informed! Read, watch, listen, get your facts and act. I am sure in the next few weeks you will be asked to contact your state senator. Do it! This is not about letting the other person do it; you are the other person. If you are reading this and don’t vote, change that: get registered—your vote counts. Talk to everybody you know, and if they are not registered to vote, get them registered. It is time for common sense. It is time for action.

 

Call to action in the EU

Tuesday, May 21st, 2013

Italian IAPCAR member group FISAT, has sent an important call to action.

Attempts are underway by the European Union to further restrict the right of civilians to have certain firearms.

It is vitally important to the firearms rights community stand together internationally.

There are three important things we can each do: 

1.       Read the alert from FISAT below and follow the instructions to participate in the EU survey.

2.       Post this alert on your website and send it to all of your members and supporters.

3.       Ask all your supporters to send this call to action to all of their friends.

I personally want to thank all of you for your unwavering support of civilian arms rights. It is a privilege to work with you.

- Philip Watson, IAPCAR Executive Director

 

[Important Message Below Via FISAT President Simone Ciucchi]

Dear friends and gun rights activists,

Joining the call of British Shooting Sports Council we ask to IAPCAR and all gun rights association in its organization, to participate to the online survey organized by European Union Commissioner, Cecilia Malmstrom.

The menace to semiautomatic firearms in private hands is IMMINENT, as the online survey maliciously suggests a possible link between private possession of firearms and their use for criminal or terrorist purposes, being nothing else than another attempt to disarm honest citizens for the sake of added “firearms security”.

The questions are utterly misleading.

Question C.2 suggests that the list of prohibited firearms should be extended (it is understood that the Commission is referring to semiautomatic rifles and possibly also to semiautomatic shotguns and handguns).

Question C.4 pursues the mandatory use of locking devices in firearms (imagine the impact if this was made retrospective).

Question C.7 would provide a justification to introduce compulsory mental health tests and suppress the current derogation that allows people under the age of 18 to hunt and sport-shoot if they have parental permission or guidance.

We can expect for sure that the various anti-gun EU associations will take action to orchestrate a deliberate number of answers resulting in a public call for tighter gun control.
Deadline for participation is June 17th 2013.         

This can’t happen and we ask you to take part to the online survey in the following steps:

Please follow the following steps:

  1. Go to:  http://ec.europa.eu/yourvoice/ipm/forms/dispatch?form=ReduceFirearmsRisk
  2. Choose your language in the icon that is in the upper right part of the screen.
  3. Indicate your country, whether you are an individual or an organization and your name or the name of your organization.
  4. Answer the questions by clicking on option “1” for each one of them. You do not need to answer the optional questions that request additional comments (questions B.4, C.11, D.5 and E.6).
  5. After having answered the questions, as a security measure to avoid computer-generated replies, you will have to type in the numbers and/or letters that will be displayed in your screen and validate them.
  6. Your answers will have been submitted by then. You can view them and/or save them as a PDF.

All of the European associations, especially Swedish ones, can contact the proposer of this survey in the person of European Commissioner Ms. Cecilia Malmstrom which can be contacted at these sites, possibly to explain her that firearms of private honest citizens are not to be confused with the ones of criminals and terrorists:

http://ec.europa.eu/commission_2010-2014/malmstrom/contact/contact-me_en.htm

https://twitter.com/malmstromeu

https://www.facebook.com/MalmstromEU

Swedish citizens in particular can also contact her party, Folkpartiet liberalerna (Liberal People’s Party), to let them know what you think, at the following site and email:

http://www.folkpartiet.se/    –  info@folkpartiet.se

While EU citiziens can contact Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (A.L.D.E.):

http://web.cor.europa.eu/alde/contact-us/Pages/default.aspx

Asking their respective national parties NOT to support Maelmstrom initiatives, you can find various parties members of ALDE at the following page:

http://www.alde.eu/alde-group/alde-across-europe-map-member-state/

We thank you for your help, immediate action is necessary for the protection of our common gun rights.

Best regards,

Simone Ciucchi – FISAT President

May 2013

Bologna, Italy

 

—Additional Message Below Via BSSC President David Penn—

 

Via:  The British Sports Shooting Council (BSSC)

EU Public Consultation on firearms

This EU Consultation Document on a common approach to reducing the harm caused by criminal use of firearms in the EU can be found on http://ec.europa.eu/yourvoice/ipm/forms/dispatch?form=ReduceFirearmsRisk

It is one part of a number of EU firearms-related initiatives, including the ratification by the EU of the UN Vienna Firearms Protocol, the much-publicised comments by EU Home Affairs Commissioner Cecilia Malmström suggesting a link between legal ownership of firearms and illicit trafficking, the preparation of a report by the Commission on possible further amendments to the EU Directive 91/477/EEC on control of the acquisition and possession of weapons and of course the EU’s active role in the UN’s recent adoption of a text for an Conventional Arms Trade Treaty.

The intention of this consultation is to obtain some appearance of legitimacy for further restrictions on the legal ownership, use and acquisition of firearms by civilians. We may anticipate that organisations opposed to recreational firearms use, hunting or gun collecting will orchestrate large numbers of replies. It is therefore essential that shooting organisations and their individual members complete and submit responses to provide an effective counter-argument and counter-weight. If the majority of responses are supportive of our interests, it would be difficult for the Commission to use public opinion as a reason for seeking further restrictions.

The deadline for replies is the 17th June 2013.

All the questions have at least some relevance to legal ownership. Most of the questions are biased and are written in a way that seeks to pre-determine the response and push the respondent into agreeing that some EU action is needed even though national legislation on all issues addressed in the questions already exists.

Question C.2 suggests that the list of prohibited firearms should be extended (it is understood that the Commission is referring to semiautomatic rifles and possibly also to semiautomatic shotguns and handguns).

Question C.4 pursues the mandatory use of locking devices in firearms. Imagine the impact if this was made retrospective.

Question C.7 would provide a justification to introduce compulsory mental health tests and suppress the current derogation that allows people under the age of 18 to hunt and sport-shoot if they have parental permission or guidance. This derogation was hard-won with Britain taking a leading role in negotiating it. If this were lost it would be a severe blow to the future of our sport.

Question C.8 aims at requiring that all firearms and ammunition be subject to authorisation, which would have negative implications not only in countries where there is a formal distinction between authorisation and declaration of firearms but also in countries where there are flexible arrangements for certain hunting firearms. In Britain, it could result in the introduction of tighter controls on shotguns and shotgun cartridges.

Question D.2 could result in a general requirement to store firearms in an approved safe. What would happen if the EU specification for a gun cabinet exceeded the British Standard currently the norm in Britain?

It is not necessary to answer the optional questions that request additional free-text comments (questions B.4, C.11, D.5 and E.6). It is necessary to click on Option 1 in response to all the multiple choice questions. While this may seem extreme in some instances, the questions are biased and are designed to elicit your agreement that action by the EU is necessary.

If you do decide to make further comments, you may wish to consider referring to the EU principle of ‘subsidiarity’, enshrined in Article 5 of the Treaty on European Union. This is the principle whereby the Union does not take action (except in the areas that fall within its exclusive competence), unless it is more effective than action taken at national, regional or local level. Civilian firearms control is most appropriately dealt with at national level, given the variety of shooting and hunting traditions among the member states.

Please follow the following steps:

1.Go to http://ec.europa.eu/yourvoice/ipm/forms/dispatch?form=ReduceFirearmsRisk

2.Choose your language in the icon that is in the upper right part of the screen.

3. Indicate your country, whether you are an individual or an organisation and your name or the name of your organisation.

4. Answer the questions by clicking on option “1” for each one of them. You do not need to answer the optional questions that request additional comments (questions B.4, C.11, D.5 and E.6).

5. After having answered the questions, as a security measure to avoid computer-generated replies, you will have to type in the numbers and/or letters that will be displayed in your screen and validate them.

6. Your answers will have been submitted by then. You can view them and/or save them as a PDF.

Thank you for taking the time to respond to this consultation.

David Penn
Secretary, British Shooting Sports Council
23/4/2013

The Real Truth About Gun Homicides

Monday, May 20th, 2013

The UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) global map of homicide rate shows lower rates in countries with higher gun ownership.

 

Source UNODC

Source UNODC

Brazil: Disarmament Failed

Monday, May 20th, 2013
Veículo: A Tribuna / Veiculação: On-linewww.mvb.org.br/noticias/index.php?&action=showClip&clip12_cod=1647

Bene Barbosa, of Movimento Viva Brasil, criticizes the Disarmament Statute and blames impunity for the high levels of violence in Brazil

“Disarmament is a false promise“, says the Barbosa, a specialist in public security and President of Movimento Viva Brasil.

In an interview to the journal A Tribuna, he talked about the raise in the number of homicides, impunity and the total failure of civil disarmament.

He pointed out that the 2013 Brazilian Violence Map demonstrates that in a 30 year period, the deaths involving firearms went up by 346%.

Most of the firearms used in crime are not registered with the government, which alone raises questions about the effectiveness of the Brazilian Disarmament Statute, which will have its 10th anniversary this year.

A TRIBUNA – How do you evaluate the 2013 Brazilian Violence Map, recently made available?

BENE BARBOSA – The Map shows a significant increase in the number of homicides, largely influenced by impunity and drugs. This demonstrates that the national public security policy, based soley on civil disarmament measures, has failed in combating the issue of violence.

A TRIBUNA – What effect does the Disarmament Statute have in relation to public security and violence?

BENE BARBOSA – Absolutely nothing. The Disarmament Statue is totally ineffective when it comes to reducing the violence levels. In fact, we have recently been in Brasilia to propose a new piece of legislation which guarantees the Brazilian Citizen’s right to defend himself. If the criminals are able to use guns, why not the honest citizens? It is not fair to preclude the working man or woman to keep and bear arms to defend himself and his family, when the police is not able to provide security 24 hours a day.

A TRIBUNA – Why did the murder rate go up after the Disarmament Statue was enforced, instead of going down?

BENE BARBOSA – Because the Disarmament Statute guarantees more safety to criminal activities. If a bandit invades a house, the chance he will face armed resistance is much smaller, creating an incentive for all types of criminal activities. The Disarmament Statute only targets the legal firearms, bought by honest, law abiding citizens. Our current gun law has disarmed the working man and woman, but has not affected the criminals, whom carry on buying their guns on the streets, without any restrictions.
A TRIBUNA – What is the main cause for the increase in homicides?

BENE BARBOSA – Certainly, impunity. Of every 100 murders, only 8 are punished. This is the greatest incentive for criminals, who know that in Brazil, they can kill and get away with it.

A TRIBUNA – What is needed to reduce the murder rate in Brazil?

BENE BARBOSA – First of all, we need a large investment in the investigative departments of our police forces. There are numerous measures needed to reduce the Brazilian impunity issue, ensuring that crimes are adequately investigated and punished. For instance, Brazil currently has 350 thousand prison warrants that have not been enforced.

A TRIBUNA – How about ostensive policing? Does Brazil currently have adequate policing on the streets?

BENE BARBOSA – It is not sufficient. We currently have a too smaller Military Police personal. This gives the people a sense of insecurity, and the criminals a sense of the opposite. The State Governments have to invest a lot more, and it is the Federal Government’s duty to provide more funds.

A TRIBUNA – Do you agree with the proposition that fewer firearms in the hand of civilian will represent fewer homicides in the country?

BENE BARBOSA – I don’t agree in the slightest. The basis for that is that 10 years of disarmament policies have only contributed to a large increase in the levels of gun crime.

A TRIBUNA – In what measure do disarmament policies contribute to public security?

BENE BARBOSA – They don’t. There is not one single case of a country that has put forward this kind of restrictive legislation that has experienced any positive results.

A TRIBUNA – So disarmament is a false solution for public security issues?

BENE BARBOSA – Civil disarmament is a false promise. Those who pushed it forward know this, and used the measure to provide a false response to the peoples claim for a safes society.

A TRIBUNA – Are you familiar with the public security status of the Sate of Espirito Santo?

BENE BARBOSA – I know it is one of the most violent States in Brazil. It has recently been superseded by the State of Alagoas, but must still hold the 2nd or 3rd position in the national ranking. The State of Alagoas in currently the most violent and is also the champion in all the civil disarmament campaigns. The population of Alagoas largely adhered in the civil disarmament campaigns and has since experienced a significant increase in their violence levels, making the state into the most insecure of the country. Just one more piece of evidence that civil disarmament doesn’t work.

A TRIBUNA – Why does a small State like Espirito Santo have such high violence levels?

BENE BARBOSA – Because of the same factors that exist in the rest of the country. Impunity, drug use, organized crime, among others, all contribute to a more violent society.

 

Brazilian Group Movimento Viva Brasil Joins IAPCAR Coalition

Friday, May 10th, 2013

The International Association for the Protection of Civilian Arms Rights (IAPCAR) announced today that Brazilian gun rights group Movimento Viva Brasil has joined the international coalition of 25 groups in 16 different countries dedicated to the preservation and defense of civilian firearms rights.logo_mvb_200_200

“Our international alliance of like-minded civilian arms rights groups has a strong representation in Brazil now,” IAPCAR’s Executive Director Philip Watson said. “Movimento Viva Brasil brings another voice to the movement for civilian arms rights.”

Movimento Viva Brasil was involved in the coalition that defeated the nation-wide gun control referendum in 2005 with 64% of the voters casting their ballot against the measure.

Bene Barbosa, president of Movimento Viva Brasil, stated that their organization wants to help “visualize the true and utter failure of the gun-control measures enforced in Brazil, as well as contribute to the strengthening of a worldwide effort to protect civilian gun-rights.”

IAPCAR co-founder Julianne Versnel praised IAPCAR’s newest group for their accomplishments and hard work. “Their record speaks for itself. They’ve been effective and unwavering in defending the rights of Brazilians to defend themselves.”

As a representative to the United Nations, Versnel, who is also the Second Amendment Foundation’s Director of Operations, submitted testimony to the UN Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) meeting in March objecting to the exclusion of civilian arms rights from the ATT. “Nothing that is in an Arms Trade Treaty should affect a woman’s right to defend herself,” Versnel told the delegates.

The IAPCAR gun rights coalition is focused on opposition to the ATT, which has passed the UN General Assembly and will be available for countries to sign on June 3. The ATT does not acknowledge or protect civilian arms rights or recognize the right to self-defense in its enforceable language.v 

Movimento Viva Brazil may be accessed on the Internet via: (www.mvb.org.br/)

The International Association for the Protection of Civilian Arms Rights (www.iapcar.com) is the only worldwide political action group focusing on the human right to keep and bear arms. Founded in 2010, IAPCAR has grown to 25 major gun-rights organizations and conducts campaigns designed to inform the public and promote the right of self-defense and gun-ownership.

Synopsis of Movimento Viva Brasil Referendum Victory

Thursday, May 9th, 2013

Via:  www.mvb.org.br

When Movimento Viva Brasil was founded, in August 2004, it represented not only the wishes but also the hopes of a group of idealists who had always fought for their civil rights, especially the right to bear arms.

Lead by Bene Barbosa, a mid-school teacher, dedicated defender of people’s civil rights and individual freedoms for more than 10 years, Movimento Viva Brasil started a serious discussion about the lack of effective national security policies, which was being masked by some people with a Disarmament Campaign of the law abiding citizens.

Movimento Viva Brasil was founded with the objective of showing and informing the Brazilian population about what in fact was behind the Disarmament Campaign, brought forward by the Disarmament Statute, and to put an end to the fallacies suggested by the anti-gun supporters, in defense of the Referendum and the Prohibition Campaign.

The Congress

The battle that took place in the National Congress was long and hard. Always present in Brasilia, Movimento Viva Brasil followed all the steps to the MP’s voting that approved the referendum. It also worked together with the few politicians that questioned the Disarmament Statute and the absurd idea of taking gun-rights from the people.

On several occasions, the national and regional coordination of Movimento Viva Brasil tried to arrange a meeting with Senator Renan Calheiros, President of the Brazilian Senate, to discuss the Disarmament Statute, the campaign and the Referendum, but was never received by the Senator.

At the House of Representatives however, Movimento Viva Brasil was received by the then President of the House, Severino Cavalcanti, together with many other entities and associations for human rights, families of victims of violence, people of the countryside, sporting shooters (of which Brazil once won a gold medal in the Olympic Games), and several others, determined not to lose their right to purchase firearms and ammunition.

It was one of the most remarkable moments in our fight. The banner “Disarming the citizen is not the solution” was printed on T-shirts of all those who were present at the Cabinet of the House of Representatives President.

The press

It had always been part of Movimento Viva Brasiil’s policies to inform the population about the facts of the Referendum, but it had a lot of difficulty in getting the necessary ink and airtime, due to the posture of the mainstream media, practically made up by people willing to defend the more “politically correct” position. Unfortunately a large part of the Brazilian press was not interested in listening to what Movimento Viva Brasil had to say, despite all the information and statistics that were offered for journalists to analyze.

However, thanks to an excellent communication strategy, Movimento Viva Brasil conquered space in the regional communication channels and in the Internet, from where broadcasted information reached the population and opinion-makers.

Movimento Viva Brasil gradually gained visibility as a sound source of information and had a positive participation in a series of interviews and debates on television and radio.

Parallel to that, various other idealists from different regions of the country gathered together and joined the fight. Movimento Viva Brasil managed to gather some voluntary regional coordinators in different States, being then able to create a solid information web. The president of Movimento Viva Brasil himself, traveled around the country, participating in interviews and debates, public audiences, visiting trade unions and institutions.

The Parliamentary front

A lot of effort had to be directed towards the Members of Parliament during the Referendum’s approval process, unfortunately not enough to avoid the Referendum itself. A great mass of government’s allies in the Congress, together with NGO’s financed by foreign money, put all their effort into the approval of the Referendum. And it was the Brazilian population, eager for realistic and effective measures towards public security, that had to pay approximately R$ 600 million to go to the polls.

In March 2005, even before the Referendum was approved by the Congress, Movimento Viva Brasil and Alberto Fraga MP created the Non-partisan Committee for Self Defense Rights (Comitê Suprapartidário Pela Legítima Defesa), which later became the Parliamentary Front for Self Defense Rights (Frente Parlamentar pelo Direito à Legítima Defesa), supporting the “NO” Vote campaign, against prohibition.

Opinion polls started to show the voting intentions of the population. Some sectors of the media however, with the clear intention of confusing the electorate about their vote, misled the population into believing that the election was about Disarmament, and that if Prohibition was passed, the crime levels would have a considerable drop. For some time, these lies succeeded, and voting intention polls indicated that 80% of the electorate tended to vote “YES” (in favor of the prohibition).

The turning point

We would have to be very efficient in informing the electorate about the realistic information about what was really behind the Referendum, so that they knew exactly what they were voting for, or against. Our PR, Chico Santa Rita, was in charge of all campaign publicity matters and was determined that the arguments should focus on civil rights and individual freedom. From then on, the lies, fallacies, fake numbers, and manipulated statistics used by the anti-gun campaigners started to be exposed. Quickly, most citizens had realized what the Referendum was all about, and were determined not to give up their rights, particularly when their right to make choices was at stake.

It was then that we had what could be called the “turning point”. Opinion polls started to show that voting intentions were now on an equal basis, and the media could no longer continue to manipulate the facts. By then, Movimento Viva Brasil had become a sound source of information for journalists covering the event. The “NO” Vote was starting to gain strength, especially after the free TV and radio campaigns were under way.

After only twenty days of free national TV and radio campaign and two days before the voting, opinion polls indicated that 49% of the electorate already intended to vote “NO” towards prohibition, against 45% tended towards the “YES” Vote.

The victory

During the days that preceded the election, there were no end of demonstrations and protests, clearly showing what a great part of the Brazilian population intended to vote for on the 23rd of October.

Brazilians were prepared to say one big “NO” to the prohibition of the legal sales of firearms and ammunition – 64% of the population did so.

 

‘India abstained from ATT, will ensure no harm on national interest’

Wednesday, May 8th, 2013

Original Story Via:   Zeenews.India.com

New Delhi: India abstained from the Arms Trade Treaty adopted by the United Nations and the government will take all measures to ensure that it does not impact national interest, the Lok Sabha was informed on Monday.

In a written reply to the House, Defence Minister A K Antony also said India’s position in this regard has been placed on record at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).

“India abstained from the draft Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), which was adopted at UNGA session on April 2, as it does not meet out requirements,” he said. The ATT aims at regulating the international trade in conventional arms, from small arms to battle tanks, combat aircraft and warships.

Antony said the government will take all necessary measures to ensure that the Treaty does not adversely impact the national interest.

In reply to a question on import of defence items, he said procurement is made from various indigenous as well as foreign sources, including the United States, in accordance with the Defence Procurement Procedure.

“Defence equipment has been imported from various countries, including Russia, USA, Israel, France, United Kingdom, Germany, Poland. The imports cover various types of weapon systems and platforms,” he said.

Some of the recently concluded defence deals with foreign vendors are for Konkurs Missiles, UBK Invar Missiles, Basic Trainer Aircraft, MI-17 V5 helicopters, Sonobuoys, Torpedoes and Surveillance Radar Systems, Antony said.

On steps taken to prevent spying activities of China, Antony said, “BSF has been continuously monitoring and gathering intelligence inputs relating to all Chinese activities along Indo-Pak border and sharing the same with other Indian intelligence agencies concerned for appropriate preventive measures.”

Replying a question whether neighbouring countries, including China, have constructed roads in Indian territory, he said, “No construction of roads by neighbouring countries has taken place in territory under possession of India.”

Answering a query on cyber security, he said, “While threats of cyber attacks have increased, adequate safeguards to protect systems through air gapped computers and intranets have been undertaken.”

He also said the Defence Services have established Cyber Emergency Response Teams (CERTs) to prevent and react to cyber attacks.

PTI

http://zeenews.india.com/news/nation/india-abstained-from-att-will-ensure-no-harm-on-national-interest_846867.html

 

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

Friday, April 26th, 2013

Original story by  (philstar.com)

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 (www.saf.org) 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:  TheGunMag.com

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 (http://iapcar.org/) 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.

Proposed arms treaty shows UN is its own worst enemy

Wednesday, March 27th, 2013

Original Article Via:  Dave Workman, Seattle Gun Rights Examiner

The final draft of the proposed United Nations Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) is out, and it contains language that may be incendiary to gun rights activists in the United States, with references to maintaining “national control systems” for small arms and ammunition.

From the proposed treaty on Page 4: “Each State Party shall establish and maintain a national control system to regulate the export of ammunition/munitions fired, launched or delivered by the conventional arms covered under Article 2 (1), and shall apply the provisions of Article 6 and Article 7 prior to authorizing the export of such ammunition/munitions.”

Bellevue’s Alan Gottlieb, executive vice president of the Second Amendment Foundation, has been vocally critical of the ATT process and is concerned about “vagueness” in the current language. SAF’s Julianne Versnel was at the UN last week to testify about unintended consequences of international gun control measures.

