Archive for October, 2012

Gun control: Crackdown on fake arms licence makers delayed

Tuesday, October 30th, 2012
Original Story Via:  The Express Tribune
LAHORE: The city government has decided to delay a crackdown on makers of fake arms licences till it can gather more evidence on which weapons dealers are involved, The Express Tribune has learnt.

City government officials said that after Eid, they would invite holders of weapons licences made after July 2010 to get their licences verified at the district coordination officer’s (DCO) office. In July 2010, the government started issuing computerised weapons licences with watermarks and other security features.

However, the Licence Branch at the DCO’s office has confiscated some 800 fake licences in the last five months from citizens who had voluntarily come to get their licences verified. These fake licences were made after July 2010, but were prepared manually. Government officials believe that the licences were issued by licensed weapons dealers.

Tariq Zaman, the personal staff officer to the DCO, said that the city government had decided to delay a crackdown on the makers of the fake licences until it had gathered more evidence.

“Even fake licences carry the dealer’s stamp. The more licences we can look at, the more we will get to know of the arms dealers involved. The decision has been made to lodge FIRs against these dealers so we want to get as much information as possible,” he said.

He said that anyone who turned in a fake licence for verification voluntarily would not be prosecuted. But a gun owner who did not turn in their licence for verification and was later caught would be prosecuted, he said.

An official said that there were a total of 55 licensed weapons dealers in the city. He said no new arms sale licences were being issued and these licences were not transferable. He said that the city government knew of around 10 dealers who were involved in preparing fake licences for their customers.

The official said that under the rules, a new gun licence costs around Rs5,000 and the process must be initiated by the licence seekers themselves.

The licence is supposed to be ready in 45 days, but applicants usually have to wait around three months.

An official in the DCO’s office, speaking on the condition of anonymity as he is not authorised to speak to the media, said that the fake licence holders had claimed that they had obtained the licences through their arms dealers.

Most of them had paid Rs20,000 to Rs25,000 for the licences and had received them in a week.

According to the official procedure, applicants for weapon licences must first get a form, fill it out and get a picture taken at the Licence Branch.

The form must be signed by the DCO, or the official assigned the task by the DCO. The form is then sent to the capital city police officer’s office, which returns the application to the DCO.

The file is then sent to the Pakistan Security Printing Press, Karachi, where the licence is made.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 24th, 2012.

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:

CANADA: National gun-owner database lives on despite registry repeal, angering some

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012
Original Story Via:  CTV News
By Bruce Cheadle, The Canadian Press
Published Monday, Oct. 22, 2012 2:40PM CST
Last Updated Monday, Oct. 22, 2012 5:28PM CST

OTTAWA — Seven months after the federal long gun registry was repealed in every province but Quebec, a small but vocal faction of gun owners is feeling deeply betrayed by the Conservative government.

A registry of gun owners — if not their specific weapons — remains in force under federal licensing provisions that were part of the same 1995 Liberal gun control bill so loathed by the gun lobby. It’s a reality to which some sport shooting enthusiasts are just waking up.

Lloyd, a retiree in Uxbridge, Ont., said he was shocked to find a licence renewal form in his mail this summer after celebrating the official April 6 end of the federal registry.

He’s written to a Conservative MP and a cabinet minister seeking an explanation, and so far is without a response.

“I’m not planning to renew it,” said Lloyd, who asked that his full name not be published because he’s about to become an unlicensed gun owner.

“As far as I’m concerned, it’s not the law right now…. I know I’m not alone.”

Lloyd is indeed not alone — so much so that he perhaps need not fear disclosing his full name.

A Saskatoon-based organization called the Canadian Unlicensed Firearms Owners Association has been taking the fight straight to Public Safety Minister Vic Toews, whose portfolio includes the RCMP and the Canada Firearms Centre.

“Your duplicity in dealing with firearms owners seems to know no bounds,” Edward Hudson, the unlicensed group’s secretary, thundered in the opening line of a May 9 letter to Toews.

The letter, copied to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, ended several hundred words later with demands for Toews’s resignation.

Announcing oneself as a law-breaker while demanding the ouster of the public safety minister requires a certain chutzpah — especially since Toews was clearly on record describing the reality of the gun registry’s repeal.

“First and foremost, all individuals will still be required to be licensed to possess a firearm,” Toews told the House of Commons last Oct. 26 as the repeal bill was debated.

“We are committed to ensuring that only responsible and qualified individuals own firearms.”

His office did not respond to an interview request.

RCMP spokesman Sgt. Greg Cox confirmed in an email that “everyone who possesses or acquires a firearm must still be licensed to do so, whether the firearm falls into the non-restricted, restricted or prohibited class.”

“To be clear, licences for individuals must be renewed every five years, which requires that applicants for a new or renewed firearms licence be screened for criminal records, as well as provide personal references,” wrote Cox.

That information is then stored in a searchable database that police can use to help determine if weapons may be on a premise — one of many arguments used by police groups and the gun-control lobby to advocate for keeping the weapons-specific registry in place.

Gun owners must have a licence to legally buy ammunition, said Cox, and the Criminal Code includes a mandatory three-year minimum sentence for the “unlawful purchase” of ammunition.

As for any anti-licence protest movement by gun owners — whether wilfully or in the mistaken belief that licences have been repealed — Cox said there’s no evidence to date.

Citing 2011 figures, the RCMP put licence renewals at over 90 per cent “so the vast majority of firearms owners understand the difference between their firearms licence, which is a plastic photo ID card, and a registration certificate,” for firearms, said Cox.

In fact, it may still be too early to see what impact the gun registry’s repeal has had on licensing.

The most recent RCMP numbers available for this year — as of June — show 1,889,650 licensed gun owners in Canada.

That’s down more than 13,000 from December 2011, but it does not necessarily indicate a trend. In June 2011, for instance, there were 12,400 fewer licensed gun owners than in June 2012.

Gun enthusiasts complain they continue to get mixed messages from a Conservative government they’ve long felt was their champion.

Last month, Toews greeted a Quebec court ruling to preserve the registry information in Quebec with a blanket denunciation: “Our Conservative government will continue to fight against any measures that needlessly target law-abiding hunters, farmers and sport shooters.”

And so gun lobby groups continue to push the Conservatives to fully gut the licensing provisions.

Earlier this month, Sheldon Clare, the president of the Edmonton-based Canada’s National Firearms Association, or NFA, wrote Toews to “strongly recommend the repeal of the requirement to hold a firearms licence merely to own one’s own property and that limiting of access be done to those specific individuals who have been convicted of violence.”

Coupled with the well-documented unhappiness of gun control advocates at the registry’s repeal, both sides of the rancorous gun debate appear to be deeply dismayed.

Into this atmosphere of suspicion and uncertainty, a federal government that has budgeted at least $64 million for government advertising this year has committed none of it towards informing Canadians about the current reality of gun legislation.

“The RCMP has no advertising budget for the changes brought about by the recent legislation; however the RCMP (Canadian Firearms Program) website and online fact sheets have been updated accordingly,” wrote Sgt. Cox.

Spin on ‘Gun Mags are Porn’ Backlash: ‘You’ll shoot your eye out kid’

Friday, October 19th, 2012

Original Story Via:

“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.


Thursday, October 18th, 2012

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 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 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[9]  While the data on 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 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 for more information about this.  Opening day official statements can be found at Oxfam International has a blog associated with this series of meetings at  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 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] is the leading ATT negotiations tracking website created by the Control Arms campaign and the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom.  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.”  Last accessed 15 October 2012.

[6]  Here are links to press releases from Reuters, Oxfam, Amnesty International, and Control Arms:, and 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:  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.  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 are cited.

Honduras to reevaluate gun control laws

Thursday, October 18th, 2012

Original Story Via:

The Honduran government is reportedly set to conduct a review of its gun laws in an apparent effort to combat rising violence levels, though equal emphasis will need to be made on addressing endemic corruption and weak institutions to solidify any gains.