From the proposed treaty on Page 5: “Each State Party shall establish and maintain a national control system, including a national control list, in order to implement the provisions of this Treaty.” Versnel suggested this may be one of the “core problems” of the proposed treaty, but it might take a determination from someone skilled in diplomatic speech to figure it out.

On Page 9 of the document, there is an entire section on record keeping that just might be enough to cause many people on Capitol Hill to follow the lead shown by Republican Senators Rand Paul, Mike Lee and Ted Cruz, discussed by this column that might prevent the U.S. from signing on.

Record keeping:

1. Each State Party shall maintain national records, pursuant to its national laws and regulations, of its issuance of export authorizations or its actual exports of the conventional arms covered under Article 2 (1).

2. Each State Party is encouraged to maintain records of conventional arms covered under Article 2 (1) that are transferred to its territory as the final destination or that are authorized to transit or trans-ship territory under its jurisdiction.

3. Each State Party is encouraged to include in those records: the quantity, value, model/type, authorized international transfers of conventional arms covered under Article
2 (1), conventional arms actually transferred, details of exporting State(s), importing State(s), transit and trans-shipment State(s), and end users, as appropriate.

4. Records shall be kept for a minimum of ten years.

But does all of this treaty language really mean what a lot of people will think it means: The UN dictating some sort of national gun registry, at least on imported firearms? Because of the way this document is written, even if some UN spokesperson says “No,” there will be a legion of gun rights advocates who say “Yes,” and they will have compelling, if not convincing arguments.

The draft documents do include some caveats in the Preamble, including:

Reaffirming the sovereign right of any State to regulate and control conventional arms
exclusively within its territory, pursuant to its own legal or constitutional system,

Emphasizing that nothing in this Treaty prevents States from maintaining and adopting additional effective measures to further the object and purpose of this Treaty,

Mindful of the legitimate trade and lawful ownership, and use of certain conventional
arms for recreational, cultural, historical, and sporting activities, where such trade, ownership and use are permitted or protected by law…

But the Preamble is just that. It’s apparently not part of any binding language.

The authors of this document will be largely to blame for any misunderstanding, and they have opened themselves up to criticism that the language seems deliberately foggy and far too steeped in diplomatic semantics. That translates to being something less than “plain English.” Since the Obama administration has indicated a willingness to sign onto such a treaty, the Senate just might reject it out of hand, but before that happens, somebody will have to translate it for them.

UN Arms Trade Treaty Final Draft

Wednesday, March 27th, 2013

Document Via:

UN.org/Disarmament

http://www.un.org/disarmament/ATT/docs/ATT_text_%28As_adopted_by_the_GA%29-E.pdf

PRESIDENT’S NON PAPER, 27 MARCH 2013

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United Nations Final Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty

New York, 18-28 March 2013

Draft decision

Submitted by the President of the Final Conference

The Final United Nations Conference of the Arms Trade Treaty,

Adopts the Arms Trade Treaty, the text of which is annexed to the present decision.

Annex

The Arms Trade Treaty

Preamble

The States Parties to this Treaty,

Guided by the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations,

Recalling Article 26 of the Charter of the United Nations which seeks to promote the

establishment and maintenance of international peace and security with the least diversion for

armaments of the world’s human and economic resources,

Underlining the need to prevent and eradicate the illicit trade in conventional arms

and to prevent their diversion to the illicit market, or for unauthorized end use and end users,

including in the commission of terrorist acts,

Recognizing the legitimate political, security, economic and commercial interests of

States in the international trade in conventional arms,

Reaffirming the sovereign right of any State to regulate and control conventional arms

exclusively within its territory, pursuant to its own legal or constitutional system,

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Acknowledging that peace and security, development and human rights, are pillars of

the United Nations system and foundations for collective security and recognizing that

development, peace and security and human rights are interlinked and mutually reinforcing,

Recalling the United Nations Disarmament Commission Guidelines for international

arms transfers in the context of General Assembly resolution 46/36H of 6 December 1991,

Noting the contribution made by the United Nations Programme of Action to Prevent,

Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects,

as well as the Protocol against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Their

Parts and Components and Ammunition, supplementing the United Nations Convention

against Transnational Organized Crime, and the International Instrument to Enable States to

Identify and Trace, in a Timely and Reliable Manner, Illicit Small Arms and Light Weapons,

Recognizing the security, social, economic and humanitarian consequences of the

illicit and unregulated trade in conventional arms,

Bearing in mind that civilians, particularly women and children, account for the vast

majority of those adversely affected by armed conflict and armed violence,

Recognizing also the challenges faced by victims of armed conflict and their need for

adequate care, rehabilitation and social and economic inclusion,

Emphasizing that nothing in this Treaty prevents States from maintaining and

adopting additional effective measures to further the object and purpose of this Treaty,

Mindful of the legitimate trade and lawful ownership, and use of certain conventional

arms for recreational, cultural, historical, and sporting activities, where such trade, ownership

and use are permitted or protected by law,

Mindful also of the role regional organizations can play in assisting States Parties,

upon request, in implementing this Treaty,

Recognizing the voluntary and active role that civil society, including nongovernmental

organizations, and industry, can play in raising awareness of the object and

purpose of this Treaty, and in supporting its implementation,

Acknowledging that regulation of the international trade in conventional arms and

preventing their diversion, should not hamper international cooperation and legitimate trade

in materiel, equipment and technology for peaceful purposes,

Emphasizing the desirability of achieving universal adherence to this Treaty,

Determined to act in accordance with the following principles;

Principles

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- The inherent right of all States to individual or collective self-defense as recognized

in Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations;

- The settlement of international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that

international peace and security and justice, are not endangered in accordance with Article 2

(3) of the Charter of the United Nations;

- Refraining in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the

territorial integrity or political independence of any State, or in any other manner inconsistent

with the purposes of the United Nations in accordance with Article 2 (4) of the Charter of the

United Nations;

- Non-intervention in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of

any State in accordance with Article 2 (7) of the Charter of the United Nations;

- Respecting and ensuring respect for international humanitarian law in accordance

with, inter alia, the Geneva Conventions of 1949, and respecting and ensuring respect for

human rights, in accordance with, inter alia, the Charter of the United Nations and the

Universal Declaration of Human Rights;

- The responsibility of all States, in accordance with their respective international

obligations, to effectively regulate the international trade in conventional arms, and to

prevent their diversion, as well as the primary responsibility of all States in establishing and

implementing their respective national control systems;

- The respect for the legitimate interests of States to acquire conventional arms to

exercise their right to self-defense and for peacekeeping operations; and to produce, export,

import and transfer conventional arms;

- Implementing this Treaty in a consistent, objective and non-discriminatory manner,

Have agreed as follows:

Article 1

Object and Purpose

The object of this Treaty is to:

- Establish the highest possible common international standards for regulating or

improving the regulation of the international trade in conventional arms;

- Prevent and eradicate the illicit trade in conventional arms and prevent their

diversion;

for the purpose of:

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- Contributing to international and regional peace, security and stability;

- Reducing human suffering;

- Promoting cooperation, transparency and responsible action by States Parties in

the international trade in conventional arms, thereby building confidence among

States Parties.

Article 2

Scope

1. This Treaty shall apply to all conventional arms within the following categories:

(a) Battle tanks;

(b) Armoured combat vehicles;

(c) Large-calibre artillery systems;

(d) Combat aircraft;

(e) Attack helicopters;

(f) Warships;

(g) Missiles and missile launchers; and

(h) Small arms and light weapons.

2. For the purposes of this Treaty, the activities of the international trade comprise export,

import, transit, trans-shipment and brokering, hereafter referred to as “transfer”.

3. This Treaty shall not apply to the international movement of conventional arms by, or on

behalf of, a State Party for its use provided that the conventional arms remain under that

State Party’s ownership.

Article 3

Ammunition/Munitions

Each State Party shall establish and maintain a national control system to regulate the export

of ammunition/munitions fired, launched or delivered by the conventional arms covered

under Article 2 (1), and shall apply the provisions of Article 6 and Article 7 prior to

authorizing the export of such ammunition/munitions.

Article 4

Parts and Components

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Each State Party shall establish and maintain a national control system to regulate the export

of parts and components where the export is in a form that provides the capability to

assemble the conventional arms covered under Article 2 (1). Each State Party shall apply the

provisions of Article 6 and Article 7 prior to authorizing the export of such parts and

components.

Article 5

General Implementation

1. Each State Party shall implement this Treaty in a consistent, objective and nondiscriminatory

manner, bearing in mind the principles referred to in this Treaty.

2. Each State Party shall establish and maintain a national control system, including a

national control list, in order to implement the provisions of this Treaty.

3. Each State Party is encouraged to apply the provisions of this Treaty to the broadest range

of conventional arms. National definitions of any of the categories covered in Article 2

(1) (a-g) shall not cover less than the descriptions used in the United Nations Register of

Conventional Arms at the time of entry into force of this Treaty. For the category covered

in Article 2 (1) (h), national definitions shall not cover less than the descriptions used in

relevant United Nations instruments at the time of entry into force of this Treaty.

4. Each State Party, pursuant to its national laws, shall provide its national control list to the

Secretariat, which shall make it available to other States Parties. States Parties are

encouraged to make their control lists publicly available.

5. Each State Party shall take measures necessary to implement the provisions of this Treaty

and shall designate competent national authorities in order to have an effective and

transparent national control system regulating the transfer of conventional arms covered

under Article 2 (1) and of items covered in Article 3 and Article 4.

6. Each State Party shall designate one or more national points of contact to exchange

information on matters related to the implementation of this Treaty. A State Party shall

notify the Secretariat, established under Article 18, of its national point(s) of contact and

keep the information updated.

Article 6

Prohibitions

1. A State Party shall not authorize any transfer of conventional arms covered under Article

2 (1) or of items covered under Article 3 or Article 4, if the transfer would violate its

obligations under measures adopted by the United Nations Security Council acting under

Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations, in particular arms embargoes.

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2. A State Party shall not authorize any transfer of conventional arms covered under Article

2 (1) or of items covered under Article 3 or Article 4, if the transfer would violate its

relevant international obligations under international agreements to which it is a Party, in

particular those relating to the transfer of, or illicit trafficking in, conventional arms.

3. A State Party shall not authorize any transfer of conventional arms covered under Article

2 (1) or of items covered under Article 3 or Article 4, if it has knowledge at the time of

authorization that the arms or items would be used in the commission of genocide, crimes

against humanity, grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions of 1949, attacks directed

against civilian objects or civilians protected as such, or other war crimes as defined by

international agreements to which it is a Party.

Article 7

Export and Export Assessment

1. If the export is not prohibited under Article 6, each exporting State Party, prior to

authorization of the export of conventional arms covered under Article 2 (1) or of items

covered under Article 3 or Article 4, under its jurisdiction and pursuant to its national

control system, shall, in an objective and non-discriminatory manner, taking into account

relevant factors, including information provided by the importing State in accordance

with Article 8 (1), assess the potential that the conventional arms or items:

a) would contribute to or undermine peace and security;

b) could be used to:

i. commit or facilitate a serious violation of international humanitarian law;

ii. commit or facilitate a serious violation of international human rights law;

iii. commit or facilitate an act constituting an offence under international conventions

or protocols relating to terrorism to which the exporting State is a Party; or

iv. commit or facilitate an act constituting an offence under international conventions

or protocols relating to transnational organized crime to which the exporting State

is a Party.

2. The exporting State Party shall also consider whether there are measures that could be

undertaken to mitigate risks identified in (a) or (b) in paragraph 1, such as confidencebuilding

measures or jointly developed and agreed programmes by the exporting and

importing States.

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3. If, after conducting this assessment and considering available mitigating measures, the

exporting State Party determines that there is an overriding risk of any of the negative

consequences in paragraph 1, the exporting State Party shall not authorize the export.

4. The exporting State Party, in making this assessment, shall take into account the risk of

the conventional arms covered under Article 2 (1) or of the items covered under Article 3

or Article 4, being used to commit or facilitate serious acts of gender based violence or

serious acts of violence against women and children.

5. Each exporting State Party shall take measures to ensure that all authorizations for the

export of conventional arms covered under Article 2 (1) or of items covered under Article

3 or Article 4, are detailed and issued prior to the export.

6. Each exporting State Party shall make available appropriate information about the

authorization in question, upon request, to the importing State Party and to the transit or

trans-shipment States Parties, subject to its national laws, practices or policies.

7. If, after an authorization has been granted, an exporting State Party becomes aware of

new relevant information, it is encouraged to reassess the authorization after

consultations, if appropriate, with the importing State.

Article 8

Import

1. Each importing State Party shall take measures to ensure that appropriate and relevant

information is provided, upon request, pursuant to its national laws, to the exporting State

Party, to assist the exporting State Party in conducting its national export assessment

under Article 7. Such measures may include end use or end user documentation.

2. Each importing State Party shall take measures that will allow it to regulate, where

necessary, imports under its jurisdiction of conventional arms covered under Article 2

(1). Such measures may include import systems.

3. Each importing State Party may request information from the exporting State Party

concerning any pending or actual export authorizations where the importing State Party is

the country of final destination.

Article 9

Transit or trans-shipment

Each State Party shall take appropriate measures to regulate, where necessary and feasible,

the transit or trans-shipment under its jurisdiction of conventional arms covered under Article

2 (1) through its territory in accordance with relevant international law.

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Article 10

Brokering

Each State Party shall take measures, pursuant to its national laws, to regulate brokering

taking place under its jurisdiction for conventional arms covered under Article 2 (1). Such

measures may include requiring brokers to register or obtain written authorization before

engaging in brokering.

Article 11

Diversion

1. Each State Party involved in the transfer of conventional arms covered under Article 2 (1)

shall take measures to prevent their diversion.

2. The exporting State Party shall seek to prevent the diversion of the transfer of

conventional arms covered under Article 2 (1) through its national control system,

established in accordance with Article 5 (2), by assessing the risk of diversion of the

export and considering the establishment of mitigation measures such as confidencebuilding

measures or jointly developed and agreed programmes by the exporting and

importing States. Other prevention measures may include, where appropriate: examining

parties involved in the export, requiring additional documentation, certificates,

assurances, not authorizing the export or other appropriate measures.

3. Importing, transit, trans-shipment and exporting States Parties shall cooperate and

exchange information, pursuant to their national laws, where appropriate and feasible, in

order to mitigate the risk of diversion of the transfer of conventional arms covered under

Article 2 (1).

4. If a State Party detects a diversion of transferred conventional arms covered under Article

2 (1), the State Party shall take appropriate measures, pursuant to its national laws and in

accordance with international law, to address such diversion. Such measures may include,

alerting potentially affected State Parties, examining diverted shipments of such

conventional arms covered under Article 2 (1), and taking follow-up measures through

investigation and law enforcement.

5. In order to better comprehend and prevent the diversion of transferred conventional arms

covered under Article 2 (1), State Parties are encouraged to share relevant information

with one another on effective measures to address diversion. Such information may

include information on illicit activities including corruption, international trafficking

routes, illicit brokers, sources of illicit supply, methods of concealment, common points

of dispatch, or destinations used by organized groups engaged in diversion.

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6. States Parties are encouraged to report to other State Parties, through the Secretariat, on

measures taken in addressing the diversion of transferred conventional arms covered

under Article 2 (1).

Article 12

Record keeping

1. Each State Party shall maintain national records, pursuant to its national laws and

regulations, of its issuance of export authorizations or its actual exports of the

conventional arms covered under Article 2 (1).

2. Each State Party is encouraged to maintain records of conventional arms covered under

Article 2 (1) that are transferred to its territory as the final destination or that are

authorized to transit or trans-ship territory under its jurisdiction.

3. Each State Party is encouraged to include in those records: the quantity, value,

model/type, authorized international transfers of conventional arms covered under Article

2 (1), conventional arms actually transferred, details of exporting State(s), importing

State(s), transit and trans-shipment State(s), and end users, as appropriate.

4. Records shall be kept for a minimum of ten years.

Article 13

Reporting

1. Each State Party shall, within the first year after entry into force of this Treaty for that

State Party, in accordance with Article 22, provide an initial report to the Secretariat of

measures undertaken in order to implement this Treaty, including national laws, national

control lists and other regulations and administrative measures. Each State Party shall

report to the Secretariat on any new measures undertaken in order to implement this

Treaty, when appropriate. Reports shall be made available, and distributed to States

Parties by the Secretariat.

2. States Parties are encouraged to report to other States Parties, through the Secretariat,

information on measures taken that have been proven effective in addressing the

diversion of transferred conventional arms covered under Article 2 (1).

3. Each State Party shall submit annually to the Secretariat by 31 May a report for the

preceding calendar year concerning authorized or actual exports and imports of

conventional arms covered under Article 2 (1). Reports shall be made available, and

distributed to States Parties by the Secretariat. The report submitted to the Secretariat

may contain the same information submitted by the State Party to relevant United Nations

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frameworks, including the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms. Reports may

exclude commercially sensitive or national security information.

Article 14

Enforcement

Each State Party shall take appropriate measures to enforce national laws and regulations that

implement the provisions of this Treaty.

Article 15

International Cooperation

1. States Parties shall cooperate with each other, consistent with their respective security

interests and national laws, to effectively implement this Treaty.

2. States Parties are encouraged to facilitate international cooperation, including exchanging

information on matters of mutual interest regarding the implementation and application of

this Treaty pursuant to their respective security interests and national laws.

3. States Parties are encouraged to consult on matters of mutual interest and to share

information, as appropriate, to support the implementation of this Treaty.

4. States Parties are encouraged to cooperate, pursuant to their national laws, in order to

assist national implementation of the provisions of this Treaty, including through sharing

information regarding illicit activities and actors and in order to prevent and eradicate

diversion of conventional arms covered under Article 2 (1).

5. States Parties shall, where jointly agreed and consistent with their national laws, afford

one another the widest measure of assistance in investigations, prosecutions and judicial

proceedings in relation to violations of national measures established pursuant to this

Treaty.

6. States Parties are encouraged to take national measures and to cooperate with each other

to prevent the transfer of conventional arms covered under Article 2 (1) becoming subject

to corrupt practices.

7. States Parties are encouraged to exchange experience and information on lessons learned

in relation to any aspect of this Treaty.

Article 16

International Assistance

1. In implementing this Treaty, each State Party may seek assistance including legal or

legislative assistance, institutional capacity building, and technical, material or financial

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assistance. Such assistance may include stockpile management, disarmament,

demobilization and reintegration programmes, model legislation, and effective practices

for implementation. Each State Party in a position to do so shall provide such assistance,

upon request.

2. Each State Party may request, offer or receive assistance through, inter alia, the United

Nations, international, regional, subregional or national organizations, non-governmental

organizations, or on a bilateral basis.

3. A voluntary trust fund shall be established by States Parties to assist requesting States

Parties requiring international assistance to implement this Treaty. Each State Party is

encouraged to contribute resources to the fund.

Article 17

Conference of States Parties

1. A Conference of States Parties shall be convened by the provisional Secretariat,

established under Article 18, no later than one year following the entry into force of this

Treaty and thereafter at such other times as may be decided by the Conference of States

Parties.

2. The Conference of States Parties shall adopt by consensus its rules of procedure at its first

session.

3. The Conference of States Parties shall adopt financial rules for itself as well as governing

the funding of any subsidiary bodies it may establish as well as financial provisions

governing the functioning of the Secretariat. At each ordinary session, it shall adopt a

budget for the financial period until the next ordinary session.

4. The Conference of States Parties shall:

(a) Review the implementation of this Treaty, including developments in the field of

conventional arms

(b) Consider and adopt recommendations regarding the implementation and operation of this

Treaty, in particular the promotion of its universality;

(c) Consider amendments to this Treaty in accordance with Article 20;

(d) Consider issues arising from the interpretation of this Treaty;

(e) Consider and decide the tasks and budget of the Secretariat;

(f) Consider the establishment of any subsidiary bodies as may be necessary to improve the

functioning of this Treaty; and

(g) Perform any other function consistent with this Treaty.

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5. Extraordinary meetings of the Conference of States Parties shall be held at such other

times as may be deemed necessary by the Conference of States Parties, or at the written

request of any State Party provided that this request is supported by at least two thirds of

the States Parties.

Article 18

Secretariat

1. This Treaty hereby establishes a Secretariat to assist States Parties in the effective

implementation of this Treaty. Pending the first meeting of the Conference of States

Parties, a provisional Secretariat will be responsible for the administrative functions

covered under this Treaty.

2. The Secretariat shall be adequately staffed. Staff shall have the necessary expertise to

ensure that the Secretariat can effectively undertake the responsibilities described in

paragraph 3.

3. The Secretariat shall be responsible to States Parties. Within a minimized structure, the

Secretariat shall undertake the following responsibilities:

(a) Receive, make available and distribute the reports as mandated by this

Treaty;

(b) Maintain and make available to States Parties the list of national points of

contact;

(c) Facilitate the matching of offers of and requests for assistance for Treaty

implementation and promote international cooperation as requested;

(d) Facilitate the work of the Conference of States Parties, including making

arrangements and providing the necessary services for meetings under this

Treaty; and

(e) Perform other duties as decided by the Conferences of States Parties.

Article 19

Dispute Settlement

1. States Parties shall consult and, by mutual consent, cooperate to pursue settlement of any

dispute that may arise between them with regard to the interpretation or application of

this Treaty including through negotiations, mediation, conciliation, judicial settlement or

other peaceful means.

2. States Parties may pursue, by mutual consent, arbitration to settle any dispute between

them, regarding issues concerning the interpretation or application of this Treaty.

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Article 20

Amendments

1. Six years after the entry into force of this Treaty, any State Party may propose an

amendment to this Treaty. Thereafter, proposed amendments may only be considered by

the Conference of States Parties every three years.

2. Any proposal to amend this Treaty shall be submitted in writing to the Secretariat, which

shall circulate the proposal to all States Parties, not less than 180 days before the next

meeting of the Conference of States Parties at which amendments may be considered

pursuant to paragraph 1. The amendment shall be considered at the next Conference of

States Parties at which amendments may be considered pursuant to paragraph 1 if, no

later than 120 days after its circulation by the Secretariat, a majority of States Parties

notify the Secretariat that they support consideration of the proposal.

3. The States Parties shall make every effort to achieve consensus on each amendment. If

all efforts at consensus have been exhausted, and no agreement reached, the amendment

shall, as a last resort, be adopted by a three-quarters majority vote of the States Parties

present and voting at the meeting of the Conference of States Parties. For the purposes of

this Article, States Parties present and voting means States Parties present and casting an

affirmative or negative vote. The Depositary shall communicate any adopted amendment

to all States Parties.

4. An amendment adopted in accordance with paragraph 3 shall enter into force for each

State Party that has deposited its instrument of acceptance for that amendment, ninety

days following the date of deposit with the Depositary of the instruments of acceptance

by a majority of the number of States Parties at the time of the adoption of the

amendment. Thereafter, it shall enter into force for any remaining State Party ninety days

following the date of deposit of its instrument of acceptance for that amendment.

Article 21

Signature, Ratification, Acceptance, Approval or Accession

1. This Treaty shall be open for signature at the United Nations Headquarters in New York

by all States from the Third Day of the Sixth Month of 2013 until its entry into force.

2. This Treaty is subject to ratification, acceptance or approval by each signatory State.

3. Following its entry into force, this Treaty shall be open for accession by any State that

has not signed the Treaty.

4. The instruments of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession shall be deposited with

the Depositary.

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Article 22

Entry into Force

1. This Treaty shall enter into force ninety days following the date of the deposit of the

fiftieth instrument of ratification, acceptance, or approval with the Depositary.

2. For any State that deposits its instrument of ratification, acceptance, approval or

accession subsequent to the entry into force of this Treaty, this Treaty shall enter into

force for that State ninety days following the date of deposit of its instrument of

ratification, acceptance, approval or accession.

Article 23

Provisional application

Any State may at the time of signature or the deposit of instrument of its ratification,

acceptance, approval or accession, declare that it will apply provisionally Article 6 and

Article 7 pending its entry into force.

Article 24

Duration and Withdrawal

1. This Treaty shall be of unlimited duration.

2. Each State Party shall, in exercising its national sovereignty, have the right to withdraw

from this Treaty. It shall give notification of such withdrawal to the Depositary, which

shall notify all other States Parties. The notification of withdrawal may include an

explanation of the reasons for its withdrawal. The notice of withdrawal shall take effect

ninety days after the receipt of the notification of withdrawal by the Depositary, unless

the notification of withdrawal specifies a later date.

3. A State shall not be discharged, by reason of its withdrawal, from the obligations arising

from this Treaty while it was a Party to this Treaty, including any financial obligations

that it may have accrued.

Article 25

Reservations

1. At the time of signature, ratification, acceptance, approval or accession, each State may

formulate reservations, unless the reservations are incompatible with the object and

purpose of this Treaty.

15

2. A State Party may withdraw its reservation at any time by notification to this effect

addressed to the Depositary.

Article 26

Relationship with other international agreements

1. The implementation of this Treaty shall not prejudice obligations undertaken by States

Parties with regard to existing or future international agreements, to which they are

parties, where those obligations are consistent with this Treaty.

2. This Treaty shall not be cited as grounds for voiding defense cooperation agreements

concluded between States Parties to this Treaty.

Article 27

Depositary

The Secretary-General of the United Nations shall be the Depositary of this Treaty.

Article 28

Authentic Texts

The original text of this Treaty, of which the Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, and

Spanish texts are equally authentic, shall be deposited with the Secretary-General of the

United Nations.

DONE AT NEW YORK, this twenty-eighth day of March, two thousand and thirteen

http://www.un.org/disarmament/ATT/docs/Presidents_Non_Paper_of_27_March_2013_%28ATT_Final_Conference%29.pdf

 

US Senate Votes to Block UN Arms Trade Treaty

Tuesday, March 26th, 2013

Original Story Via:  PJ Media

by Howard Nemerov

During the Senate’s passing of their (congressional budget) Concurrent Resolution 8 on March 23, Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe successfully inserted Senate amendment 139 to “prevent the United States from entering into the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty.” (Text of bills can be retrieved from Library of Congress “Thomas” site.)

In a 53-49 vote, the Senate passed Inhofe’s amendment. The list of Yeas and Nays is what’s important going forward, and contains both good news and a warning.

Along with all 45 Republicans, 8 Democrat senators voted Yea:

  • Mark Begich, Alaska
  • Joe Donnelly, Indiana
  • Kay Hagan, North Carolina
  • Martin Heinrich, New Mexico
  • Heidi Heitkamp, North Dakota
  • Joe Manchin, West Virginia
  • Mark Pryor, Arkansas
  • Jon Tester, Montana

Full story:  http://pjmedia.com/tatler/2013/03/26/senate-votes-to-block-un-arms-trade-treaty/

Stacked Deck at UN ATT Talks

Thursday, March 21st, 2013

Via TheGunMag.com

By Philip L. Watson

The Second Amendment Foundation released a statement today highlighting testimony to the UN on the pending ratification of the Arms Trade Treaty.

Little reported was the fact pro self-defense advocates received 15 minutes to address the global body; however, the ‘Control Arms Coalition’ was allotted 35 minutes.

There is currently no explanation for this disparity listed on any of the UN websites.

Julianne Versnel represents three groups at the UN, the American Conservative Union (ACU), the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF), and the International Association for the Protection of Civilian Arms Rights (IAPCAR). Her statements highlighted self-defense as a human right.

“The right of self-defense is particularly important to women,” Versnel stated. “As women, we have a right to protect our bodies and to protect ourselves against assault and rape. No one questions that violence against women is endemic.”

There are genuine concerns that any international gun control treaty would ultimately strip individual firearms rights from people all over the world.

“Most of the delegates here know that in the U.S. there is extensive firearms ownership,” Versnel testified. “What they do not know is that 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.”

The UN ATT talks are scheduled to wrap up by the end of next week.

SAF and IAPCAR Defend Women’s Right of Self-Defense at UN

Thursday, March 21st, 2013

The Second Amendment Foundation today defended the right of women to defend themselves with firearms during testimony at the United Nations regarding the proposed Arms Trade Treaty.

Speaking for SAF was Julianne Versnel, who was also representing the American Conservative Union and the International Association for the Protection of Civilian Arms Rights (IAPCAR). She told the world body that “the right to life must be given real meaning” and that “A right to life must include the fundamental right to defend that life.”

“The right of self-defense is particularly important to women,” Versnel stated. “As women, we have a right to protect our bodies and to protect ourselves against assault and rape. No one questions that violence against women is endemic.”

There are genuine concerns that any international gun control treaty would ultimately strip individual firearms rights from people all over the world.

“Most of the delegates here know that in the U.S. there is extensive firearms ownership,” Versnel testified. “What they do not know is that 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 reminded the panel that former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, a staunch supporter of the United Nations and the first U.S. ambassador to the organization, also carried a handgun for personal protection while working in the South on civil rights issues.

“Eleanor Roosevelt was known and revered for her beliefs in woman’s rights—including the right to defend oneself with a firearm if necessary,” Versnel stated. “Mrs. Roosevelt practiced what she preached. In 1958 Mrs. Roosevelt drove though the American South by herself. The Klu Klux Klan had put a $25,000 bounty on her head and the Secret Service told her not to go. She went anyway and on the seat of the car was her own .38 caliber revolver.

“We can learn from Mrs. Roosevelt,” she concluded. “No one supported the U.N. more than she did, but at the same time she insisted on her right, as a woman and as a person to have the means to defend herself.”

EDITORIAL: Gun control by the U.N.

Thursday, March 21st, 2013

Original article via:  The Washington Times

Bureaucrats from 150 nations are ramping up efforts to impose gun control through international pact. Here in the United States, the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty has become the vehicle to drive an agenda that is deeply controversial because once a treaty is ratified by the Senate, it becomes the supreme law of the land.

Last week, Secretary of State John F. Kerry — no friend of the Second Amendment — announced support for the treaty, which calls for international regulations on firearms, including personal firearms as well as military weapons. During the presidential campaign, President Obama was evasive about his position on the treaty. Now that he has fully “evolved” on the Second Amendment, he has the “flexibility” of not having to face voters again, and is pushing for the treaty.

There are plenty of reasons to be concerned about what’s being cooked up in Turtle Bay. Proponents say the treaty is only meant to crack down on illegal gun-smuggling, and the only people who ought to be concerned are military strongmen looking for a good deal on black-market rocket launchers. Of course, there’s more to the story. The exact wording of the agreement, and more importantly, how vague passages can be interpreted and twisted by the courts, will determine what the treaty actually means. It could, for example, force America to implement a national gun-registration scheme, ban importation of weapons and impose burdensome regulations on transfers.

The “Review Conference on Illicit Small Arms Trade” adopted a “consensus outcome document” that states in Article 2, Paragraph 4 that signatories to the treaty would “establish or update, as appropriate, and maintain a national control list that shall include the items that fall within paragraph A1 .” Paragraph A1 includes small personal firearms.

Under Article 6, Paragraph 3, signatories (including the United States) would be required to set up an “effective, transparent and predictable national control system regulating the transfer of conventional arms .” Once again, “conventional arms” would include civilian firearms protected by the Second Amendment.

Article 8, Paragraph 2 requires countries to “put in place adequate measures that will allow them, where necessary, to monitor and control imports of items covered by the scope of this Treaty.” This could prevent U.S. gun owners from buying foreign guns and parts. Other provisions of the document “underscored efforts in marking, record-keeping and cooperation in tracing small arms .” Tracing weapons is legalese for the creation of a gun registry.

The administration pretends that ratification of this deal would do nothing to undermine constitutional rights. “We will not support any treaty that would be inconsistent with U.S. law and the rights of American citizens under our Constitution,” says Mr. Kerry. The secretary forgets that we can read, too. The written provisions of the treaty and the administration’s domestic agenda on these issues make such reassurance hollow, indeed.

In the wake of the Newtown, Conn., school massacre, Mr. Obama unleashed his all-out effort to ban “assault weapons” — the most popular type of rifle sold in America today. The White House proposals, however, should be doomed in the Republican-dominated House of Representatives. Use of the treaty process is a way to bypass that uncooperative body and accomplish many of the same gun-control goals with only 67 Senate votes.

If proponents of the arms-trade treaty are honest about their intentions, they should have no problem amending the draft treaty to explicitly limit the agreement to large, military weapons and exclude all civilian firearms that fall under the protection of the Second Amendment. The National Rifle Association has offered language that would amend the treaty to eliminate any exploitable ambiguity. Unless such corrections are made, the Senate should stand strong against international deals to trash the constitutional rights of Americans.

The Washington Times

U.N. global gun control effort begins anew

Wednesday, March 20th, 2013

Via Dave Workman, Seattle Gun Rights Examiner

New talks about an old subject – international gun control – begin today at the United Nations in New York, and sure to be involved at some point is the Bellevue-based International Association for the Protection of Civilian Arms Rights (IAPCAR), founded with the cornerstone involvement of gun rights advocates Alan Gottlieb and Julianne Versnel.

IAPCAR Executive Director Phil Watson keeps an office at Gottlieb’s Liberty Park complex. Attorney Mark Barnes is IAPCAR’s managing director with an office in Washington, D.C.

In addition, the National Rifle Association is keenly interested in these talks. Indeed, U.S. gun rights organizations have every reason for alarm, in the wake of a statement published Friday by the Washington Post from Amnesty International’s Michelle A. Ringuette.

“The NRA claim that there is such a thing as ‘civilian weapons’ and that these can and need to be treated differently from military weapons under the Arms Trade Treaty is — to put it politely — the gun lobby’s creativity on full display,” Ringuette insisted, according to the newspaper. “There is no such distinction. To try to create one would create a loophole that would render the treaty inoperative, as anyone could claim that he or she was in the business of trading ‘civilian weapons.’ ”

This suggests that global gun banners equate rifles and shotguns with tanks and surface-to-air missiles. For example, during last Thursday’s Senate Judiciary debate on her gun ban legislation, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) defended her efforts to ban “just a few guns” and leave others alone by arguing, “Is this not enough for the people of the United States? Do they need a bazooka?”

Raising further alarms is the fact that within hours of confirming his re-election in November. President Barack Obama had joined a handful of other nations to rekindle the U.N.’s long-running effort to adopt an international gun control treaty. Gottlieb, who heads the Second Amendment Foundation, raised alarms about this last Nov. 7.

Amnesty International is part of an international gun control group called IANSA (International Action Network on Small Arms). That group also includes the Brady Campaign for the Prevention of Gun Violence, and the Law Center for Smart Gun Laws (LCSGL).

It could be that the deck has been carefully stacked by the U.N. According to Fox News, last week, IANSA co-hosted – with the UN – a “series of meetings” with representatives from 48 African nations to push global gun control. The session was held in Addis Ababa, Ethopia.

Gottlieb was in Europe recently attending a meeting of the World Forum on the Future of Sport Shooting, and he takes the threat of global gun control seriously. That the U.N. is hosting these talks on American soil, in a building that has a statute out front of a Colt Python with its barrel twisted into a knot is a not-so-subtle insult to the Second Amendment and American firearms owners.

Gun rights leaders are warning American gun owners that this is not the time to become complacent, or to be entirely focused on state-level gun control measures, or bills passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee last week, including Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s effort to renew and make permanent a ban on so-called “assault rifles” and ammunition magazines.

That all of this is occurring at the same time – barely two months into Obama’s second term – does not seem coincidental to some activists, who are now saying “We warned you.”

UNLIKELY CONSENSUS: Commentary & Outlook for the UN Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty

Tuesday, March 12th, 2013

Via Jeff Moran | Geneva

Revised and updated, 10 March 2013.

UnlikelyConsensusBookCover

TSM Worldwide LLC has published its executive e-briefing of selected context and issues going into the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) Conference scheduled for 18-28 March 2013 in New York.  It also models five possible outcomes and explains the key factors for why consensus is possible, but not likely.

This concise resource can serve as a sense-making tool for diplomats, international legal specialists, civil society activists, trade groups, academics, students, and strategic business leaders alike.

The author, a former military diplomat and strategy leader at a leading defense/aerospace company, consulted over thirty ATT process insiders to develop this his assessment. For example, this e-briefing incorporates insights and feedback from members of State delegations, humanitarian and arms rights civil society groups, academics and policy analysts, business managers, and trade associations. It also includes original statistical analysis and several insightful graphics that help illustrate the points made.

The brief endeavors to:

1.  Explain how a faction of approximately 30 countries presents a major wildcard for the Conference and what their vision for a future treaty might entail if they decide to break consensus to realize it.

2.  Explore the multi-dimensional quantitative challenge of commanding consensus by examining estimated opposition and support for the ATT, and to suggest where and how prospects for consensus could be improved the most.

3.  Describe three assumptions widely held by some States and their humanitarian partners, and explain why these assumptions are perceived as a form of misguided or dishonest humanitarianism which drives against consensus.

4.  Survey several complexities with respect to the United States, and highlight three conditions the ATT must meet if it is ever to be ratified there.

5.  Present a probability framework for five potential scenarios with respect to reaching consensus at the Conference.

6.  Explain why the most likely scenario for the Conference is that a faction breaks consensus by mounting a coup to pursue their own more progressive version of the ATT.

After reading a preliminary draft, one diplomat assigned to the UN based in Geneva said: “This is extremely interesting and I will send it to my colleagues who will represent us at the Conference later this month.”

The e-briefing is approximately 25 pages and is for sale on Amazon.com for use on all desktops, laptops, Kindle readers, tablets, ipods, and smart phones through Amazon’s free Kindle ap.  The price is $2.99 USD.  Click here to link to Amazon.com.  Click here download free apps for viewing electronic publications for Windows (XP, Vista, 7) and Mac (OS X 10.5 and above).

Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/Unlikely-Consensus-ebook/dp/B00BPEOJ7K/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1362993000&sr=8-1&keywords=unlikely+consensus

Newspaper Editorial – The Arms Trade Treaty: Stop the UN gun grab

Wednesday, February 27th, 2013

Given the Obama administration’s fixation on gun control, the long-disputed United Nations Arms Trade Treaty — down but not out — offers an opportunity to secure by an international accord that which Congress, fearing for its hide, has resisted.

Read More: http://triblive.com/opinion/editorials/3550633-74/treaty-gun-arms#axzz2M7sBPIeY

Americans never give up your guns

Wednesday, January 30th, 2013
 Original Story Via: Pravda.ru

 

Americans never give up your guns

28.12.2012 12:15

By Stanislav Mishin 

 

These days, there are few things to admire about the socialist, bankrupt and culturally degenerating USA, but at least so far, one thing remains: the right to bear arms and use deadly force to defend one’s self and possessions.

This will probably come as a total shock to most of my Western readers, but at one point, Russia was one of the most heavily armed societies on earth. This was, of course, when we were free under the Tsar. Weapons, from swords and spears to pistols, rifles and shotguns were everywhere, common items. People carried them concealed, they carried them holstered. Fighting knives were a prominent part of many traditional attires and those little tubes criss crossing on the costumes of Cossacks and various Caucasian peoples? Well those are bullet holders for rifles.

Various armies, such as the Poles, during the Смута (Times of Troubles), or Napoleon, or the Germans even as the Tsarist state collapsed under the weight of WW1 and Wall Street monies, found that holding Russian lands was much much harder than taking them and taking was no easy walk in the park but a blood bath all its own. In holding, one faced an extremely well armed and aggressive population Hell bent on exterminating or driving out the aggressor.

This well armed population was what allowed the various White factions to rise up, no matter how disorganized politically and militarily they were in 1918 and wage a savage civil war against the Reds. It should be noted that many of these armies were armed peasants, villagers, farmers and merchants, protecting their own. If it had not been for Washington’s clandestine support of and for the Reds, history would have gone quite differently.

Moscow fell, for example, not from a lack of weapons to defend it, but from the lying guile of the Reds. Ten thousand Reds took Moscow and were opposed only by some few hundreds of officer cadets and their instructors. Even then the battle was fierce and losses high. However, in the city alone, at that time, lived over 30,000 military officers (both active and retired), all with their own issued weapons and ammunition, plus tens of thousands of other citizens who were armed. The Soviets promised to leave them all alone if they did not intervene. They did not and for that were asked afterwards to come register themselves and their weapons: where they were promptly shot.

Of course being savages, murderers and liars does not mean being stupid and the Reds learned from their Civil War experience. One of the first things they did was to disarm the population. From that point, mass repression, mass arrests, mass deportations, mass murder, mass starvation were all a safe game for the powers that were. The worst they had to fear was a pitchfork in the guts or a knife in the back or the occasional hunting rifle. Not much for soldiers.

To this day, with the Soviet Union now dead 21 years, with a whole generation born and raised to adulthood without the SU, we are still denied our basic and traditional rights to self defense. Why? We are told that everyone would just start shooting each other and crime would be everywhere….but criminals are still armed and still murdering and too often, especially in the far regions, those criminals wear the uniforms of the police. The fact that everyone would start shooting is also laughable when statistics are examined.

While President Putin pushes through reforms, the local authorities, especially in our vast hinterland, do not feel they need to act like they work for the people. They do as they please, a tyrannical class who knows they have absolutely nothing to fear from a relatively unarmed population. This in turn breeds not respect but absolute contempt and often enough, criminal abuse.

For those of us fighting for our traditional rights, the US 2nd Amendment is a rare light in an ever darkening room. Governments will use the excuse of trying to protect the people from maniacs and crime, but are in reality, it is the bureaucrats protecting their power and position. In all cases where guns are banned, gun crime continues and often increases. As for maniacs, be it nuts with cars (NYC, Chapel Hill NC), swords (Japan), knives (China) or home made bombs (everywhere), insane people strike. They throw acid (Pakistan, UK), they throw fire bombs (France), they attack. What is worse, is, that the best way to stop a maniac is not psychology or jail or “talking to them”, it is a bullet in the head, that is why they are a maniac, because they are incapable of living in reality or stopping themselves.

The excuse that people will start shooting each other is also plain and silly. So it is our politicians saying that our society is full of incapable adolescents who can never be trusted? Then, please explain how we can trust them or the police, who themselves grew up and came from the same culture?

No it is about power and a total power over the people. There is a lot of desire to bad mouth the Tsar, particularly by the Communists, who claim he was a tyrant, and yet under him we were armed and under the progressives disarmed. Do not be fooled by a belief that progressives, leftists hate guns. Oh, no, they do not. What they hate is guns in the hands of those who are not marching in lock step of their ideology. They hate guns in the hands of those who think for themselves and do not obey without question. They hate guns in those whom they have slated for a barrel to the back of the ear.

So, do not fall for the false promises and do not extinguish the light that is left to allow humanity a measure of self respect.

 

Stanislav Mishin

The article reprinted with the kind permission from the author and originally appears on his blog, Mat Rodina

Дмитрий Судаков

Copyright © 1999-2013, «PRAVDA.Ru». When reproducing our materials in whole or in part, hyperlink to PRAVDA.Ru should be made. The opinions and views of the authors do not always coincide with the point of view of PRAVDA.Ru’s editors.
http://english.pravda.ru/opinion/columnists/28-12-2012/123335-americans_guns-0/

Brothers campaign for gun rights in tiny Mexican town

Wednesday, January 30th, 2013

Original Story Via: AZStarnet.com

Only criminals are armed now, they complain

LeBARON, Mexico – The LeBaron brothers, Alex and Max, walked outside their sprawling ranch and pointed to the spot where they traded fire with gunmen who pinned them down until both sides reached a truce.

“Had we not been able to defend ourselves that afternoon with our own weapons, I don’t know that we’d be standing here today,” said Alex LeBaron, a state legislator who is leading a campaign to allow residents to arm themselves.

“Without our guns, we stood no chance,” added Max. “We would have been like sitting ducks at target practice.”

It turned out the gunmen were actually soldiers. These days, it’s hard to tell, because just about everyone in this crime-ridden area is heavily armed – everyone, that is, except for regular residents. That makes the town of LeBaron an appropriate place for a gun debate, particularly after the school shootings in Connecticut.

This community in the foothills of the Sierra Madre, whose residents have been victims of extortion, kidnappings and murder, is at the forefront of a movement to press the federal government to change laws that ban citizens from owning weapons unless they belong to a registered gun club. Currently, citizens who want to own a gun must buy it from the military, a long, bureaucratic process, or on the black market.

The LeBaron brothers were armed that day because they belong to a gun club and because they are members of a government-sanctioned militia set up to protect the community after a rash of crimes.

This community of about 1,000, just three hours from the Texas border, is home largely to Mormon farmers, many of them bilingual and dual citizens of the United States and Mexico. Many are related to one another through blood ties that go back decades.

Mexico has some of the strictest gun-control laws in the world, but an overwhelming arsenal of illegal guns is readily available to drug cartels battling federal forces and rival criminal groups. The drug war has left more than 60,000 people dead and 25,000 missing since former President Felipe Calderón sent federal troops to reclaim territories from drug traffickers shortly after taking office in 2006.

Few communities have been harder hit than this region, home to chile, apple and pecan growers and cheese makers – and a smuggling route, coveted by traffickers, that leads into the United States through Texas.

“We don’t have a problem with jackrabbits,” Max said. “We have a problem with sicarios – hit men. People show up here in fake police, soldier uniforms. You shoot first and then ask questions.”

“The right to bear arms is the best thing Americans have going for them,” said cousin Brent LeBaron Jr. “And here in Mexico, we have high hopes that we, too, can someday defend ourselves from traffickers armed to the teeth.”