Matias Funes, a representative from the independent Commission on Public Security Reform (CRSP), said on Oct. 16 that Honduras’ gun laws are in need of urgent revision if efforts are to be made to combat the country’s endemically high level of violence, reported La Tribuna.

Security Minister Pompeyo Bonilla said the government agreed a review of the law should be undertaken and that President Porfirio Lobo had asked that he begin conducting one.

Under the existing law, citizens are allowed to own as many as five personal firearms. According to statistics released last month by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Honduras’ homicide rate for 2011 was 92 per 100,000, up from 82 the previous year.


Wednesday, October 17th, 2012

Original Story Via:

The International Association for the Protection of Civilian Arms Rights (IAPCAR) denounced a change in policy by the British book store W.H. Smith to now treat hunting and self-defense publications featuring guns the same as pornography.

Julianne Versnel of IAPCAR and SAF this week at the UN Conference of Parties meeting in Vienna Austria.

Even though youngsters under the new age requirement are permitted to hold a shotgun license, W.H. Smith’s new policy bans legitimate self-defense and hunting publications from young people under 14-years-old. The new policy also requires the purchaser show identification to purchase the magazines the same as they require for the purchase of pornography.

The new policy was backed by a group called Animal Aid, Britain’s largest “animal rights” organization. Among other beliefs, the group clams in one of its own reports that “lurid, pro-violence content” of the country’s shooting sports magazines could have a “corrosive, long-lasting effect on impressionable young minds.”

IAPCAR executive director Philip Watson denounced the store’s policy.

“Clearly this store is allowing itself to be governed by a fringe group,” Watson said. “There is no legitimate proof that censorship like this will improve a youngster’s understanding of gun safety, or self-defense and hunting. In fact, I think it will probably have the opposite effect.”

“The fact that youngsters under the age requirement to purchase these publications are permitted to license a shotgun outlines the stupidity of this new rule,” Watson concluded.

“A parent has an obligation to educate their children about the use of firearms. As a mother and gun owner, I am offended that publications about self-defense, target shooting, or hunting are being treated as pornography,” added IAPCAR Co-Founder Julianne Versnel.

The International Association for the Protection of Civilian Arms Rights ( is the only worldwide political action group focusing on the human right to keep and bear arms. Founded in 2010, IAPCAR has grown to 23 major gun-rights organizations and conducts campaigns designed to inform the public and promote the right of self-defense and gun-ownership.

Russia develops its own DARPA for advancing military hardware

Friday, October 12th, 2012

Original Story Via:

by Bob Lesmeister

National Correspondent

In the old days, it might have meant a one-way trip to Siberia for a team of engineers. Luckily, there have been some positive changes in Russia since the Soviet Union government collapsed. For example, as reported by the Russian news agency Interfax, Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev, while touring TsNIITochMash, was shown an upgraded Kalashnikov military rifle. He praised its comfortable butt stock but was not amused to find that this wonderful stock was marked “Made in Israel.”

He exclaimed, “We can make them too!” The Russian deputy prime minister overseeing the defense industry, Dmitriy Rogozin, assured him that yes they can.

“I should hope so,” grumbled Medvedev.

TsNIITochMash stands for the Central Research Institute for Precision Machine Building, a Russian industrial design bureau. TsNIITochMash is a major designer and producer of weapons for the Russian military and MVD Internal Troops. Medvedev warned that Russian arms manufacturers risk falling behind foreign competition for both military and commercial firearms and equipment. TsNIITochMash develops most cartridges, from small arms up to the 14.5 x 114 mm, a large anti-personnel/sniper round most recently integrated in Iran’s first homemade sniper rifle, the Shaher (See related TGM story.)

TsNIITochMash also develops small arms and simulators and individual field equipment for the Russian military and conducts R&D on control systems for precision-guided munitions and field artillery systems. It is also responsible for developing new materials as well.

It seems Medvedev’s major complaint is that Russian arms producers have been too inclined to rest on their laurels. “In our country, some of our well-known defense-industry enterprises, even those that have a good international reputation, sometimes reason that what we invented back in nineteen-God-knows-when is the best thing produced anywhere in the world. We cannot see anything else; we do not want to read anything else, so ours are the best arms in the world.”