Members of an offshoot of the traditional Mormon church, these farmers are like everyday Mexicans anywhere. They drink beer, curse and enjoy long greetings and goodbyes. Yet vestiges of their American ancestry remain intact, including their determination to hold the government accountable – something considered rare in this country until recently – and the right to bear arms.

Three years ago, cousin Benjamin LeBaron stood up after his younger brother was kidnapped and extortionists demanded $1 million. Benjamin led a peaceful movement through the streets of Chihuahua state, calling on authorities to do more to protect residents from what he called madmen who had empowered themselves across the country.

One morning, gunmen came to his home and threatened to rape his wife and harm his children unless he gave them his guns, but he didn’t have any. They took him away. Benjamin and Luis Widmar, a brother-in-law who tried to intervene, were beaten, and their bodies were later found, shot in the head.

Their killings led many in the community to take a stance similar to that of Second Amendment advocates in the United States, but there is another side to the debate here. Many blame the U.S. gun and drug culture for the mayhem in Mexico and are adamantly opposed to more guns. Nearly 70 percent of guns seized in Mexico originated in the U.S., according to a report by the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

“I don’t want to run around like Pancho Villa – bang, bang,” said Ricardo Paisano, who owns a fruit juice stand in LeBaron. Paisano once lived in Arizona and described the scene there as the “the wild, wild West, where everyone was armed like crazies. We need more jobs, not more guns.”

Others, like Daniel Madrid Mendoza, 28, a member of the gun club near Casas Grandes, disagreed.

“I like guns because I like hunting,” he said. “But also I don’t think it’s right that only the bad guys have access to guns. We should all have the right to defend ourselves.”

Alex LeBaron, a 32-year-old Chihuahua state congressman with national aspirations, is haunted by the memory of his cousin “Benji” and of his own father, who was killed in a carjacking. Alex was educated in New Mexico and served in the U.S. Navy. Giving Mexicans the right to bear arms is among the issues he is most passionate about, one that he says will make Mexicans more individualistic.

“When Benji was killed, the first thing you think is, ‘We gotta get out of here,’ and yet at the moment, I realized I had nowhere to run, nor did I want to go anywhere else,” he said. “This is home. This is where I was born and will one day die.”

Russia to toughen gun laws?

Wednesday, January 30th, 2013

Original story via:  Voice of Russia

Russia’s government is prepared to toughen gun laws after a Moscow lawyer Dmitry Vinogradov killed six of his colleagues in the Rigla office shooting spree.

Opponents to the new legislation claim that it will make life difficult for law abiding citizens but will not stop potential shooters.

Eighteen year-olds are too young to carry guns, even traumatic pistols, believe police and MPs. Russia’s Interior Ministry has prepared a draft law increasing the age for carrying a gun from 18 to 21, banning traumatic guns in public places and making a bullet casing database for all types of civilian arms, not only rifles.

The law also envisages tougher handgun permit procedure. Russia’s Duma deputy-speaker Sergey Zheleznyak believes that the measures will reduce the number of crimes involving guns but they still need reinforcement.

“We should also boost police and public security services and use the Safe City monitoring system and CCTV. More attention should be paid to extremists statements in social networks and blogs. That Vinogradov published a manifesto before the rampage where he wrote that hates all humankind.”

However, some people claim that Russia’s gun laws are already strict enough and new measures are odd and unlikely to prevent crimes similar to the Rigla shooting as Vinogradov wasn’t a youngster but a 30-year old who was carrying a long rifle which is actually banned.

International experience shows that gun bans don’t stop killers but deprive people of self-defense measure, says Gun Rights activist Maria Butina

“We know of dozens of massacres without fire arms. There were kitchen knives in China and lighters in Korea. If a criminal wants to, he can use anything. What I find wrong is to deprive law abiding citizens of self-defense.”

Rights to carry guns as well as migration and multiculturalism issues will be wrangled over forever. Its supporters and opponents refer to culture, traditions and statists. The latter says that legal gun owners commit a petty number of gun crimes.

However, everyone shares one stance – legal responsibility for illegal use of any firearms should be toughened.

Germany compiles nationwide gun register

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013

Original Story Via: DW.DE

Germany has compiled a national register of firearms for the first time. Figures previously held by a multitude of local authorities have been centrally pooled as part of efforts to curb gun violence.

Germany’s new national firearms registry established that there were 5.5 million legal guns in private ownership nationwide.

Figures compiled in what has been described as Germany’s first reliable nationwide firearms count also showed there were 1.4 million registered owners – an average of approximately four weapons per listed individual.

The information is being collated in a national database that will allow police to keep track of the buying and selling of legal guns across the country. Records were previously kept only at a local level, with some 551 different authorities holding the information.

As the figures were published on Friday, Interior Ministry spokesman Philipp Spauschus said the registry would make a “concrete contribution to public safety.”

All European Union countries are required to set up such a registry by 2015.

The issue of gun crime has once again gained prominence in the German media following the US gun massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School, in which 26 people were killed including 20 children.

Germany has also suffered from mass shootings, the most notable recent example being the Winnenden school shooting in 2009, in which 16 people died. The perpetrator of that incident, 17-year-old Tim Kretschmer, used a legally-owned firearm belonging to his father.

rc/ccp (AP, dpa)

Indian bus rape: Delhi sees rush for guns

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013

Original Story Via: The Guardian

in Delhi

Hundreds of women in Delhi have applied for gun licences following the gang rape and murder of a 23-year-old woman by six men in a bus in the city last month.

The news underlines the widespread sense of insecurity in the city, deep before the incident and deeper now, and the lack of faith in law enforcement agencies.

The ashes of the victim of the attack – who died on Friday after 13 days in hospitals in India and Singapore, and was cremated in Delhi in a secret ceremony under heavy security on Sunday – were scattered on the surface of the Ganges river, sacred to Hindus, in northern India on Tuesday.

The case has provoked an unprecedented debate about endemic sexual harassment and violence in India. Tens of thousands have protested across the country, calling for harsher laws, better policing and a change in culture.

Politicians, initially caught off-guard, have now promised new legislation to bring in fast-track courts and harsher punishments for sexual assault. The six men accused of the attack are to be formally charged with murder later this week and potentially face execution.

Indian media are currently reporting incidents of sexual violence that would rarely gain attention previously. In the last 24 hours these have included a teenager fleeing repeated abuse by her brother, who was allegedly assaulted on a bus by a conductor, a 15-year-old held for 15 days by three men in a village in Uttar Pradesh and repeatedly assaulted, an 11-year-old allegedly raped by three teenagers in the north-eastern city of Guwahati and two cases of rape in the city of Amritsar.

One case reported on Tuesday involved a woman, also in a village in Uttar Pradesh, who suffered 90% burns after being doused in kerosene, allegedly by a man who had been stalking her for months.

There were signs that a further taboo was about to be broken when one of India’s best-known English-language television presenters asked viewers who had experienced abuse from a family member to contact her.

The rush for firearms will cause concern, however. Police in Delhi have received 274 requests for licences and 1,200 inquiries from women since 18 December, two days after the woman and a male friend were attacked in a bus cruising on busy roads between 9pm and 10pm.

“Lots of women have been contacting us asking for information about how to obtain licences. Any woman has a threat against her. It’s not surprising. There are fearless predators out there,” said Abhijeet Singh of the campaign group Guns For India.

Delhi police received around 500 applications for the whole of 2011, up from 320 the previous year.

Hundreds of women had come in person to the police licensing department in the city, the Times of India reported.

“We had to patiently tell them that one needs to have a clear danger to one’s life to be given a licence. However some … said that with even public transport no longer safe in the city they just cannot take chances,” an unnamed official told the newspaper.

There are estimated to be 40m guns in India, the second highest number in the world after the US. Licences are hard to obtain and most are illegal weapons, many manufactured in backstreet workshops. Official ownership levels remain low – three guns for every 100 people – but in recent years the number of women holding arms has risen. Most are wealthy and worried about theft or assault.

There are fears the attack will lead to further restrictions on women in India, who already suffer significant constraints.

Elders in Matapa, in the poverty-stricken Indian state of Bihar, banned the use of mobile phones for teenage girls and warned them against wearing “sexy” clothes. They claim the move will check rape cases and restore “social order”. Other villages nearby are planning similar bans, locals said.

One member of parliament in Rajasthan, the north-western state, also called for a ban on skirts for schoolgirls to keep them away from “men’s lustful gazes”. Banwari Lal Singhal said private schools allowing students to wear skirts explained increased sexual harassment locally.

Matapa is in southern Bihar’s Aurangabad district – the region from which one of the Delhi gang-rape accused, Akshay Thakur, comes. The order was issued after a formal meeting with villagers, council officials and school teachers on Sunday. “Almost every villager pressed us to ban the mobile phones use by the schoolgirls saying they are proving quite dangerous for the society and corrupting traditional values,” the local village council head, Sushma Singh, told the Guardian on Tuesday.

Protesters were angered by the news. “Our sister will have died in vain if all that is happening after is our fear is greater and ladies are more unfree,” said Deepti Anand, a 21-year-old student in Delhi who has attended demonstrations most days in recent weeks.

Additional reporting by Manoj Chaurasia

U.N. approves new debate on arms treaty opposed by U.S. gun lobby

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013

(Reuters) – The U.N. General Assembly voted overwhelmingly on Monday to restart negotiations on a draft international treaty to regulate the $70 billion global trade in conventional arms, a pact the powerful U.S. National Rifle Association has been lobbying hard against.

U.N. delegates and gun control activists have complained that talks collapsed in July largely because U.S. President Barack Obama feared attacks from Republican rival Mitt Romney before the November 6 election if his administration was seen as supporting the pact, a charge U.S. officials have denied.

Read the rest of the article here: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/12/25/us-arms-treaty-un-idUSBRE8BO00B20121225

 

American Gun Homicides Are The Problem Now, Oh Really?

Tuesday, December 18th, 2012

Cross Posted Via:  TheGunMag.com

By Jeff Moran | Geneva

The horrible December 14th Connecticut school shootings are an outrage on humanity, and it is right to raise questions about how and why they happened, and what should be done.  The emotional response by President Obama that day and the refrain in the worldwide media in the days after appear to suggest that the American policy imperative now may be to severely restrict the availability of  guns.  A logical review of the facts surrounding American gun homicides would suggest otherwise however.

Clearly, without question, some people cannot be trusted with guns, and such people should not be allowed to possess or acquire  them to begin with.  But it is also outrageous for American leaders to extrapolate that all other people can not or should not be trusted with modern firearms for their self-defense based simply on what happened in Connecticut and elsewhere this year.  A draconian ban like those imposed in the United Kingdom or Australia after similar shootings is not the way forward for America.  Such a course of action would be an example of weak leadership and policy-making hijacked by emotion.  American citizens must  hold their political leaders to a higher standard of careful fact-based governance.

Just as the Obama Administration has rightly rejected calls from absolutist humanitarians abroad to categorically ban modern landmines, cluster munitions, and nuclear weapons for America’s own defense, so to should the Obama Administration  reject calls from absolutist anti-gun activists at home to ban or severely roll-back the availability of modern small arms for individual self-defense.

The first step forward must be to critically examine basic assumptions about death and armed violence in America.  Perhaps the most enduring assumptions by absolutist in the anti-gun policy community are the false if not outright dishonest assertions that more guns have meant more violence in America over time, that gun homicides have been trending upwards, and that today we are worse off than we have been.

Despite what news media coverage suggests, the truth is that  gun homicides in America have been on the decline for some time.  We must remind our leaders and ourselves that the core competency of the news media / infotainment complex is precisely to showcase extremely bad situations, and to confer upon them, through repetition and the internet echo chamber, a false sense of  normality.  News, by definition, is not about normal life and events.  And so the mass shootings in Connecticut and elsewhere must be recognized for what they truly are:  statistical outliers. Contrary to hyperbolic media coverage,  gun homicides are hardly an uncontrolled epidemic for  Americans.  In fact, they constitute a relatively low and decreasing threat to public safety over time.

An examination of available official information managed by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) bears this out. For the sake of simplicity and argument, let’s absurdly assume that all homicides in the United States from 1999-2010 were caused by firearms, and firearms alone.  And for good measure, let’s assume all homicides were unjustifiable.  Now, if one examines the top 10 leading causes of death over this period, nowhere in any age group is homicide (“by firearms”) public health and safety enemy #1.   In fact, the most consistent leading cause of death across the majority of age groups is: unintentional injury, accidents.

The closest homicide (“by firearms”) ever comes to being public enemy #1 is as enemy #2 for people aged 15 – 24 years.  But even in this demographic, over the 1999-2010 period, the difference between public enemy #1 and #2 is a substantial.  Over 175,000 people died in accidents, just under 63,000 people died in homicides (“by firearms”).  In other words, in this most at-risk  demographic, and even absurdly assuming all homicides are unjustifiable and caused by firearms, three times more people die from accidents.  The situation for children aged 5 – 9 years is even more extreme with homicide ranking  #4, with over eight times as many children dying from accidents.

It is therefore misguided, lazy, and/or dishonest to say that guns in America are somehow public health and safety enemy #1.  Policy-makers need to run the numbers and use the data to drive their public health and safety decisions.  Please click the thumbnail table below for more details.  Raw source data is available here.

Nevertheless,  absolutist on the anti-gun side of the debate still plainly misrepresent the truth by pointing to the number of gun deaths in America. They also like to contrast the number of gun deaths in America with those from other countries.  Both of these are faulty exercises.  The relevant numbers to examine are gun death rates, such as deaths per 100,000 people, and not the absolute numbers.  Absolute numbers help one to loose sight of the fact that that big countries like America simply have a lot more people and deaths in general, and that each year the population grows absolutely as well.  In short, absolute comparisons of gun deaths are practically meaningless.  Therefore, again, it is either a sign of profound ignorance or simple dishonestly when one makes a big deal about the absolute number of gun deaths in the United States, especially in comparison to any country in Europe for example.  The same can be said of comparing the United States to other countries with plainly incomparable constitutional provisions, and/or social and political histories.

What is perhaps most relevant for national gun policy purposes are the national rates of gun deaths combined with the trend over time.  Such trend information gives one a sense of magnitude plus direction and historical perspective.  As with pointing to absolute numbers of gun related deaths, it is simply illogical to look at numbers at a single point in time and draw policy conclusions.   By extension, it would be mistaken in the present situation to conclude that availability of guns in America now presents a national problem because 2012 was a year with several spectacular episodes of mass gun homicides.  This is because trend analysis using available government data actually suggests that gun homicides are becoming less frequent than they have been.

Official American data can once again help reveal a truth worth recognizing and internalizing:  while the national gun inventory and gun ownership rates in America have indeed increased over the past nearly 20 years, America has actually been experiencing a phenomenal decline in the rates of gun-related homicide, suicide, and accidental death.  To the extent that historical trend has continued since 2009 (the latest year for which information was available), there are actually many more suicides involving firearms than both gun-related homicides and accidental deaths, combined.  And the trend (suicides v. homicides + accidents) is accelerating.  Doesn’t this therefore suggests the more important national priority for America’s leaders has been for years the problem of suicide?  It is also important to note that, over the past nearly 20 years, gun-related homicides, suicides, and accidental deaths have actually decreased by an astounding 44%, 19%, and 69% respectively.  Doesn’t such downward trend for all types of gun deaths suggest America is on the right track?

Please click the thumbnail chart and table below for more information about American gun-related death trends.  They are based on official data pulled from mortality statistics managed by the CDC.  The date range for these is from 1993, a peak year, to 2009, the most recent year for which age-adjusted data was available.  The graphical chart depicts the death rates in the data table beside it.  The death rates shown in the data table are age adjusted per 100,000 people and rounded to two significant digits.  Raw source data is available here.

In conclusion, America needs honest leadership and public policy driven by logic and by an honest examination of assumptions about gun violence in America.  Politicians should not be permitted to take the easy way out of this leadership challenge by simply blaming guns and their availability, and by misrepresenting and overstating the problem of gun homicides.   The facts are plain and simple, gun homicides are not public enemy #1.  And to suggest otherwise is profoundly ignorant, lazy, or simply dishonest. Ultimately, the American gun policy imperative is for political leaders and civil society on all sides of the issue to strike a balance between the inherent rights of individual citizens to armed self-defense and the collective interests of public health, safety,  law and order.   This is certainly never an easy task.  Yet with the horrible memory of the Connecticut shootings still fresh in mind, and politicians poised to take action, Americans must be all the more vigilant.  Our political leaders must not be permitted to resort to policy driven more by soft emotion  and convenience than by hard analysis driven by relevant facts, trends, and appropriate problem definition.

 

About The Author

Jeff Moran, a Principal at TSM Worldwide LLC, specializes in the international defense, security, and firearms industries.  Previously Mr. Moran was a strategic marketing leader for a multi-billion dollar unit of a public defense & aerospace company, an American military diplomat, and a nationally ranked competitive rifle shooter.  He is currently studying international humanitarian and human rights law with the Executive LL.M. Program of the Geneva Academy.  Earlier this year he completed an Executive Master in International Negotiation from the Graduate Institute of Geneva.   Mr. Moran also has an MBA from Emory University’s Goizueta Business School and a BSFS from Georgetown University’s Walsh School of Foreign Service.

 

First Published: 16 December 2012.
Last Updated: 18 December 2012.

 

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Thwarting global gun grabbers: Congress moves to stop Obama from signing U.N. Arms Treaty

Thursday, November 29th, 2012

Original Story Via: The Washington Times

The United Nations is pushing gun control on a global scale, and President Obama is on board. Just a few hours after re-election was assured, the president’s representative cast a vote for the Arms Trade Treaty at a U.N. committee meeting. The loosely drafted agreement doesn’t go after guns directly, but the language enables activist judges to get creative in restricting Americans’ exercise of their Second Amendment rights. A final General Assembly decision on the treaty is expected in March, and House Republicans are locked and loaded to stop it.

Rep. Mike Kelly introduced a resolution earlier this month urging the president not to sign the treaty. “If we don’t enshrine this Constitution and these amendments, then we are in great danger of losing them,” the freshman Pennsylvania Republican said in an interview with The Washington Times. “People need to understand that we are constantly under aggressive acts to take these rights away from us, and it’s done in such a way that people don’t see it coming.”

Read the full story at: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/nov/28/thwarting-global-gun-grabbers/

Rep. Kelly Introduces Resolution to Protect Second Amendment Rights from UN Arms Trade Treaty

Monday, November 26th, 2012

In addition to the Second Amendment Protection Act (HR 3594) introduced by Rep. Joe Walsh, HR 814 sponsored by Rep. Mike Kelly and 76 other co-sponsors would prohibit federal funding to implement the UN ATT and other similar agreements if signed by President Obama. Other representatives such as Rep. Joe Barton recently voiced strong support for the bill. Both of the bills are bipartisan with co-sponsors from the Democrat and Republican party.

Original Story Via:  Kelly.House.Gov

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Representative Mike Kelly (PA-03) introduced a resolution today urging the president not to sign the United Nations (UN) Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), which is in the final stages of negotiation, and warns the president that if he does indeed sign the ATT, it will not be binding and no federal funds will be appropriated to implement it unless it has consent in the Senate and has been the subject of implementing legislation by the Congress.

Just hours after President Obama’s reelection, the administration voted in the UN to move forward with finalizing the ATT, which was previously delayed and is now scheduled to take place during a March 2013 conference.

The bipartisan resolution addresses concerns over language included in the July 2012 ATT draft, which failed to expressly recognize the fundamental, individual right to keep and to bear arms and the individual right of personal self-defense, among other things. In doing so, the current draft threatens the Second Amendment rights of United States citizens, as well as United States sovereignty.

In addition, the ATT poses significant risks to the national security, foreign policy, and economic interests of the United States, placing free democracies and totalitarian regimes on a basis of equality and recognizing their equal right to transfer arms, while imposing onerous reporting requirements that could damage the domestic defense manufacturing base and related firms.

Seventy-six original cosponsors, including Chairmen Jim Jordan (OH-04), Mike Rogers (MI-08), Fred Upton (MI-06), Lamar Smith (TX-21), Sam Graves (MO-06), and Jeff Miller (FL-01), have joined Rep. Kelly in his effort to uphold the Second Amendment rights of Americans and maintain the sovereignty of the United States of America through this critical and timely resolution, which is supported by the National Rifle Association, Heritage Action, and the Endowment for Middle East Truth.

Rep. Kelly issued the following statement:

“There is considerable cause for alarm regarding the UN’s renewed efforts to forge an Arms Trade Treaty that could trample the constitutional rights of Americans, and could seriously compromise our national security and the security of our allies, whom we will be less able to arm and less quick to defend due to the restrictions placed on us by the ATT. My colleagues and I stand committed to fighting this threat to our sovereignty and to standing up for the U.S. Constitution, which we are all sworn to support and defend.”

Background

On June 29, Rep. Kelly sent a letter to President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton outlining his concerns that the ATT would compromise national security and infringe on Americans’ Second Amendment rights. The letter, which was signed by 130 Members of the House, stated, in part, that:

•    The ATT should not cover small arms, light weapons, or related material such as firearms ammunition;
•    The ATT should expressly recognize the individual right of personal self-defense, as well as the legitimacy of hunting, sports shooting, and other lawful activities pertaining to the private ownership of firearms and related materials; and
•    The ATT must not hinder the U.S. from fulfilling strategic, legal, and moral commitments to provide arms to allies such as Taiwan and Israel.

To read the full letter, click here.

To read the Washington Times editorial titled, “The U.N. is coming for your guns,” which mentions Rep. Kelly’s letter, click here.

To read the Townhall.com article highlighting Rep. Kelly’s letter, click here.

CLICK TO PLAY (July 25 Interview on ATT)

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Australian government pushes ahead with firearms laws

Saturday, November 24th, 2012

Original Story Via:  Perth Now

The federal government is pressing ahead with plans to create new aggravated offences for trafficking firearms or gun parts across state and national borders.

Justice Minister Jason Clare on Friday announced he would introduce the legislation into federal parliament next week – the last sitting days of the year.

“These new offences will carry a maximum penalty of life imprisonment,” Mr Clare said in a statement.

“This will make the maximum penalty for trafficking in firearms the same as the maximum penalty for trafficking in drugs.”

Life sentences are a part of a major reform package announced in June to tackle the illegal weapons market.

Federal and state ministers have also agreed to develop a national firearms register and a ballistics identification network.

Experts from the United States will visit Australia in February 2013 to train police in tracing and tracking firearms.

Mr Clare and state and territory ministers responsible for police and emergency management discussed the reforms in Victoria on Friday.

It’s thought there are more than 250,000 illegal firearms in Australia.

Most are stolen or weren’t handed in after the Port Arthur massacre when former prime minister John Howard passed tough new gun laws.

National German gun registry on target for launch

Saturday, November 24th, 2012

Original Story Via:  Deutsche Welle

The German interior minister has said a countrywide database of all legal gun owners is set for launch on January 1. Hans-Peter Friedrich predicted a “considerable increase in security” as a result.

The German government plans to launch its complete registry of legal gun owners at the beginning of next year, two years ahead of a deadline set by the EU.

As with many German authorities, those responsible for weapons licensing and tracking operated on a local basis – with a total of 551 authorities around the country. Under new EU laws, all member countries are obliged to compile a centralized register.

There are an estimated 6 million licensed firearms in Germany.

Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich told reporters in Berlin that the database would provide “a very concrete contribution towards improving public safety.” Thanks to the information, he said; police would be able to check “who owns which weapons legally, across the entire country,” perhaps more quickly than in the past.

Friedrich also praised the relevant German agencies for setting up the system ahead of schedule.

“With this Germany is one of the first member states to fully comply with the demands of the EU guidelines,” the interior minister said.

Instant info in critical cases

Jörg Ziercke, the head of Germany’s federal criminal investigative agency, the BKA, said at Monday’s presentation that particular gains would be made in investigations where time was of the essence. He told reporters that in the worst case scenario, it used to take three or four months to discover where a weapon came from, whereas soon it should be just a click away.

The January 1 version of the database is only the first, watered-down database documenting only the legal registration of firearms. The upgraded registry should eventually document historical information like weapon producers, dealers, importers and any previous private owners.

The GdP trade union representing many of the country’s police officers welcomed the development, while saying that it was a little overdue.

“With this, an old demand from the GdP has been fulfilled. It took a long time, but the technical implementation was quite a challenge,” the union’s national chairman, Bernhard Witthaut, said. A sister police officers’ union issued a similar statement, saying its officers had long lobbied for swifter access to information on firearms.

Arms Trade Treaty Discussed at UN, Second ATT Conference Scheduled for 2013

Friday, November 16th, 2012

Original Story Via:  TheGunMag.com

by Philip L. Watson

New York, NY—The UN Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) was discussed at length with testimony from both pro and anti-gun groups during the First Committee of the United Nations General Assembly’s 67th session.

On Nov. 7, a resolution was passed for a second ATT conference beginning March 18. The UN already spent 11 weeks in meetings for the ATT with four Preparatory Committee meetings leading toward the final failed ATT conference last July. The General Assembly will consider the resolution; it’s likely that it will be approved.

Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO’s) were scheduled for Oct. 29; however, the UN was closed due to Hurricane Sandy. Statements for all NGOs were delivered in written form to the delegates. The NGO statements to the UN against guns were juxtaposed against looting in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, with many local New York and New Jersey citizens unable to protect themselves due to some of the most strict gun laws in the country. TheGunMag.com (TGM) outlined the tragic irony of the situation here: SAF: Post-Storm Brooklyn Looting Shows Importance of Gun Rights.

The Second Amendment Foundation delivered its remarks to the UN with other groups as detailed in a previous TGM stories here:  SAF, others weigh in on new round of UN gun control talks, and SAF Statement to UN Stopped by Storm, Still Carries Powerful Message. SAF also addressed the UN’s Programme of Action in August defending the human right of self-defense.

At the first committee meetings, the right to keep and bear arms in self-defense was not discussed. Canada reaffirmed the right of its citizens to own and use firearms for sporting purposes. The delegates focused primarily on consensus, negotiation, and implementation. The case was made for expansion of the scope and parameters of the ATT document from July 2012. Of particular note were points made about registration, tracing, and tracking of guns and ammunition. An official version of the meeting is available here.

The draft ATT in July didn’t win any acclaim from any Second Amendment or self-defense rights groups. That’s not stopping NGO’s like Control Arms from claiming the July draft of the ATT was “missing pieces.

The following are statements from the Defense Small Arms Advisory Council (DSAAC), the World Forum on Shooting Activities (WFSA), the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute (SAAMI), the Manufacturers Advisory Group to the World Forum on Shooting Activities, and the International Committee of Museums and Collections of Arms and Military History.

TheGunMag and IAPCAR were among the first to make the July 24 initial draft and final UN ATT proposal publicly available. More information about the ATT will be reported as it becomes available on TheGunMag.com, SAF.org, and IAPCAR.org.

Statement of the Defense Small Arms Advisory Council

First Committee of the United Nations General Assembly

29 October 2012

Thank you, Mister President, for the opportunity to offer remarks from the perspective of an industry that manufactures military small arms and light weapons to enable states to meet their legitimate national security and law enforcement requirements and does so in strict compliance with the most demanding and rigorous export licensing system in the world.  We believe that a legally binding Arms Trade Treaty that subjects all military arms manufacturers and exporters world-wide to a similar level of regulation can be of benefit in combating the armed violence caused by the absence of common standards governing the international trade in military weapons.  It is difficult to ignore the fact that the vast majority of states currently lack even the most rudimentary export licensing systems, much less comprehensive ones with correspondingly effective enforcement mechanisms.  The ATT was, we thought, to begin addressing that lack.

From our perspective as observers of the negotiations conference in July, it appears that the chief obstacle to achieving consensus on an effective treaty text was the insistence by some on creating an overly broad document, one that went well beyond the committee’s mandate, irrespective of the fact that such language was unlikely to ever be agreed and, even if agreed, effectively carried into force.  A treaty can be likened to a vessel: it can carry only so much freight and attempting to overload it with too many things that, although desirable to some are objectionable to others, poses the risk of sinking it.  In July, the vessel was overloaded and nearly sank; fortunately, it was still tied to the pier and may yet set sail, once the excess weight is removed.

It is our understanding that the sole purpose of the ATT is to legally compel state-parties to adopt procedures for determining if a proposed export of military arms meets basic, internationally agreed standards.  Treaty language that is narrowly focused on achieving that single purpose is, we believe, well worth working for and still well within reach.  It is to be hoped that future negotiations retain that focus and that the perfect—in the eyes of some—does not once again become the enemy of the good.

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Statement From: Manufacturers Advisory Group

Ted Rowe, Chairman

Mr. Chairman:

I am Ted Rowe, Chairman of the Manufacturers Advisory Group to the World Forum on Shooting Activities (WFSA). Speaking on behalf of the world’s leading manufacturers of civilian firearms and ammunition, we must insist on the recognition of civilian possession and ownership of firearms and ammunition in accordance with national law.

Unless and until the United Nations in its various proposals recognizes the right of lawful civilian ownership and possession of firearms, we will continue to use all efforts necessary to have civilian ownership recognized by the United Nations, and we will continue to oppose those proposals that do not recognize this right.

The Arms Trade Treaty to be negotiated in March of 2013 should clearly indicate that the small arms included are for military use and that civilian firearms are to be excluded.

The Program of Action as it evolves should also recognize the legitimate, legal use of firearms by civilians as well as their right to own and possess firearms within their national laws.

It is interesting to note that each and every member state of the United Nations is a legitimate importer of civilian firearms and ammunition. These imports are not for the military! These imports should not be subject to or included within an Arms Trade Treaty.

Civilian use of firearms is seen internationally in Olympic Games, in hunting around the world, in sport shooting and in recreational use.

Finally, Mr. Chairman, there is the human right of self-protection and self-defense and the need and use of firearms to fulfill that right. This right is indisputable and is documented throughout history.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman

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Statement from World Forum on Shooting Activities (WFSA)

UN General Assembly First Committee

October 29, 2012

Mr. Chairman, I am Herbert Keusgen, the President of the World Forum on Shooting Activities.   We represent the hundreds of millions of hunters, sport shooters and civilian firearms owners throughout the world.  The WFSA is an ECOSOC NGO and has participated in UN meetings relating to small arms and light weapons for fifteen years.

Today I would like to make three brief comments, reflecting the views the civilian firearms community, on the Programme of Action, the possible Arms Trade Treaty and ISACS.

On the Programme of Action, Mr. Chairman, we continue to remain disappointed that the POA has failed to recognize the legitimacy and utility of civilian firearms ownership. Mr. Chairman, there seems to be a continuing misconception on the part of the UN and supporters of the POA, that civilian firearms are a bad thing.  Sixty percent of the small arms in the world are legally owned by civilians. These arms are not a problem. The problem lies with inadequate control of military arms.

Mr. Chairman, let’s say something positive. At the last week’s UN meeting on the UN Firearms Protocol in Vienna there was an acknowledgment of the legitimacy of civilian firearms use. This was a positive step and we commend this action.

Mr. Chairman, in regard to a possible Arms Trade Treaty, we continue to be told that the intent of an ATT is only to control military small arms. Therefore, we request the UN to state this in such an ATT in clear and unmistakable language. For example, it could use the definition of SALW used by Germany, and I quote:

Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW), are weapons and weapon systems which were originally manufactured or which were rebuilt according to military standards and requirements for use as war matériel. 

This would clearly exclude civilian firearms from the scope of the ATT.

Mr. Chairman, the ATT has been extremely politicized in one particular jurisdiction. This is a question of perception, Mr. Chairman.  As long as the ATT is perceived, let me underline perceived,  as affecting  civilian firearms, it will not be accepted or ratified in that jurisdiction.  This situation can be changed by the specific exclusion of civilian firearms that we have suggested.

Mr. Chairman, let me briefly comment on International Small Arms Control Standards or ISACS.  We are extremely disappointed in the ISACS process. If the POA has had a bias against civilian firearms, ISACS has been almost overtly anti-civilian firearms. The ISACS process has failed to respond appropriately to the legitimate concerns and requirements of the civilian user community and the firearms manufacturers. This must change, Mr. Chairman.

Let me conclude, Mr. Chairman, by saying that notwithstanding our criticisms today we remain willing to cooperate on all fronts and venues whether it be the POA, the Firearms Protocol, the ATT or ISACS. We can be a valuable ally to efforts that address the problems of misuse or a steadfast opponent of any effort that restrict the lawful use of civilian firearms.

For further information contact Thomas Mason at +1 503 998 0555 or tlmorusa@aol.com .

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United Nations General Assembly, 67th Session

First Committee

New York, 1 November, 2012

Statement by Richard Patterson, Managing Director

Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute, Inc

Thank you, Mr. President, for the opportunity to speak today.  My name is Richard Patterson.  I’m the managing director of the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute–also known as SAAMI.  Since 1926 we have created the safety and reliability standards for the design, manufacture, transportation, storage and use of firearms, ammunition and components. We are an accredited standards-setting organization.  Whether you realize it or not, every country in this room benefits from our standards.  Firearms and ammunition that follow SAAMI standards are being used in every corner of the world to promote peace, enhance economic stability, responsibly manage wildlife populations, provide recreation, teach life-skills, promote the camaraderie of sporting competition, and protect lives.

The small arms issue is complex, since small arms are tools that can be used for the greater good of humanity, and misused by those who choose to commit acts of violence.  Because of this duality, uninformed decisions can cause more harm than good.

SAAMI has at its disposal many of the world’s leading ballisticians, structural engineers, chemists, statisticians, logistics experts, and metallurgists specializing in firearms and ammunition.  We are in the unique position of providing valuable technical, factual, and science-based input into the small arms discussion and debate.  We also have access to the real-world practical knowledge of the major manufacturers of firearms, ammunition and components, meaning we can add a practical perspective to the debate.

We welcome the opportunity to share our expertise and experience.  We would like to participate in any discussions resulting from the PoA call for a technical and industry working group and—for that matter—in any other discussions on this important issue.

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Statement From: The International Committee of Museums and Collections of Arms and Military History (ICOMAM)

2012/10/24

Mr. Chairman:

I am Ken Smith-Christmas, representing ICOMAM, The International Committee of Museums and Collections of Arms and Military History.  ICOMAM is an organization with approximately 260 institutional and individual members in some 50 countries, and includes such museums as the Royal Armouries in England, the Royal Dutch Army Museum, the Royal Belgian Army Museum, and the Smithsonian Institution. For the past fifty-five years, we have served as the advocate for museums around the world that specialize in arms and military history.  We are an international committee of ICOM, the International Council of Museums, which works closely with UNESCO.

Nearly every history museum on earth has firearms in its collections.  Most of these arms are antique, or, by their historical association, are considered to be curios.  Many of them are inoperable relics, due to their physical condition. Some are excavated, archaeological, material. The ability to acquire and exchange them is essential to the scientific, cultural, and economic functioning of our museums. We are concerned that the provisions of the Arms Trade Treaty will affect these types of firearms.  For instance, under proposals currently being reviewed, a museum would have to seek the permission of the exporting country, the importing country, and the transit countries to acquire and transport an antique arm or weapon, even for a temporary loan or a research project.

We submit that antique arms and museum weapons pose no threat to anyone. Rather, they are part of our common cultural heritage and current regulatory structures are adequate to control them.  Additionally, in today’s climate of constrained budgets, it is an unnecessary financial burden on museums and governments to require stringent controls over the antiques, curios, and relic arms commonly found in museums.

In short, we believe that there is simply no need for antique and museum arms and weapons to be included within the scope of an Arms Trade Treaty. We therefore request that they be exempted from the scope of any Treaty.

Thank you.

Russia to toughen gun laws?

Thursday, November 15th, 2012

Original Story Via:  English.ruvr.ru

Russia’s government is prepared to toughen gun laws after a Moscow lawyer Dmitry Vinogradov killed six of his colleagues in the Rigla office shooting spree.

Opponents to the new legislation claim that it will make life difficult for law abiding citizens but will not stop potential shooters.

Eighteen year-olds are too young to carry guns, even traumatic pistols, believe police and MPs. Russia’s Interior Ministry has prepared a draft law increasing the age for carrying a gun from 18 to 21, banning traumatic guns in public places and making a bullet casing database for all types of civilian arms, not only rifles.

The law also envisages tougher handgun permit procedure. Russia’s Duma deputy-speaker Sergey Zheleznyak believes that the measures will reduce the number of crimes involving guns but they still need reinforcement.

“We should also boost police and public security services and use the Safe City monitoring system and CCTV. More attention should be paid to extremists statements in social networks and blogs. That Vinogradov published a manifesto before the rampage where he wrote that hates all humankind.”

However, some people claim that Russia’s gun laws are already strict enough and new measures are odd and unlikely to prevent crimes similar to the Rigla shooting as Vinogradov wasn’t a youngster but a 30-year old who was carrying a long rifle which is actually banned.

International experience shows that gun bans don’t stop killers but deprive people of self-defense measure, says Gun Rights activist Maria Butina

“We know of dozens of massacres without fire arms. There were kitchen knives in China and lighters in Korea. If a criminal wants to, he can use anything. What I find wrong is to deprive law abiding citizens of self-defense.”

Rights to carry guns as well as migration and multiculturalism issues will be wrangled over forever. Its supporters and opponents refer to culture, traditions and statists. The latter says that legal gun owners commit a petty number of gun crimes.

However, everyone shares one stance – legal responsibility for illegal use of any firearms should be toughened.

UK: SAS War Hero Jailed for Possessing “War Trophy” Pistol

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

Original Story Via:  The Telegraph

By

Sgt Danny Nightingale, a special forces sniper who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, was sentenced to 18 months in military detention by a court martial last week.

His sentence was described last night as the “betrayal of a war hero”, made worse because it was handed down in the run-up to Remembrance Sunday.

Sgt Nightingale had planned to fight the charge of illegally possessing the 9mm Glock.

But his lawyer said he pleaded guilty after being warned that he could otherwise face a five-year sentence.

The soldier had hoped for leniency given the circumstances. At the court martial, even the prosecution described him as a serviceman of exemplary character, who had served his country for 17 years, 11 in the special forces.

The court was told that he returned to Britain in a hurry after two friends were killed in Iraq, leaving his equipment — including the pistol — to be packed up by colleagues.

It accepted evidence from expert witnesses that he suffered severe memory loss due to a brain injury.

Judge Advocate Alistair McGrigor, presiding over the court martial, could have spared the soldier prison by passing a suspended sentence. Instead he handed down the custodial term.

Sgt Nightingale and his family chose to waive the anonymity usually given to members of the special forces.

His wife, Sally, said her husband’s sentence was a “disgrace”. She called him a “hero who had been betrayed”. She said she and the couple’s two daughters, aged two and five, faced losing their home after his Army pay was stopped.

The soldier’s former commanding officer and politicians have called for the sentence to be overturned.

Lt Col Richard Williams, who won a Military Cross in Afghanistan in 2001 and was Sgt Nightingale’s commanding officer in Iraq, said the sentence “clearly needed to be overturned immediately”.

He said: “His military career has been ruined and his wife and children face being evicted from their home — this is a total betrayal of a man who dedicated his life to the service of his country.”

Patrick Mercer, the Conservative MP for Newark and a former infantry officer, said he planned to take up the case with the Defence Secretary. Simon McKay, Sgt Nightingale’s lawyer, said: “On Remembrance Sunday, when the nation remembers its war heroes, my client — one of their number — is in a prison cell.

“I consider the sentence to be excessive and the basis of the guilty plea unsafe. It is a gross miscarriage of justice and grounds of appeal are already being prepared.”

In 2007, Sgt Nightingale was serving in Iraq as a member of Task Force Black, a covert counter-terrorist unit that conducted operations under orders to capture and kill members of al-Qaeda.

He also helped train members of a secret counter-terrorist force called the Apostles. At the end of the training he was presented with the Glock, which he planned to donate to his regiment as a war trophy.

But in November 2007, two of Sgt Nightingale’s closest friends, Sgt John

Battersby and Cpl Lee Fitzsimmons, were killed in a helicopter crash. He accompanied both bodies back to Britain and helped arrange the funerals.

In Iraq, his equipment was packed by colleagues, one of whom placed the pistol inside a container that was sent first to the SAS regimental headquarters in Hereford, then to his home where it remained unopened until 2010.

In 2009, Sgt Nightingale, now a member of the SAS selection staff, took part in a 200-mile fund-raising trek in Brazil. He collapsed after 30 miles and fell into a coma for three days.

He recovered but his memory was severely damaged, according to two expert witnesses, including Prof Michael Kopleman of King’s College, London, an authority on memory loss.

In May, 2010, Sgt Nightingale was living in a house with another soldier close to the regiment’s headquarters when he was posted to Afghanistan at short notice.

During the tour, his housemate’s estranged wife claimed her husband had assaulted her and kept a stash of ammunition in the house. West Mercia Police raided the house and found the Glock, still in its container.

Sgt Nightingale’s court martial did not dispute that the pistol had been a gift. It accepted statements from expert witnesses, including Dr Susan Young, a forensic psychologist also from King’s College, London. She said that he probably had no recollection that he had the gun.

The court also accepted that Sgt Nightingale had suffered severe memory loss. But the judge did not believe that he had no recollection of being in possession of the weapon.

VIDEO: Gun owners feel forced to defy laws in Mexico

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

Original Story Via:  AZFamily.com

[kml_flashembed publishmethod="static" fversion="8.0.0" movie="untitled.swf" width="400" height="300" targetclass="flashmovie"][/kml_flashembed]

Will the Arms Trade Treaty Suppress Second Amendment Rights?

Tuesday, November 13th, 2012

Original Story via:  Townhall.com

Leah Barkoukis
Blogger, Townhall.com

The first round of UN Arms Trade Treaty talks may have fallen apart at the month-long conference held in NYC this past July, but as Ted Bromund over at Heritage noted at the time, “Now that the concept of the ATT has been invented, it cannot be uninvented. There are too many countries and too many left-wing nongovernmental organizations that want a treaty.” He was right and as Katie reported last week, it didn’t take very long to initiate another attempt. One question she raised in her post deserves more attention: “Is the argument from the U.N. that it won’t suppress Second Amendment rights an honest one?” And what about the Obama administration’s argument that they “will not accept any treaty that infringes on the constitutional rights of our citizens to bear arms”?

Given our president’s feelings about our right to bear arms and his track record on gun control, the ATT has become an issue deserving very close attention.  Americans shouldn’t find comfort in assuming that for UN treaties to take effect, a two-thirds majority in the Senate is necessary. In a separate article Bromund notes that this understanding of the way treaties work is far too simplistic. I’d recommend reading that article in its entirety but to summarize:

“So, in the context of the ATT, if this conference produces a treaty that is open for signature, President Obama may sign it immediately. The U.S. will then hold itself to be under a legal obligation not to defeat the ATT’s “object and purpose.” The interpretation of this phrase will rest with the State Department’s lawyers, perhaps in a way directed by subsequent legislation, whose decisions cannot be predicted and are not easily subject to legislative oversight.”

Americans also shouldn’t be quick to believe the UN’s claims that the ATT will not infringe on Americans’ Second Amendment rights. A report by the UN Coordinating Action on Small Arms titled “The Impact of Poorly Regulated Arms Transfers on the Work of the UN,” recognizes, on the one hand, that states have a right to “individual or collective self-defense” and that “the ATT does not aim to impede or interfere with the lawful ownership and use of weapons.” Yet on the other hand it states that because of the problem of diversion, or the transfer of weapons to the illicit market, “the arms trade must therefore be regulated in ways that would…minimize the risk of misuse of legally owned weapons.”

The Obama administration has also echoed claims that the ATT will not pose a threat to domestic gun owners. A Washington Times editorial sees right through it, however:

“It is hard to take the White House response seriously. The treaty instructs countries to“take the necessary legislative and administrative measures, to adapt, as necessary, national laws and regulations to implement the obligations of this treaty.” The agreement’s language is so broad, vague and poorly defined it could be stretched in a variety of ways that would pose a threat to the Second Amendment.”

In the end, of course, this treaty will do absolutely nothing to stop violence, terrorism and intra-state conflicts as its backers contend. The logistics alone are impossible and the fact that the Obama administration is agreeing to come together as equals with dictatorial regimes like Iran – a country which, by the way, received a top post at the July conference – is unconscionable.

So should we believe the administration (and the UN) when they assure Americans the ATT will not suppress our Second Amendment rights? And moreover, that they will not sign one that does? The administration’s keen interest in the treaty alone is cause for concern, but even more telling is when the adage ‘actions speak louder than words’ is applied to the Obama administration’s record. From Obamacare to Benghazi – honesty and transparency have not been their strong suits. Finally, the soaring gun sales in Obama’s first term and skyrocketing gun stocks since his reelection may tell you everything you really need to know about whether Americans take the administration at their word.

Wave of violence sweeps over ‘Alpha World City’ in spite of restrictive gun laws

Monday, November 12th, 2012

Original Story Via:  David Codrea, Gun Rights Examiner

“A rising wave of violence” has resulted in 140 deaths in Sao Paulo over the past two weeks, Associated Press reported yesterday. Citing Sao Paulo’s Public Safety Department, the report states killings “sharply increased in September” with 144 homicides, tallying the total for the first nine months of the year at 982, including “90 police officers, most of them gunned down while off duty.”