Medvedev reasons that if the Russian engineers cannot invent anything new, then they will not be producing the best arms in the world. “So, one should encourage research,” he pleads. “It is a good thing that there are many doctors and candidates of science among the workforce. The main thing, however, is not even the number of people with degrees but new products.”

In order to fix the problem, Russia is developing a counterpart to America’s DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency), the agency tasked with the job of developing new materials and weapon systems. They say what goes around comes around and it couldn’t be truer in this case. Actually DARPA was established in 1958 to prevent technological surprises like the launch of Sputnik, which caught the US napping and allowed the Soviets to beat the US into space. Now, Russia is establishing its own DARPA in order to keep up with the US and other countries’ rapidly developing offense and defense systems.

In an interview on Sept. 26 with the Moscow Rossiyskaya Gazeta Online, Dmitriy Rogozin, deputy Russian Federation Government chairman and chairman of the Military-Industrial Commission, stated that Russia would have its own version of DARPA by the end of 2012. Declared Rogozin, “We have had and continue to have pilot projects in which we are not only at the level of, but also ahead of, all the rest.” He also laid a hint of things to come. “There are things to be proud of here also. It is commonly acknowledged that the air defenses of the Ground Troops are probably among (the) world’s best in terms of equipment and organization. The prototype of the fifth-generation fighter is being tested.”

According to Rogozin, Russian troops won’t be covering any new territory or leading expeditions. “What do the Americans do? They land Marines at the other end of the world not because they are big bullies and brawlers, not to accomplish some humanitarian objectives but always and only to secure their economic interests. We have no military-expedition plans in remote parts of the world. Russia is itself a whole world with a gifted, but not always harmonious and organized, people and vast reserves of land, forest, fresh water, and minerals. We have seas and oceans around us. This is all ours and we need to be able to defend it.”

Versatility could be for what the new Russian DARPA will strive. For example, according to Rogozin, the small arms producing plant Izhmash, where most of the Kalashnikov rifles are made, can also be used to produce aircraft carriers. “Few know that the possibility of manufacturing entirely different products, not assault rifles and machineguns at all, was embedded in the design and construction of this giant plant,” he revealed. “We will hardly be needing Maxim guns,” Rogozin told Rossiyskaya Gazeta Online. “We should not be reserving shops and locking them up but insuring that the lathes and transfer machinery operating on one or two shifts can, if necessary, operate without loss of quality on three shifts.”

Getting Russia’s DARPA program off the ground will cost about 20 trillion rubles ($641,419,000). “This money will pass through production and science, in any event: for the payment of research and experimental design and the purchase of the arms themselves,” said Rogozin.

While the US outsources jobs at an alarming rate and shrinks its military capabilities under President Obama, Russia’s Putin is transferring military technology to commercial technology, to boost defense spending and to create new high-skill jobs. According to Rogozin, this is Putin’s objective. The defense industry should be a catalyst for the country’s new industrialization.

If Russia’s DARPA program continues to strengthen while ours weakens, you can expect more Sputnik surprises in the future.

UK Judge to burglars: Being shot is a ‘chance you take’

Thursday, October 11th, 2012

Original Story Via:

A judge has told two burglars permanently injured when they were shot by a homeowner: “That is the chance you take.”

Judge Michael Pert QC jailed Joshua O’Gorman and Daniel Mansell for four years each after rejecting a plea that he take the shooting into account.

O’Gorman and Mansell, who have a string of convictions between them, were blasted with a legally-owned shotgun by Andy Ferrie as they attempted to ransack his isolated farm cottage in the early hours of September 2.

O’Gorman, who was shot in the face, and Mansell, who was hit in his right hand, had pleaded guilty to the break-in in Welby, near Melton Mowbray, at an earlier hearing.

Sentencing them at Leicester Crown Court, the judge said: “I make it plain that, in my judgment, being shot is not mitigation. If you burgle a house in the country where the householder owns a legally held shotgun, that is the chance you take. You cannot come to court and ask for a lighter sentence because of it.”