Reports of terrible violence are hardly new, as a Gun Right Examiner column from April 2011 about a mass shooting in Rio de Janeiro reported, along with the telling fact that “Although Brazil has 110 million fewer citizens than the United States, and more restrictive gun laws, there are 50 percent more gun deaths; other sources indicate that homicide rates due to guns are approximately four times higher than the rate in the United States.”

As for those gun laws, there’s a telling workaround with similarities to what’s been noted in “restrictive” Mexico:

Other guns used to commit crimes come from police and military arsenals, either stolen or sold by corrupt soldiers and officers.

The fact is, Brazil could be looked at as a laboratory of sorts to help determine the effectiveness of citizen disarmament proposals being made for the United States under the guise of “common sense” measures that promise to reduce the violence.

A summary of Brazilian gun laws provided by GunPolicy.org, no neutral party in the debate but one that “With its partners and contributors … promotes the public health model of firearm injury prevention, as adopted by the United Nations Programme of Action on illicit small arms,” and is a committed proponent of global norms on government monopolies of violence.

What they reveal about the laws under which this renewed “wave of violence” is occurring is also telling: that in spite of licensing, registration, background checks, training requirements, permissions, proof of “genuine reasons,” reapplication and re-qualification requirements, a minimum purchase age, ammunition controls, restrictions on the number of guns licensed dealers may sell individuals within a given time period (with more lax rules for “retired military officials and non-commissioned officers,” naturally, waiting periods and penalties including prison and a fine for illegal gun possession, authorities have no idea how many unauthorized guns are in circulation, with estimates anywhere between 3.8 and 9.5 million.

In spite of all this, the tide of blood keeps rising, and not just in any city, but in San Paulo, a designated “Alpha World City,” that is, “an important node in the global economic system.” So naturally, Brazil is a big proponent of a “strict” and “universal” United Nations Arms Trade Treaty.

This latest wave puts the Brazilians hot on the heels of top Alpha Chicago as they continue to refuse to accept that those living in soaring fantasy dreams are in for a rude awakening when terrible reality can no longer be denied.

SAF blasts Obama support for UN Arms Trade Treaty day after election

Monday, November 12th, 2012

Original Story Via:  Human Events

By: Neil W. McCabe
11/11/2012

The leader of America’s oldest gun rights legal foundation Nov. 7 called out President Barack Obama for his support of the United Nations Small Arms and Light Weapons Treaty the day after the election.

“It’s obvious that our warnings over the past several months have been true,” said Alan Gottlieb, founder and executive vice president of the Second Amendment Foundation, based in Bellevue, Wash.

Less than 24 hours after winning re-election, the Obama’s administration joined with China, France, Germany and the United Kingdom, and more than 150 other governments, in supporting renewed debate on the proposed United Nations arms trade treaty, confirming the worst fears of the American gun rights community,” said the founder of SAF, which was in 1974, and which 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.

“Just days ago as he campaigned for re-election,” he csaid. ”Barack Obama told his supporters that voting is the ‘best revenge.’ I guess now we know what he was talking about. The revenge he seeks is against American gun owners and their Second Amendment rights.”

“The election was called about 11 p.m. Tuesday and by 11 a.m. this morning, we got word that the United States was supporting this resolution. We have to be more vigilant in our efforts to stop this proposed treaty,” he said.

The vote came at the U.N. General Assembly’s meeting of the First Committee on Disarmament at the world organization’s headquarters in New York City.

According to a State Department webpage devoted to the Arms Trade Treaty, the Obama administration strongly supports the treaty potential.

“The ATT should include all advanced conventional weapons, including tanks, armored combat vehicles, artillery systems, military aircraft, military helicopters, naval vessels, missiles, missile launchers, small arms and light weapons, and combat support equipment. It should also include parts, components, and/or technology to manufacture, modify, or repair the covered items,” the webpage said.

Julianne Versnel, the SAF operations director, who has been back and forth to the United Nations over this proposal, said the fight is not finished.

The measure will be considered for finalization in March, she said.

“We will continue to monitor this issue and oppose any effort to enforce a global gun control measure,” she said.

Amnesty International issued a statement Wednesday lauding passage of the resolution, saying the treaty will protect human rights, she said.

Suzanne Nossel, executive director of Amnesty International USA, said, “Today’s vote is step one toward a hugely meaningful human rights victory. We will be urging the United States and all other countries to keep today’s momentum going towards the final passage of the first arms trade treaty.”

Nossell said the 157 governments at the U.N. General Assembly’s First Committee on Disarmament in New York voting to finalize Arms Trade Treaty in March is a breakthrough.

“It’s the greatest show of support the treaty has ever received,” she said.

“Among the ‘big six; arms-exporting countries, only Russia abstained from voting,” she said. China joined France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the USA in supporting the resolution.

Gottlieb said Amnesty International does not appreciate that gun rights are enshrined in the Bill of Rights.

“The right of self-defense is a human right,” he said.

“In this country, the Second Amendment protects that right,” he said.

EDITORIAL: Gun ban back on Obama’s agenda – More flexible administration revives U.N. arms treaty

Friday, November 9th, 2012

Original Story Via: The Washington Times

That didn’t take long. Less than a day after President Obama’s re-election, the administration breathed new life into the United Nations‘ previously comatose treaty regulating guns.

Last July, the U.N. General Assembly began formal discussion of the Arms Trade Treaty, which seeks to establish “common international standards for the import, export and transfer of conventional arms.” Talks on the controversial agreement were put on indefinite hiatus after the United States requested an extension to the time allotted to negotiate the agreement. Gun rights supporters blasted the treaty as it inched toward approval, and many suspected U.S. procedural maneuvers were intended to delay the treaty so it wouldn’t become a topic of discussion during the election. It appears these suspicions were correct since “indefinite” turned out to mean until hours after Mr. Obama was re-elected.

The administration line is that the treaty applies only to firearms exports and poses no threat to domestic gun owners. “We seek a treaty that contributes to international security by fighting illicit arms trafficking and proliferation, protects the sovereign right of states to conduct legitimate arms trade, and meets the concerns that we have been articulating throughout,” an administration official said. “We will not accept any treaty that infringes on the constitutional rights of our citizens to bear arms.”

It is hard to take the White House response seriously. The treaty instructs countries to “take the necessary legislative and administrative measures, to adapt, as necessary, national laws and regulations to implement the obligations of this treaty.” The agreement’s language is so broad, vague and poorly defined it could be stretched in a variety of ways that would pose a threat to the Second Amendment. Treaty backers also want to insert provisions forcing ratifying states to promote a variety of fashionable left-wing causes including “sustainable development,” even though they have nothing to do with the arms trade.

Though the treaty is supposed to be about “gun exports,” its provisions can still be applied domestically. Activist judges adjudicating cases arising under the treaty and enabling legislation could see to that. The definition of international commerce could follow the same expansive logic liberal courts have used to redefine “interstate commerce.” Anything that indirectly or incidentally affects the trade in arms would fall under its control.

A ratified treaty, with constitutional authority, could be interpreted in a way that applies to any imported weapon or round of ammunition, those made with foreign components, those containing imported materials, those that might some day be exported, and those capable of being exported. If it affects the overall arms market, it could be said to be part of “international” trade, even if the item never leaves our shores. In practice this logic would give the government free rein to regulate all weapons, foreign and domestic. With the election out of the way, the White House can move swiftly to get the treaty through the U.N. General Assembly and up to the Senate by the summer of 2013. Elections have consequences.

The Washington Times

(AUDIO) Gun Rights Policy Conference Panel: Global Gun Control

Friday, November 9th, 2012

Original Story Via: TheGunMag.com

The 2012 Gun Rights Policy Conference was held in Orlando, Florida and jointly hosted by the Second Amendment Foundation (www.saf.org) and the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (www.ccrkba.org). Follow news related to the UN ATT at IAPCAR.org.

“Global Gun Control, Down But Not Out”

Gary Burres of LSSA (00.00-06.05)

Sheldon Clare of NFA (06.06-13.14)

Gen. Allen Youngman of DSAAC (13.15-23.52)

 

Drive for defensive gun rights is spreading around the globe

Friday, November 9th, 2012

Original Story Via: TheGunMag.com

by Joseph P. Tartaro

Executive Editor

The debate over the right of law-abiding citizens to possess firearms for defense of self, family and property is not an exclusive American phenomenon.

The subject is currently hot in Russia, in India, in the Philippines, and almost any country around the world.

The self-defense argument seems to be gaining ground worldwide even as more and more Americans seem to be joining the gun owner community and opposing additional gun laws. Further evidence of this people-driven movement comes from the Ukraine, once one of the Soviet Socialist republics, but now an independent democracy.

On Oct. 2, Ukrinform, the Ukrainian Nation News Service, reported that “after numerous stories of armed attacks, especially after the tragedy in the Karavan mall, where guards appeared to be vulnerable to an armed criminal, Ukraine is again discussing the issue of weapons.”, TSN reported.

Days earlier, one man opened fire killed three security guards at the Karavan Mall in Kiev.

“In many countries around the world, any adult citizen can buy a pistol or revolver, TSN noted, as it reported that the legal ownership of firearms has been proposed in the Ukrainian Parliament, and not for the first time, “The draft law, which would make it easy to buy a gun, has undergone the first reading and caused a heated debate,” the report said.

One of the authors of the bill, Member of Parliament Vasyl Hrytsak, believes that after the tragedy in Karavan, there will be more supporters for his legislation. “I think now we have to realize: this is the question of security of citizens,” he said.

Today, the right to guns is a privilege of just some of the Ukrainians: people’s deputies, law enforcement officers, judges and journalists, TSN reported. The essence of the MP’s proposal is simple: any Ukrainian who has no problems with the law and mental health may be authorized to purchase a gun.

The report did not discuss whether the proposal would legalize possession in a home or business, or allow the right to carry outside the home.

The law does prescribe scrutiny by law enforcement before a firearms purchase is authorized.

However, opposition seems to be stoked by some in the Ukrainian mental health community. One so-called expert, who reportedly has been studying the consciousness of the Ukrainians for many years, believes that in the current situation it is hard to establish effective control over arms trafficking.

It is even harder to guarantee the Ukrainians’ responsible attitude to arms, such experts claim. According to the psychologist’s forecasts, people with mental health problems, which are often difficult to see from the first sight, will immediately line up for revolvers and pistols.

“Let even the tenth part of these people are unbalanced, this will be enough for people to start shooting at each other. For example, at a neighbor who listens to loud music, or at a passer-by who turned in a wrong way,” Vadym Vasiutynsky, head of the laboratory at the Institute of Social and Political Psychology, warned.

Mass murder incidents in the US, where the Ukrainian media claims that free sale of weapons is permitted, from time to time there are shootings at school, at work or at the cinema.

Psychologists predict that if this law takes effect in Ukraine, it will be impossible to avoid such tragedies.

The Ukrainian debate over legalizing firearms ownership for any citizen who is not disqualified is far from over and it appears that if the current proposal is rejected, the Ukrainian people will continue to pursue a legal right to arms for self-defense.

U.N. CELEBRATES OBAMA RE-ELECTION BY PUSHING GLOBAL GUN CONTROL

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

Less than 24 hours after winning re-election, President Barack Obama’s administration joined with China, France, Germany and the United Kingdom, and more than 150 other governments, in supporting renewed debate on the proposed United Nations Arms Trade Treaty, confirming the worst fears of the American gun rights community.

The vote came at the U.N. General Assembly’s meeting of the First Committee on Disarmament at the world organization’s headquarters in New York City.

“It’s obvious that our warnings over the past several months have been true,” said Alan Gottlieb, founder and executive vice president of the Second Amendment Foundation. “The election was called about 11 p.m. Tuesday and by 11 a.m. this morning, we got word that the United States was supporting this resolution. We have to be more vigilant in our efforts to stop this proposed treaty.”

SAF Operations Director Julianne Versnel, who has been back and forth to the United Nations over this proposal, said the fight is not finished. The measure will be considered for finalization in March 2013.

“We will continue to monitor this issue and oppose any effort to enforce a global gun control measure,” she stated.

Amnesty International issued a statement Wednesday lauding passage of the resolution, saying the treaty will protect human rights.

“The right of self-defense is a human right,” Gottlieb countered, “and in this country, the Second Amendment protects that right.

“Just days ago as he campaigned for re-election,” he concluded, “Barack Obama told his supporters that voting is the ‘best revenge.’ I guess now we know what he was talking about. The revenge he seeks is against American gun owners and their Second Amendment rights.”

UN ATT: REACHING FOR RESET?

Tuesday, November 6th, 2012

New Coalition Says Current Draft Arms Trade Treaty Would Be Worse For Humanity

By Jeff MORAN | Geneva

An informal coalition of prominent academics, researchers, and advocates in the fields of international human rights law and small arms control policy-making condemned the 26 July 2012 draft United Nations (UN) Arms Trade treaty (ATT) on 30 October. [1]

According to statements made, the draft ATT is absolutely unacceptable and adopting it without substantial changes would be worse for humanity than if there was no ATT at all.  They expressed their  position during a news briefing at the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights, where they discussed the publication of “Academy Briefing #2: The Draft Arms Trade Treaty.” [2]

The formal official authors of the publication were Dr. Stuart Casey-Maslen, a Research Fellow at the Geneva Academy, and Ms. Sarah Parker, a Senior Researcher at the Small Arms Survey.  The authors coordinated with and received input from representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Saferworld, and Oxfam. [4]

This is a significant  development in humanitarian advocacy designed to influence the unfinished UN ATT negotiations process, which is expected to formally re-open where it left off and run for 10 days under consensus rules from 18-28 March 2013. [3]  The  condemnation may embolden states aligned with Mexico to kill consensus and to take the ATT negotiations outside the UN.  This would amount to hitting the reset button and clearing the way for a more controversial treaty to be adopted under  less rigorous two-thirds majority rules. [5]

Dr. Stuart Casey-Maslen was unable to be present for the news briefing due to a family emergency and so was unavailable for comment.  Dr. Casey-Maslen was a member of the Swiss delegation to the ATT negotiations.  He was also on the ICRC delegation to the Oslo Diplomatic Conference in 1997 that adopted the 1997 Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention, which was a treaty that was developed outside the UN system and championed mainly by non-governmental organizations.

Ms. Sarah Parker sat in Dr. Casey-Maslen’s place and has been a member of the Australian delegation during the UN ATT process.  Ms. Parker was joined by Mr. Gilles Giacca who is a researcher and Ph.D. candidate at the Geneva Academy.  The news briefing was led by Dr. Andrew Clapham, co-Director of the Geneva Academy and author of several books on international humanitarian law.

 

News Briefing Details

Dr. Clapham opened the news briefing, and then passed the floor to Mr. Gilles Giacca who spoke for about six minutes.  This was followed by Dr. Clapham again for about 15 minutes.  This left over 30 minutes for a lengthy question and answer session where nine questions were answered.  The briefing was attended by over 100 people.  One professional reporter self-identified and asked the first question at the end.

Mr. Gilles Giacca first provided some historical context and motivations for the ATT.  He then listed international instruments and declarations designed to increase controls over small arms and light weapons, to reduce arms related violence worldwide:

1.  UN Program of Action on Small Arms,

2.  UN Firearms Protocol,

3.  The UN International Tracing Instrument, and the

4.  Geneva Declaration on Armed Violence and Development.

Then he discussed the main challenges for the negotiations of the ATT so far:

1.  Defining the scope of the weapons to be regulated by the ATT.

2.  Defining the criteria to be used to condition authorized international transfers of weapons subject to the ATT.

3.  Defining the monitoring, compliance, reporting and implementation mechanisms of the ATT, for such things as the provision of victim assistance.

4.  The US insisting on negotiating by consensus rules, and so creating the option for a single country to “spoil” the treaty.

5.  The large gap between two main camps: those who want a narrow scope treaty, and those who want a broad scope treaty.

After Mr. Giacca concluded, Dr. Andrew Clapham opened his comments by stating that the ATT should be an instrument “to prevent arms from fueling human rights violations or violating international humanitarian law.”  He went on to state “what’s at stake here, I think, is that the treaty has a number of flaws or loopholes in it.  And if it were going to be adopted in current form, arguably it could be worse than no treaty.”

Dr. Clapham said further that in various places the ATT appeared to set the bar lower than existing international standards, and that this would amount to a step backwards, or a “retrogression in international standards” as is stated in the Academy Briefing. [6]

He then detailed his main problems with the draft ATT, though he elaborated many problems as discussion developed into the question and answer period.  His short-hand for three main problems were: 1) the complicity problem, 2) definition of war crimes, and 3) the balancing problem.

1.  Complicity Problem.   This criticism focused on Article 3, paragraph 3 and specifically cited the text “A State Party shall not authorize a transfer of conventional weapons within the scope of this Treaty for the purposes of facilitating the commission of genocide, crime against humanity…” Here Dr. Clapham stated that the “for the purposes of facilitating” is too high a standard and is essentially not in line with international customary law.  He said there should be an awareness test or a knowledge test, but not a purpose test. [7]

2.  Definition of War Crimes.  This criticism focused on Article 3, paragraph 3.  In short he stated that limiting war crimes to “grave breaches” of the 1949 Geneva Conventions or serious violations of Common Article 3 of those Conventions would exclude most violations that are thought to be occurring in Syria, violations such as the disproportionate targeting of civilians. [8]

3.  The Balancing Problem.  This criticism focused on Article 4, paragraph 5.  His basic point was that the use of the term “overriding” implied a balancing of peace and security v. human rights violations.  He further stated that that if the “overriding” language was kept in the treaty, and if the common understanding by diplomats was that there should be a balancing of peace and security v. human rights violations, this would be “a step backwards” because “it takes away the idea that human rights are something absolute, that there can be no violations under any circumstances.”  He suggested using other words such as “substantial risk,” “clear risk,” or even “overwhelming risk.” [9]

Other issues Dr. Clapham addressed in passing were:

4.  The treaty scope (e.g. the exclusion of tear gas and rubber bullets for example).

5.  Ambiguity about the definition for ammunition, munitions.

6.  Ambiguity about the definition of trade (e.g. does it include state gifts and loans?)

 

Observations & Other Discussions

Most of the discussion was about loopholes and weak ATT language with respect to promoting human rights.  The news briefing seemed at times, however, to be a public lamentation with the United States essentially blamed first for insisting upon consensus rules at the outset of the negotiations process in 2009, and then spoiling the draft treaty by creating the “balancing problem” between human rights and state security. [10]

While Dr. Clapham acknowledged the ATT as a “trade” and “export” treaty at one point, his commentary was delivered as if the treaty was designed purely to serve as an instrument of global civil society improvement, one that is too important to be frustrated in any way by others concerned about national sovereignty, security, and business interests, and/or the principle of individual right to armed self-defense.

The speakers were clearly frustrated with the draft ATT, and the negotiations process to date.  It was not clear if this was indicative of  just a distaste for the messy multilateral reality of accommodating diverse state interests, an acquired disdain for those diplomats and delegations guided more by how the world is rather than how the world should be, or both.

Yet the mood was not entirely down.  The room became guardedly positive when talk turned to the taking the ATT negotiation process outside the UN, to “do it right” as Mr. Giacca said on the Geneva Academy ATT Legal Blog post that was projected onto the wall behind the stage during the news briefing. [11]  This discussion thread developed in response to a question about the probability of Mexico, for example, leading a push to take the ATT outside the UN.

In response to this question, Dr. Clapham reframed the ATT as a once in a lifetime opportunity to save humanity from rights abuses, and implied that he and others like Dr. Keith Krause  (the Founding Director of the Small Arms Survey, also seated in the audience) were hoping to get a good ATT done “on their watch.”

But Dr. Clapham acknowledged a certain level of fatigue may set in and that diplomats and some humanitarian groups might just settle for a lowest common denominator to get the ATT done.  He went on to state however that “there’s a good chance, that if people realize they are going to get something which is worse than nothing…and if the Mexican leadership…has the stomach for this, it could get taken outside the UN.”  He went on to say this would allow for an ATT text to be approved “with only a two-thirds  majority and we’d arguably get a much better text.” Sarah Parker, and Gilles Giacco also commented on this situation as well.

The discussion got pessimistic again when Dr. Krause actually took the floor to make comments about Article 4 and the national assessment provisions.  He essentially declared that the draft ATT, without fundamental changes, could result in a “pretty instrument that actually doesn’t change anything that actually happens in the world.”  The reasoning being that weapons transfers would be subject to national assessment without any meaningful way for non-governmental organizations and other states to legally challenge a State’s own assessment process and decisions to export/transfer arms abroad, and this, in his words, would be “tragic.”  Dr. Krause seemed to offer that another good reason to take the ATT outside the UN system would be for “limiting the scope of malicious interpretation” of the ATT by state parties.

Sarah Parker, who works for Mr. Krause at the Small Arms Survey, then explained how provisions for increased accountability and transparency on national assessment could be added through an implemented “ATT system” when the “political climate” was better, eventually, after countries become “more comfortable” with the ATT’s obligations.   She elaborated that a State’s own national assessment decisions could be made subject to legal challenges in international courts.

Dr. Clapham even suggested how reports from Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch could eventually precipitate court-ordered injunctions halting government arms exports / transfers provided that campaigners and advocates first help bring about appropriate controlling national legislation.  Dr. Clapham and Ms. Parker were presumably referring to more politically open states only, and the United States especially.

At the end, Ms. Parker importantly clarified that the ATT is not about creating a new tier of illegal transfers.  Rather, “the ATT is introducing a new tier which is where [some] arms transfers are considered irresponsible, and therefore illegal.”

 

Looking Forward

Dr. Clapham, Mr. Giacca, Dr. Krause, and all seemed hopeful for an ATT negotiated outside the UN system (i.e. without consensus rules, with fewer countries required for an ATT to enter into force, with higher standards, broader scope, better text overall etc).  [12]  Ironically for them and like-minded partners at the ICRC, Oxfam, and Saferworld, realizing these hopes now seems best assured if nations don’t reach consensus at the UN ATT Conference in March.

Will humanitarian rights groups and sympathetic state delegations help move the UN ATT Conference talks forward by consensus, or will they act to kill consensus themselves?

Deliberately killing consensus will hit the ATT reset button and would be hypocritical at the very least, particularly since such groups were the first to accuse the United States and others of doing this in July. [13]  Regardless of who might kill consensus in March, doing so will certainly lead to further institutional division within the international system.  With Syria now in a full civil war, and the risks of major regional conflict accelerating, more division seems the last thing the world now needs.

 

Indexed Audio

The downloadable audio for this conference is just under 53 minutes and 7MB.   It is complete except for the first few minutes of introductions.  The only edits made to the audio file were to enhance voice and minimize noise.  This said, there are some points where noise may make it difficult to clearly understand speakers.  You can download it here.

00:00 – 05:47 | Presentation by Gilles Giacca
05:48 – 20:18 | Presentation by Dr. Andrew Clapham
20:19 – 21:04 | Question 1 and response (on the United States creating the “balancing problem”)
21:05 – 24:13 | Question 2 and response (on violence against women provisions)
24:14 – 26:41 | Question 3 and response (on implications for private military companies)
24:42 – 27:37 | Question 4 and response (on conflicts between an ATT and international law)
27:38 – 33:13 | Question 5 and responses (on taking the ATT outside the UN system)
33:14 – 34:25 | Question 6 and responses (on individual and business applicability)
34:26 – 36:15 | Question 7 and comment by Keith Krause (on national assessments)
36:16 – 39:09 | Dr. Clapham response to Keith Krause (on national assessments)
39:10 – 41:02 | Sarah Parker comments to Keith Krause (on national assessments)
41:03 – 42:08 | Dr. Clapham second response to Keith Krause (on national assessments)
42:09 – 44:43 | Question 8 and responses (on the definition of authorization)
44:44 – 52:06 | Question 9 and responses (on legitimating the arms trade and exporting to third parties)
52:07 – 52:51 | Dr. Clapham clarification about transfers to third parties, and close)

 

About The Author

Jeff Moran, a Principal at TSM Worldwide LLC, specializes in the international defense, security, and firearms industries.  Previously Mr. Moran was a strategic marketing leader for a multi-billion dollar unit of a public defense & aerospace company, a military diplomat, and a nationally ranked competitive rifle shooter.  He is currently studying international law of armed conflict with the Executive LL.M. Program of the Geneva Academy.  Earlier this year he completed an Executive Master in International Negotiation from the Graduate Institute of Geneva.   Mr. Moran also has an MBA from Emory University’s Goizueta Business School and a BSFS from Georgetown University’s Walsh School of Foreign Service.

 

End Notes

[1]  The first session of the UN ATT Conference was held from 3 -28 July and ended with no action on the final draft treaty dated 26 July 2012.  A .pdf version of this draft ATT is available here.

[2]  The Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights website is here.  According to the back of the briefing cover, the Geneva Academy “provides post-graduate teaching, conducts academic legal research, undertakes policy studies, and organizes training courses and expert meetings;” and “concentrates on the branches of international law applicable in times of armed conflict.”  A .pdf of the Academy Briefing is available in here.

[3] A draft resolution before the First Committee of the United Nations is available at here.

[4]  The stated authors of the briefing acknowledge collaboration from Roy Isbister, Claire Mortimer, and Nathalie Weizmann on the front inside cover of the Academy Briefing.  These individuals are well-known representatives of Saferworld, Oxfam, and the ICRC respectively.  While a disclaimer states the views expressed “do not necessarily reflect those of the project’s supporters or of anyone who provided input to, or commented on, an earlier draft,” previous public statements by these individuals  indicate strong concurrence with the briefing by these individuals and their respective employers.  You can learn more about the Small Arms Survey here.

[5]  Mexico is most likely to lead the effort to reset the ATT negotiations outside the United Nations based on its prior statements and actions during ATT negotiations process since 2009.  At the conclusion of the UN ATT Conference in July, they spoke on behalf of 90 countries signaling a clear willingness represent the interests of other like-minded states.  A .pdf of this statement is available here.

[6] “Academy Briefing No. 2: The Draft Arms Trade Treaty.”  Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights.  30 October 2012.  Page 31.

[7] Ibid., page 23.

[8] Ibid., page 23.

[9] Ibid., page 25.

[10]  Mr. Giacca made reference to the problem of consensus rules and the US  insistence on them in his remarks.  A .pdf of the press statement announcing the US support for the ATT negotiations with consensus rules is available here.  Dr. Clapham specifically identified the US as creating the balancing problem when answering the first question from the audience.  You can hear this starting at 20 minutes and 19 seconds in the audio file referenced above.

[11] A .pdf of the blog post presented during the news briefing is available here.

[12] Among the people making comments at the news briefing, Ms. Parker was alone in declaring her preference for a treaty by consensus through the UN system.

[13] Here are links to press releases from Reuters, Oxfam, Amnesty International, and Control Arms. Sources last accessed 5 November  2012.

First Published: 5 November 2012
Last Updated: 5 November 2012

Online republication and redistribution are authorized when this entire publication (including byline, hyper-links, and Indexed Audio, About the Author and End Note sections) and linkable URL  http://tsmworldwide.com/reaching-for-reset/ are included.

(VIDEO) CANADA: Good riddance, gun registry!

Monday, November 5th, 2012

Original Story Via:  Sun News Canada

Brian Lilley talks to Conservative MP Gary Breitkreuz about the destruction of the long-gun registry data.

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Canada: Conservatives defy UN gun controls

Monday, November 5th, 2012
Original Story Via:  cnews.canoe.ca

By Mark Dunn, Senior National Reporter

Rifle enthusiasts celebrating the destruction of most long-gun registry files last week have more to cheer about after the government again deferred a plan gun-control advocates say would combat illegal arms trafficking.

Opponents argue the United Nations protocol signed by a previous Liberal government would drive up the cost of guns by as much as $200 apiece, killing jobs and creating more red tape in an already overregulated industry.

Proponents argue ignoring the framework is a step backwards to trace traffickers of guns to civil wars and Third World conflicts – some of which end up in the hands of local criminals.

The protocol – on hold until December 2013 – would require all imported guns to be marked with the name of the country and year of import. It’s at least the fourth time the government has punted the regulation since taking office in 2006.

QMI Agency learned of the latest postponement after obtaining a briefing note to Conservative MPs from Public Safety Minister Vic Toews dated Nov. 2.

Toews said he is listening to sports-gun owners, retailers, distributors and importers who say the cost to engrave importation markings on new firearms would come after the manufacturing process and be passed down to buyers.

“We have heard the concerns and will not be moving forward until consultations have occurred,” caucus was told.

The Canadian National Firearms Association (NFA) welcomed the delay.

“There was significant concern in from both firearms businesses and members of the firearms community as well as many MPs about the need to go forward with a regulatory scheme brought in by a previous government when that scheme would add significant cost to products and damage the economy of an already over-regulated business,” said NFA president Sheldon Clare.

A spokesperson for the Coalition For Gun Control wouldn’t comment, but on its website the anti-gun lobby suggests the government has no intention of ever complying.

“After eliminating registration and records of sales, Canada has now eliminated yet another tracing mechanism for firearms and appears to have given up completely complying with the UN Firearms Protocol and with providing police with effective ways to trace guns found in crime and fight illegal gun trafficking.”

UK Parliament – A Polite Mad Hatters Tea Party

Friday, November 2nd, 2012

Original Story Via: TheyWorkForYou.org

Firearms Controls

Grahame Morris (Easington, Labour)

I am grateful for the opportunity to raise this issue; I know that a number of right hon. and hon. Members on both sides of the House are interested in this subject.

In the early hours of the new year, I was greeted in my constituency by the shocking news that four people had lost their lives in a shooting in the close-knit former mining community of Horden. They were Susan McGoldrick, 47, her sister Alison Turnbull, 44, and niece Tanya Turnbull, 24, as well as the gunman, Michael Atherton, 42, who turned the gun on himself.

Following the shooting, I called for a calm and measured response, but the high emotions at the time were not conducive to constructive debate. In the months that followed, I had the opportunity to meet family members on a number of occasions. They have acted in a considered and dignified manner throughout, and looked for practical improvements that will hopefully avoid such tragic circumstances, and such a tragedy, befalling another family.

A public debate on firearms licensing is still needed, and the time is right for the public and Parliament to consider whether the current level of protection is adequate. It is said that Britain has some of the toughest gun control laws in the world, but we should not be complacent. Current firearms laws consist of 34 separate pieces of legislation, which is complex and difficult to navigate for the police and the public. The Home Office’s official police guidance is more than 200 pages long. The rules are difficult to interpret, and their application can vary greatly across the 43 police forces responsible for issuing firearms licence certificates.

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Photo of Keith VazKeith Vaz (Leicester East, Labour)rose —

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Photo of Grahame MorrisGrahame Morris (Easington, Labour)I will give way to my right hon. Friend, the Chair of the Home Affairs Committee.

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Photo of Keith VazKeith Vaz (Leicester East, Labour)I congratulate my hon. Friend on securing this debate. He will know that it is two years since the Home Affairs Committee published its report on firearms control and suggested that the 34 pieces of legislation be codified. Does he agree that it is now time to bring those pieces of legislation together, and make it clearer for people who have applied for and received licences, and for those who seek to get one?

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Photo of Grahame MorrisGrahame Morris (Easington, Labour)I am grateful for that intervention; it was delivered with some authority and I completely agree. The Home Affairs Committee investigation and report into firearms control urged the Government to codify and simplify the law, introduce one licensing system to cover all firearms, and strengthen the current safeguards.

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Photo of David TredinnickDavid Tredinnick (Bosworth, Conservative)I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for kindly giving me leave to intervene in his Adjournment debate. I wish to raise the issue of the Olympics, and the inability of our pistol team to train in the UK. Does he agree that although we must

consolidate the legislation and perhaps ensure that it works more effectively, we should go back to Lord Cullen’s original suggestion, which would allow gun clubs to keep disabled pistols, so that we can train Olympic athletes of the future in this country?

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Photo of Grahame MorrisGrahame Morris (Easington, Labour)The hon. Gentleman raises an interesting point and I will come to some suggestions about how we might address that issue.

The Association of Chief Police Officers firearms and explosives licensing working group has called for a single form of certificate that

“remains desirable for safety and economic reasons”.

In terms of public safety, and in contrast to a section 1 firearm, shotgun applicants are not required to demonstrate a good reason for wanting a shotgun. I believe it important that people demonstrate that they have a need or use for a firearm, before they are granted a licence.

In evidence to the Home Affairs Committee, Mrs Gill Marshall-Andrews of the Gun Control Network said:

“The starting point should be that guns are lethal weapons and the onus should be on the applicant, somebody who wants to own a gun, to prove that they are”

a fit person to have one.

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Photo of Ian MearnsIan Mearns (Gateshead, Labour)I congratulate my hon. Friend on securing this debate. The House should be concerned about firearms licences and licensees. Just after the summer, it was reported that no fewer than 3,000 legitimately owned and licensed firearms were reported lost, missing or stolen in the previous 12 months.

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Photo of Grahame MorrisGrahame Morris (Easington, Labour)That alarming statistic is one of a number that should exercise the minds of hon. Members, and it adds weight to the need for a full public debate.

It should no longer be acceptable to have a shotgun without a good reason. A good reason would have to be demonstrated by the same criteria that current firearms certificate holders must meet. Good reasons for holding shotgun licences include dealing with vermin or game, target shooting at an approved venue or club, or for professional use in employment, but evidence is needed to justify those reasons. It is difficult for many, including me, to comprehend why someone would need access to firearms in a domestic setting when there is little need for immediate access to a weapon.

One of the greatest weaknesses identified by the shooting fraternity is the variation in standards across police forces. For that reason, a national licensing authority has been proposed to provide central oversight, and to ensure the consistent application of licensing procedures. Such an authority would also have the advantage of removing the police from the administrative aspect of firearms licensing, and will allow them instead to focus on the enforcement of gun controls. The financial burden of the licensing regime could also be removed from the police while ensuring that public safety remains paramount. In evidence to the Home Affairs Committee, Bedfordshire police presented a cost analysis that showed that the firearms application fees in place since 2000 never represented the true cost to the forces processing applications. Rather than the current firearms certificate fee of £50, a fee of £150 has been proposed. I am not advocating that—an appropriate fee could be determined by any new central licensing authority.

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Photo of Jim SheridanJim Sheridan (Paisley and Renfrewshire North, Labour)I perhaps should know, so my hon. Friend might have to excuse my ignorance, but does the proposed legislation cover air guns, which can be just as dangerous?

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Photo of Grahame MorrisGrahame Morris (Easington, Labour)There are concerns across the piece. Whether air guns are covered depends on the definition of air gun, but I hope to come to that in a few moments if my hon. Friend bears with me.

Public safety must be the primary aim of gun control legislation, but it is clear that the police, in view of significant budget cuts, can no longer afford to subsidise the licensing system. We heard in the debate a few moments ago of hon. Members’ concerns about 20% cuts in police budgets in their areas.

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Photo of Ian LaveryIan Lavery (Wansbeck, Labour)I congratulate my hon. Friend on securing this debate, which is on an emotive point for him. Does he agree that all aspects of firearms control should be a major concern and top of the agenda for prospective police and crime commissioners?

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Photo of Grahame MorrisGrahame Morris (Easington, Labour)My hon. Friend makes a good point. We are only a few weeks away from the elections for police and crime commissioners. I have discussed the issue with Ron Hogg, who is a PCC candidate in County Durham, and who has some expertise in the matter. It is important that this is a local priority, but I also suggest that we should have a national framework laying down guidelines—something stricter than guidelines, in fact—to be applied evenly. Part of the problem is that we have a patchwork of arrangements.

We cannot do firearms licensing on the cheap at the risk of compromising public safety. There is also a strong case for strengthening the link between the licensing authority and medical professionals when considering an application or a renewal of a firearms certificate. We need early and proactive intervention when a firearms holder’s mental and physical health deteriorates.

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Photo of Chris WilliamsonChris Williamson (Derby North, Labour)I congratulate my hon. Friend on securing this important debate. Does he agree that public safety would be improved if a prohibition was placed on the private storage of firearms in people’s homes, if people with a firearms certificate were subject to an annual medical test to assess continually whether they were a fit and proper person to hold one, and if a public register was available so that the general public knew who had access to a firearm? The atrocities that we see are often committed by people who have been deemed a fit and proper person when originally given a firearms certificate.

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Photo of Grahame MorrisGrahame Morris (Easington, Labour)That is a good point well made.

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Photo of Karl McCartneyKarl McCartney (Lincoln, Conservative)Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

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Photo of Grahame MorrisGrahame Morris (Easington, Labour)I will respond to the last intervention, and then I will take another one. I do not intend to declare war on the armed wing of the Tory party. I am not opposed to shooting per se. I am saying that people should be able to demonstrate a clear legitimate need before a firearms certificate or shotgun licence is issued.

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Photo of Karl McCartneyKarl McCartney (Lincoln, Conservative)I commend the hon. Gentleman for some of the points he has raised, but I find the naivety of the previous intervention worrying, because producing a public register of those who own any sort of firearm might be a thief’s charter. I would like to know what experience of shooting or holding a firearm or shotgun licence he has.

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Photo of Grahame MorrisGrahame Morris (Easington, Labour)I have no experience. I have never held or shot a gun, but I have experience of a terrible tragedy in my constituency on new year’s day. I am attempting to share my experience with Members and to advocate having a review in the interests of public safety.

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Photo of Jim ShannonJim Shannon (Strangford, DUP)I thank the hon. Gentleman for the balanced way he is approaching this subject. I am concerned that the focus seems to be on legitimate firearms holders, the majority of whom are law-abiding. Will he reassure sporting Members and others throughout our local communities who enjoy the sport that this debate is not going down the road to remove firearms from those who have a legitimate right to hold them?

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Photo of Grahame MorrisGrahame Morris (Easington, Labour)I hope I have made that point. I am not proposing that people with a legitimate need to hold firearms, such as farmers and so on—there is a whole list of such people—are not allowed to hold them. That need should be declared as a reason for holding a certificate, and the police or the licensing authority would take it into account.

In a case in my constituency in 2008, Michael Atherton had his weapons revoked following threats to self-harm, and issues relating to mental health and gun ownership were also a factor in the case of Christopher Foster, who shot his wife, his daughter and himself after confessing suicidal thoughts to his GP.

I understand that the Association of Chief Police Officers and the British Medical Association have an agreement whereby the police alert GPs to any new applications and renewals of firearms licences. However, concerns remain where an applicant fails to disclose full and accurate medical information at the time of application or renewal. Applicants are required to provide a number of medical details, including whether they suffer from any

“medical condition or disability including alcohol and drug…conditions”.

They also have to declare whether they have ever suffered from epilepsy or been treated for

“depression or any other kind of mental or nervous disorder”.

However, that information is not routinely checked. Licensing officers approach medical professionals only when there are doubts about an applicant’s medical history, although Dr John Canning—again, giving evidence to the Home Affairs Committee on behalf of the BMA—stated that GPs are “not very often” asked to provide medical evidence, although it happens “from time to time”.

Following the case of Christopher Foster, the Independent Police Complaints Commission proposed in 2008 that the licensing force should be required to approach the applicant’s doctor in each case, in order to obtain confirmation that the medical information provided

in the application was correct. The omission of information from a firearms application was also an issue in the case of Mark Saunders in 2006, which ended in him being killed by the Metropolitan police. Mr Saunders failed to declare during the application process that he had been treated by a consultant for depression and for his tendency occasionally to drink more than was sensible—indeed, he had been referred by his GP. Unfortunately, on his application for a firearms licence he stated that he had no such health problems.

In my view, the solution is to ensure that each applicant knows that licensing officers will approach their GP as a matter of course to verify statements made on their application about their health, to ensure they are correct and accurate. My proposal would address failures by an applicant to disclose any medical problem that raises questions about their suitability to own and have free access to a firearm. Finally, I call for greater consultation between the licensing authority and those who are or have been a domestic partner of a potential applicant. A similar system is already in place in Canada, where all citizens applying for a firearms licence are required to have their present and past partners in the previous two years sign their application. Refusal to sign for any reason does not automatically mean that the police and licensing authorities will veto an application, but it will trigger further investigation by law enforcement officers. The Canadian requirements merit further exploration, and I would appreciate it if the Minister informed the House of any progress made on this matter.

There has been no knee-jerk reaction. These proposals are considered, practical measures that, if implemented, could allow the consistent application of firearms legislation, strengthen existing safeguards and ensure public safety while maintaining the rights of the shooting fraternity to have access to firearms where there is a good and legitimate purpose for their use.

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7:38 pm
Photo of Damian GreenDamian Green (Ashford, Conservative)I congratulate Grahame M. Morris both on securing the debate and on the tone in which he has addressed this issue, following the tragic events in his constituency. The shootings he talked about shocked the whole country. Obviously our thoughts remain with the family and friends of the victims. I agree with him: it is right that Government and Parliament should reflect on what lessons might be learned from these fortunately rare, but nevertheless tragic events, and how best we can protect public safety. I and the whole House—indeed, it is good to see so many people at an Adjournment debate—share his view that we need to approach the issues in a calm and measured way.

As the hon. Gentleman will be aware, Durham constabulary has asked the Independent Police Complaints Commission to investigate the events leading to the shootings. There has not yet been a coroner’s inquest into the deaths. Because of the investigation and a future inquest, the House will appreciate the need for me to avoid saying anything that might be prejudicial in relation to the circumstances of this case.

I understand that there have been complexities with the IPCC investigation, although it is working through those matters as fast as possible and the investigation is

now close to completion. The final report is now being finalised and it will be shared with the families shortly. Publication of the report will, however, depend on the time scales for the inquest and the wishes of the coroner. The Government will consider carefully the results of the inquest and of the IPCC investigation, paying careful attention to any specific recommendations that they might make and any implications for wider firearms policy, to which I will now turn as I try to address the specific points that the hon. Gentleman has raised.

The Government have always made it clear that controls on firearms should be targeted fairly and proportionately, and that they should strike the right balance by securing public safety without bearing down unnecessarily on legitimate users. With this in mind, I have arranged meetings with a range of stakeholders since assuming responsibility for this work. I met Deputy Chief Constable Andy Marsh, the Association of Chief Police Officers’ lead on firearms, this week, and we discussed a number of the issues that the hon. Gentleman has raised today.

Following the tragic shootings in Cumbria in 2010, the Government undertook to take a fresh look at firearms law and subsequently considered the recommendations of the Home Affairs Select Committee, which looked comprehensively at the whole range of issues. The Government published our response to the Committee’s report in September 2011. Our response sets out a number of commitments in response to the Committee’s recommendations. The Government will update the Committee, and the House, shortly on progress on those recommendations.

As the hon. Gentleman has said, it is generally recognised that the UK has comparatively low levels of gun crime, and some of the strictest gun laws in the world. It is true that these laws are complex, and I would therefore like to give a brief overview of the main controls that are in place. There are two main categories of firearms licensed by the police. First, there are those that are controlled under section 1 of the Firearms Act 1968. They are typically target shooting rifles and rifles used for hunting or vermin control. The second category is shotguns, typically used by farmers and for clay pigeon shooting. Both are possessed by means of separate certificates that are valid for five years. There is a third category of firearm, generally referred to as prohibited weapons, and these can be possessed only with the written authority of the Secretary of State.

My hon. Friend David Tredinnick raised the issue of training for Olympic pistol shooters. In advance of the London games, the Home Secretary provided an exemption for this third category of firearms to allow the Team GB shooting team to train here. She is currently in the process of issuing new authorities to British pistol squad members to train for the 2014 Commonwealth games. This is of course subject to the usual checks on applicants and to ensuring that training is confined to suitably secure ranges. The Government will look at arrangements for the 2016 Olympic games in due course.

The hon. Member for Easington raised concerns about how the licensing process operates. I would like to say something about the processes involved—again, without making reference to the specific circumstances of this case. The procedures are similar for the issue of a shotgun certificate but there are some material differences.

First and foremost, the police must be satisfied that the applicant can be trusted to possess shotguns without danger to public safety. Unlike with section 1 firearms, the applicant does not have to show good reason to have a shotgun, but the police may refuse to grant a certificate if they are satisfied that he has no good reason to have one. This is a different control, but it still allows the police to refuse applicants who have dubious reasons for wanting shotguns.

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Photo of Ian MearnsIan Mearns (Gateshead, Labour)I raised a point with my hon. Friend Grahame M. Morris about the number of firearms that have been lost or stolen in the past year. I understand that the figure was about 3,000. In the light of that, would the people who have lost their firearms or had them stolen have their licences reviewed?

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Photo of Damian GreenDamian Green (Ashford, Conservative)That would be a matter for the individual force concerned. It is clearly a matter that the police forces that do the licensing, who are responsible and sensitive about these things, would take serious note of.

The hon. Member for Easington mentioned national control of firearms and the proposal for a national licensing authority. There is a danger that a central authority might lose touch with the sort of local information that the police need. In his report on the Dunblane tragedy, Lord Cullen recommended that licensing functions should remain with the police. Previous suggestions to replace the current police licensing system with a central civilianised licensing authority have been rejected as more costly and less efficient than the present system.

Although the Government are not in favour of a national firearms control board, the Home Office guidance to the police on firearms legislation—the hon. Gentleman mentioned it, and it is indeed long and complex—is being revised and updated to help ensure that licensing procedures are applied consistently across forces. This is an important piece of work, responding directly to the Home Affairs Select Committee’s wish for more consistency. In particular, we will highlight the need to take full account of any incidences of domestic violence when considering applications for the

grant or renewal of certificates. The comments that I have heard this evening will be particularly pertinent to that.

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Photo of Tessa MuntTessa Munt (Wells, Liberal Democrat)Does the Minister agree that cost is not an issue here? Where people use firearms for recreation, there is no excuse whatever for the process to be subsidised. It is not a matter of cost; it is purely a matter of process—and the costs should be covered by those who require a licence.

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Photo of Damian GreenDamian Green (Ashford, Conservative)The ultimate driver, frankly, is safety; that is what underlies the system. On the issue of cost, the Home Office has received a detailed report from ACPO proposing new firearms fees to allow forces to recover the cost of firearms licensing. In considering the proposal, the Government will look both at the quality of service licence holders receive, which is relevant, and will discuss with ACPO the scope for making some of the current processes more efficient and effective. That will take into account the need to manage risk and ensure public protection.

As we indicated in our response to the Select Committee, we do not consider that separate licensing for shotguns and firearms is causing difficulties. Applying a good reason test in the same way for both categories could be problematic. For example, unlike target shooters, shotgun owners do not always belong to clubs that could vouch that they had shot regularly. However, I assure the House that we will keep this issue under review. As I indicated earlier, the local police must satisfy themselves that an applicant for a certificate is fit to be entrusted with a firearm, and will not present a danger to public safety. This is a particularly heavy responsibility and sits right at the heart of the licensing process. Such is the basis of my discussions with ACPO.

One of the most important points raised by the hon. Gentleman was about the need for medical checks on those who have access to firearms. I completely agree that it is important that the police are made aware of medical conditions that affect a person’s suitability to possess firearms. Both the hon. Gentleman and I will therefore—

House adjourned without Question put (Standing Order No. 9(7)).

UPDATE: UN Arms Trade Treaty

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

By Philip L. Watson

Julianne Versnel of IAPCAR and SAF last week at the UN Conference of Parties

Executive Director

The evolution of the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) from the “Firearms Protocol” and the “Programme of Action on Small Arms and Light Weapons” (PoA) for more than a decade continues despite the failure to reach agreement on the ATT this last July.

On October 15-19 the “Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime” was held in Vienna Austria. IAPCAR’s Julianne Versnel and Alan Gottlieb attended the meeting via the WFSA on behalf of the Second Amendment Foundation. In the past, the UN’s “Conference of Parties” has served as a bureaucratic and educational platform supporting the Firearms Protocol, the Programme of Action, and the ATT.

At this meeting the “illegal” trade in small arms used for sport and/or self-defense was lumped in with various forms of crime such as human trafficking, drug trafficking, terrorism, counterfeiting, and organized crime.

A resolution was passed to continue the working group’s study and recognizing the legitimacy of firearms with sporting uses.

Mexico was apparently vehement on not mentioning firearms in civilian possession. Rather, their preferred method of mentioning firearms replaces “civilian possession” with “lawful use.” This proposed verbiage would presumably give governments and the UN more authority to limit civilian use of firearms.

The Mexican delegation also hosted a side event titled “Arms Trade Treaty, Firearms Protocal and Small Arms Programme of Action: Three essential components of effective firearms control. What options for synergies?” The main stated goal of the meeting was to “establish synergies” among the UN Programme of Action on Small Arms, the Firearms Protocol, and the UN Arms Trade Treaty. During the meeting a representative from a different group advised against changing terms and contexts that had already been negotiated.

At the main meeting, a representative from Russia questioned the motives, funding sources, and accuracy of the so called “Small Arms Survey,” a yearly publication distributed by the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (GIIDS) and Cambridge Press. The 366 page tome supposedly focuses on “illicit trafficking of small arms;” however, the ‘survey’ frequently veers far off track highlighting domestic laws and issues unrelated to international affairs or the UN. The publication serves as a clear blueprint and source of skewed data for a political agenda against the civilian use of firearms.

In addition to the “Small Arms Survey,” GIIDS also frequently produces “Research Notes” and “Issue Briefs” for dissemination at UN meetings. These smaller, pithier handouts are distributed at meetings backing up the yearly ‘Survey’ to constantly reiterate their request for increased regulation on civilian arms.

The UN ATT is likely to resurface again. Overall, the goals of our opposition have not, and will not change. In the defense of the human right of self-defense, IAPCAR will continue to monitor these events closely.

 

Group petitions W.H. Smith to not treat gun magazines as pornography

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012

IAPCAR recently covered this story here and the response from W.H. Smith here.

To view or sign the online petition click on the following link: http://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/whsmiths-retract-policy-on-sale-of-shooting-magazines#supporters

Spin on ‘Gun Mags are Porn’ Backlash: ‘You’ll shoot your eye out kid’

Friday, October 19th, 2012

Original Story Via:  TheGunMag.com

“You’ll shoot your eye out kid.” A pop-culture saying attributed to the classic American holiday movie A Christmas Story.

Earlier this week, mainstream news outlets surveyed a policy by a large UK retail book store W.H. Smith of treating gun and hunting publications the same as pornography.

The policy prompted a response from the International Association for the Protection of Civilian Arms Rights (IAPCAR) denouncing the move by the bookstore. Some blogs and other news outlets picked up the story and W.H. Smith is now attempting to do some damage control.

An official response from W.H. Smith (read below) essentially tries to pass the buck. The excuse was that in the past some of the magazines allegedly offered free deals on “firearms related products” that may be illegal to sell to youngsters in the UK.

What are these horrible and dangerous items in question? Well, stuff like BB pellets, and knives. Granted knives can be lethal; however, if a youngster wanted to acquire a knife the first place they would probably look is the family kitchen.

As another olive branch, the official statement offered that the policy is not new. An odd way to justify the policy and ignore the entire underlining principles of the matter.

The official statement is below:

“Our till prompt process has been in place for over 6 years and has never previously generated any customer complaints. In this respect, we have made no recent changes to these procedures. The introduction of till prompts with regards to certain shooting titles originated from the fact that a number of these publications included ‘cover mounts’ attached to the front of the magazine, that have historically included certain firearm related products. With regard to the application of these procedures across our store chain, these till prompts have only been applied to a section of gun related and shooting titles, in respect of a limited number of publications. 

We continually look at all store procedures, including the use of till prompts,  to determine whether they are appropriate in light of changing customer needs, legislative amendments and other regulatory monitoring. Our desire going forwards is to work more closely with the shooting magazine publishers to address the concerns that have been highlighted by all of the customers who have recently contacted us, in order to ensure that appropriate monitoring procedures can be applied, prior to these publications being sent to the store for placing on sale.”

SPSC/IAPCAR Shooting Event A Success

Friday, October 19th, 2012

–Photos and Notes from Christian Werbik, SPSC Director–

SPSC – Sport & Practical Shooting Club, located in Upper Austria and consisting of 35 some members, recently hosted an exceptional shooting event:

Only civilian-legal semi-automatic rifles were allowed – no bolt action ones. This is somewhat unique, as only very few semi-auto rifles are approved by Austrian authorities, e.g. Steyr AUG-Z, Oberland Arms OA-15 Austria, H&K SL6. In order to purchase such a rifle in Austria, law-abiding citizens need either a firearm possession license or a concealed carry permit. With 21 participants and the proceeds to be donated to IAPCAR, Austrian shooting enthusiasts can speak of a successful day! Firearms legislation in Austria, measured against Central European standards, is still considered ‘reasonable’ by many. However, preserving the human right to keep and bear arms on an international level is crucial to any sport shooter, hunter, arms collector and re-loader.

How the 2012 UN Arms Trade Treaty Conference Really Died

Thursday, October 18th, 2012

(H/T Jeff Moran, TSM Worldwide)

By Jeff Moran | Geneva

Advocacy and diplomatic discussions started again last week with the opening day of the UN General Assembly First Committee meetings.[1]  These meetings end on 6 November 2012 (Election Day in the United States), and  follow-up the failed United Nations (UN) Conference in July to formally negotiate by consensus a legally binding Arms Trade Treaty (ATT).[2]

Contrary to prevailing reportage and opinion, the UN ATT Conference was less a failure in diplomacy, or a victory by the firearms industry and the National Rifle Association for that matter, than it was the result of abortive advocacy lead by the UK-based Control Arms campaign and its unrealistically expansive vision for a more extreme trade treaty than consensus could sustain.[3]

The Control Arms vision for the ATT encompasses 14 specific treaty issue areas under three categories: Scope, Transfer Criteria, and Implementation.  Scope issues areas include Ammunition, Brokering/Dealers, Other Conventional Weapons, and Small Arms/Light Weapons.  Transfer Criteria issue areas include Armed Violence, Corruption, Gender-based Violence, Human Rights, International Humanitarian Law, and Socio-Economic Development.  Implementation issue areas include Final Provisions, Implementation, Verification, and Victim Assistance.

The Control Arms vision across these treaty issue areas can be found on their subsidiary armstreaty.org website.[4]  The details of their ATT vision are quoted below:

1.  Ammunition.  Including in the scope of the ATT all “ammunition, munitions, and explosives.”

2.  Brokering/Dealers.  Including in the scope of the ATT brokering and dealing.  “Brokering generally refers to arranging or mediating arms deals and buying or selling arms on one’s own account or for others, as well as organizing services such as transportation, insurance or financing related to arms transfers, and the actual provision of such services.”

3.  Other Conventional Weapons.  Including in the scope of the ATT “all conventional weapons, related components and production equipment, beyond Small Arms and Ammunition” which are “covered by the 7 categories in UN Register of Conventional Arms and of other conventional weapons, components and equipment.”

4.  Small Arms/Light Weapons.  Including in the scope of the ATT “conventional weapons that can be carried by an individual or a group of individuals (including revolvers, machine guns, hand-held grenade launchers; portable anti-aircraft and anti-tank guns and missile systems; and mortars of calibers less than 100 mm. etc).”

5.  Armed Violence.  Including as a parameter of the ATT “provisions to restrict transfers that could provoke, fuel or exacerbate armed conflict and armed violence.”

6.  Corruption.  Including as a parameter of the ATT “provisions to restrict transfers that could exacerbate or institutionalize ‘corruption’ or ‘corrupt practices’. In the context of arms transfers, corrupt practices include bribing of state officials with commissions and kickbacks provided by arms producers and traders to facilitate a transfer agreement.”

7.  Gender-based Violence.  Including as a parameter of the ATT   provisions to “restrict the transfer of arms where there is a substantial risk that the arms under consideration will be used to perpetuate or facilitate acts of gender-based violence, including sexual violence.”

8.  Human Rights.  Including as a parameter of the ATT “provisions to restrict transfers when there is substantial risk that the arms will be used in serious violations of international human rights law, including fueling persistent, grave or systematic violations or patterns of abuse.”

9.  International Humanitarian Law.  Including as a parameter of the ATT “provisions to restrict transfers when there is substantial risk of the arms being used in serious violations of international humanitarian law (IHL). This assessment would include consideration of whether a recipient that is, or has been, engaged in an armed conflict has committed serious violations of IHL or has taken measures to prevent violations of IHL, including punishing those responsible.”

10.  Socio-Economic Development.  Including as a parameter of the ATT “provisions to restrict transfers that could hinder, undermine or adversely affect socio-economic development.”

11.  Final Provisions.  Including in the text of the ATT “effective implementation mechanisms of the Arms Trade Treaty, including criminalization of treaty violations and an Implementation Support Unit (ISU) to coordinate international cooperation.”

12.  Implementation.  Including in the text of the ATT final provisions and entry into force mechanisms. “Effective final provisions would not allow reservations that would be incompatible with the Treaty’s purpose. Effective entry into force mechanisms would not include a requirement for excessive number of ratifications, nor for specific states or groups of states to ratify the treaty, before it could enter into force.”

13.  Verification.  Including in the text of the ATT “effective verification mechanisms of the Arms Trade Treaty.  Effective verification includes meaningful and specific annual reporting, external referral for dispute resolution, annual meetings of states party (MSP) and five-yearly Treaty Review Conferences (RevCons), and the creation of an Implementation Support Unit (ISU) to assist with, collect and analyze reports.”

14.  Victim Assistance.  Including in the text of the ATT “the recognition of the rights of victims of armed violence and acknowledgment of States’ commitment to provide assistance to victims.”

Reaching consensus during the UN ATT Conference was certainly possible, and potentially a constructive endeavor for all nations from an interest point of view.  But consensus was not likely because a lot of countries thought aspects of the emerging ATT were potentially threatening to national sovereignty for example.[5]  Nonetheless, the popular narrative is that the United States killed the Conference when it asked for more time to consider the draft treaty on the final day of the Conference.[6]  This expedient and seemingly anti-American explanation doesn’t stand up to scrutiny, especially when you put the Conference into context and examine the armstreaty.org database about opposition to the ATT.

The relevant historical context for what happened at the Conference extends back to at least the creation of the International Action Network On Small Arms (IANSA) in 1999.  Important context also includes the recorded debate between the leaders of IANSA and the National Rifle Association in 2004 along with several formal rounds of preparatory negotiations since 2009 for example.   This is admittedly a lot of history for one to casually consider, but after surveying this period, and listening to diplomats based in Geneva, a pattern of overdone, unfocussed, and ultimately counterproductive advocacy emerges.  This appears to be due, at least in part, to self-inflicted wounds from years of overselling positions and distractive issue framing, which, in turn, appears to have damaged their credibility and cause.[7]  Ultimately, humanitarian groups, led by an unraveling Control Arms coalition, sabotaged consensus for an ATT by pushing diplomats too hard for far too much and provoked dispositive sovereignty concerns across the Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East in addition to the United States.[8]

Not only was there no consensus on the final draft ATT as a whole in those final days of the Conference, but there remains no consensus for any of the 14 treaty elements Control Arms continues to advocate for, and opposition to them is growing.  This can be evidenced in detail on armstreaty.org.[9]  While the data on armstreaty.org are not an official record of country delegation viewpoints during the final days of the ATT conference, they serve as a useful proxy indicating size, scope, and direction of opposition to the ATT as Control Arms envisions it.

Clearly, the most widely opposed ATT issue areas fall under the creation of transfer conditionality / restrictive criteria on the international transfers of arms.  The most objected-to transfer criteria remain those related to Socio-Economic Development and Human Rights.  Thirty-nine and 35 countries oppose these criteria respectively, the US not being among them.  The US opposed only three provisions cutting across treaty scope and implementation issue areas only.[10]

The accompanying table below is made from armstreaty.org data and evidences the above points.  It also conveys more important details about the lack of consensus for an ATT.  The table indicates, from a treaty content point of view, where opposition is greatest, the relative size of the opposition, and the direction of opposition since the Conference. [11]

In short, the table below helps show why the assertion that the US is mainly responsible for killing consensus at the UN ATT Conference is not only false, but absurd.  Here are nine take-aways:

1.  There are 195 total instances where a country opposes an aspect of the envisioned ATT (consensus requires zero instances or at least a willingness to no longer publicly oppose, and Control Arms attributes just  3 of these 195 to the US).

2.  There is no consensus for any of the provisions across the all three treaty issue area categories (Scope, Transfer Criteria, and Implementation).

3.  Total opposition to the Control Arms vision has actually grown in the months after the UN ATT Conference (by 12 net instances, or 7%).

4.  There is a two-way tie for issue areas experiencing the fastest opposition growth: Socio- Economic Development and International Humanitarian Law (both together account for 2/3 of the growth in total opposition).

5.  The most-opposed category of treaty issue area is Transfer Criteria (54% share of total opposition) and opposition has grown (by 11 instances, or 6%, since 29 August 2012).

6.  The most-opposed treaty issue area by country count is Socio-Economic Development (39 countries opposed).

7.  The most-opposed issue area by percentage of countries opposed (relative to total number of countries assessed) is Human Rights (33%).

8.  The least-opposed provision by country count relates to including the activities of arms Brokering/Dealing within the scope of the ATT (2 countries opposed).

9.  There is a three-way tie for the least opposed provisions by percentage of countries opposed (relative to total number of countries assessed): Brokering/Dealers, Armed Violence, and Final Provisions (all at 2% opposed).

 

Rightly understood, Control Arms’ own data help to correct the false narrative about why the UN ATT Conference failed to reach consensus this summer.  Such data clearly show that the prospects for consensus were grim at best, and are getting worse.  The data also suggest that even if the US enthusiastically embraced the final draft ATT, other countries would have probably worked together to prevent consensus anyway.

It is not a giant leap in logic to see that Cuba, Iran, or Venezuela (countries that each oppose many more treaty provisions than the US does) probably would have killed consensus themselves, especially if the United States indicated it was going to sign the treaty.  Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, for one, faced an election within months.  Being the consensus breaker would have surely boosted President Chavez’ domestic political standing, and perhaps his image as a regional guardian against outside meddling.

In conclusion, UN ATT Conference died from lack of consensus.  This death was due less to failed diplomacy, or pressure by the firearms industry and gun rights groups, than it was the result of many years of abortive advocacy lead by an unraveling UK-based Control Arms campaign.  Control Arms’  broad vision for the ATT was more extreme than consensus could sustain.  Ultimately, humanitarian groups sabotaged consensus for an ATT by pushing diplomats too hard for far too much and provoked dispositive sovereignty concerns across the Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East in addition to the United States.

Perhaps a more extreme version of the ATT will be born outside the UN altogether.  If this happens, it would likely share a destiny not unlike like the 1997 Ottawa Treaty banning anti-personnel landmines.  Ottawa was born outside the UN because an anti-personal mine ban did not get traction inside it.  Russia, China, and the United States have still not ratified or acceded to the treaty.  And while 33 other states have not ratified or acceded to the Ottawa Treaty either, supporters argue that the treaty is emerging as an international norm on its way to acquiring the force of international law over time.[12]

Most likely, within a year, the UK, the lead country responsible for putting the ATT on the UN agenda in 2006, will introduce the draft ATT to the UN General Assembly and seek signatures from countries willing to sign it as is.  Unfortunately, regardless of what course the ATT takes, moving forward with an ATT not based on consensus will only serve to divide the international community.  As the specter of major conflict looms larger over volatile regions of the world, more division is now the last thing the international community needs.

 

About The Author

Jeff Moran, a Principal at TSM Worldwide LLC, specializes in the international defense, security, and firearms industries.  Previously Mr. Moran was a strategic marketing leader for a multi-billion dollar unit of a public defense & aerospace company, a military diplomat, and a nationally ranked competitive rifle shooter.  He is currently studying international law of armed conflict with the Executive LL.M. Program of the Geneva Academy.  Earlier this year he completed an Executive Master in International Negotiation from the Graduate Institute of Geneva.   Mr. Moran also has an MBA from Emory University’s Goizueta Business School and a BSFS from Georgetown University’s Walsh School of Foreign Service. 

 

End Notes

[1]  The First Committee “deals with disarmament, global challenges and threats to peace that affect the international community and seeks out solutions to the challenges in the international security regime.”  It meets in October each year.   See http://www.un.org/en/ga/first/ for more information about this.  Opening day official statements can be found at http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2012/gadis3453.doc.htm. Oxfam International has a blog associated with this series of meetings at http://blogs.oxfam.org/en/blogs/12-10-12-fighting-arms-trade-treaty-un-general-assembly.  All links last accessed 15 October 2012.

[2]  The key deliverable from the UN ATT Conference was an unsigned final draft treaty dated 26 July 2012.  This draft is available at http://www.un.org/disarmament/convarms/ATTPrepCom/Documents/PrepCom4%20 Documents/PrepCom%20Report_E_20120307.pdf.  Last accessed 14 October 2012.

[3]  The Control Arms Campaign is the flagship civil society campaign advocating for an ATT.  It started-up in 2003 as a powerful collaboration among the UK offices of Amnesty International, the International Action Network on Small Arms (IANSA), and Oxfam International.  In addition to having been funded by a few governments, Control Arms has support from under a 100 mostly Western advocacy groups yet views itself as a “global civil society alliance.”  There are many different humanitarian groups and campaigns, but Control Arms is the biggest.  Another campaign, the Campaign Against the Arms Trade, is loud and vocal, but is not taken seriously by governments because it advocates for a total ban on the Arms Trade.

[4]  Armstreaty.org is the leading ATT negotiations tracking website created by the Control Arms campaign and the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom.  http://armstreaty.org/mapsstates.php.  Last accessed 15 October 2012.

[5]  Such views underpin many official views  found the May 2012 official UN document  “Compilation of Views on the Elements of an Arms Trade Treaty (A/CONF.217/2.” http://www.un.org/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=A/CONF.217/2.  Last accessed 15 October 2012.

[6]  Here are links to press releases from Reuters, Oxfam, Amnesty International, and Control Arms:  http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/07/27/us-arms-treaty-idUSBRE86Q1MW20120727http://www.oxfam.org/en/pressroom/pressrelease/2012-07-28/battle-arms-trade-treaty-continues-governments-opt-delay-final-deahttp://amnesty.org/en/news/world-powers-delay-landmark-arms-trade-deal-2012-07-27, and http://www.controlarms.org/battle-continues. Sources last accessed 14 October 2012.

[7]  Author conducted interviews with numerous diplomats and country delegates in and around the Geneva-based UN disarmament community in 2012.  A consistent portrait painted by them was that Control Arms campaigners exhibited a profound lack of collective unity and focus, and that messaging was  redundant, superficial, grossly insufficient to help in a technical or practical sense, and largely amounted to a waste of time even for diplomats and delegates who were sympathetic to their cause.  Additionally, Control Arms Campaigners undermined their own efforts by insisting on adding controversial provisions to the treaty, such as Victim Assistance, which made consensus all the more unattainable.

[8]   Control Arms is described as “unraveling” because, by 2012, Control Arms had essentially disintegrated as a cohesive coalition.  This appears to be a key reason for a lack of focus in campaign execution.  The proximate cause for this appears to be a case of disintegration due to interpersonal problems and hubris among its leaders, and organizational self-interest.   Amnesty International essentially left Control Arms to pursue its own agenda in 2011.  This information was corroborated by interviews with several diplomats and an interview with a professional arms trade researcher with direct knowledge of the situation and people concerned, May 2012.

[9]  TSM Worldwide LLC conducted a comparative analysis of the website using snapshots taken 29 August and 14 October 2012.

[10]  The only Scope issue area the US objected to was the inclusion of ammunition in the treaty.  The implementation issue areas the US objects to are Final Provisions and Victim Assistance.  Source: armstreaty.org.  Last accessed 14 October 2012.

[11]  The graphic represents outright country opposition to given issue areas as gauged by Control Arms only.  The totals at the bottom of the table are counts of distinct instances of country / issue-area opposition and do not reflect the count of countries opposed to the ATT as a whole.

[12]  One group is Handicap International, sponsors of the Campaign to Ban Landmines and co-winner of the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize.  http://en.handicap-international.ca/Ottawa-treaty-good-news-and-bad-news_a186.html  Last accessed 1 October 2012.

 

First Published: 17 October 2012
Last Updated: 18 October 2012

Republication and redistribution are authorized when author Jeff Moran and linkable URL http://tsmworldwide.com/consensus-killed/ are cited.