He was responding to a mitigation plea from Andrew Frymann, representing O’Gorman, who said being shot was for his client akin to a “near-death experience” for which he was not prepared. His injuries left him with blurred vision, severe pain and problems with his balance.

Replying to Mr Frymann’s suggestion that O’Gorman was traumatised, Judge Pert said the arrest of Mr and Mrs Ferrie on suspicion of grievous bodily harm could be considered just as disturbing. He said: “Some might argue that being arrested and locked up for 40 hours is a trauma.”

Mr Ferrie, 35, and his wife Tracey, 43, were held in custody for nearly two days after Mr Ferrie called police to tell them he fired his shotgun at the intruders. Their arrests prompted widespread criticism. The couple were later bailed and told they would not face criminal charges.

Mansell, 33, and O’Gorman, 27, both from Leicester but with no fixed addresses, appeared in the court dock each wearing a grey sweatshirt and showing physical evidence of the confrontation. A scar was clearly visible on the right side of O’Gorman’s face and Mansell had his arm in a sling.

Commenting after sentencing, a spokesman for Leicestershire Police said: “The decision made by the Crown Prosecution Service, after reviewing all the evidence, was to take no further action against the homeowners involved. We are unable to comment any further as we have an ongoing investigation with three men currently on police bail.”

College Says No to Nintendo Guns (Canada)

Tuesday, October 9th, 2012

Original Story Via:

A Canadian university has stopped a college game club from putting up posters that featured an image of a pistol. Except that the pistol in question wasn’t even real, but a Nintendo weapon from the 1980s.

A game club at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, decided to hold a “game-themed social event”, according to a local student newspaper. Naturally, because it was a gaming party, they drew up a poster with images of a Nintendo game controller and the Zapper, a gray-and-red electronic pistol that came with the 1985 Nintendo Entertainment System. But Saint Mary’s must have feared it was a call for armed insurrection; when the poster was submitted to the university for approval, the gamers were told to get rid of the gun, which they replaced with a graphic of a Nintendo Power Glove. Presumably because a toy pistol that pots virtual ducks sends a dangerous message, while punching out assorted lifeforms with a Power Glove does not.

I’m all for campus safety, including banning real firearms on campus. Even toy and replica weapons can be mistaken for real ones in some situations. But a crude drawing on a poster? Last week, a Maine political candidate was vilified by her opponents because she plays World of Warcraft. Now college game clubs can’t mention guns, because the mere sight of a video game weapon might induce crazoid gamers to disembowel their fellow students with plastic lightsabers. I’m sure the good citizens of Halifax will sleep better tonight, knowing that they’ve been saved from the Nintendo Apocalypse.

Philippines – PNP plans early for 2013 elections, focuses on gun control

Tuesday, October 9th, 2012

Original Story Via:

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine National Police (PNP) has started planning and preparations to ensure a peaceful midterm elections in 2013, Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II said.

“The PNP has begun formal planning for peaceful elections,” Roxas told reporters in a press briefing Tuesday.

“There will be strategic moves by the PNP now while it is still early and there will be tactical moves closer to elections so that there will less chances of violence come election,” Roxas said.

Among the innovations that Roxas wants to implement will be the consolidation and sharing of information between the many police forces. “For example, we want to provide the list of all those who have gun licenses and permits to carry in certain areas so that police [authorities on all levels] can identify the groups who are carrying guns,” Roxas said.

This will better prepare the police, especially in election hotspots, he added.

Roxas also said that they will also be doing intelligence gathering work as well as training and resource deployment. He said some localities have requested for V-150 armored vehicles because of anticipated election-related violence in the area.

“We shall be able to secure and mobilize these resources so that as election draws closer our police will be ready to respond to any need,” he said.

When asked that there might be a new PNP chief come the poll season, Roxas said assured that Director General Nicanor Bartolome, the PNP Chief, will still be on top of the preparations and planning even if his term ends before the elections.

“The more important thing is the planning for the election, planning for eight months away has begun and it has been formalized,” Roxas said.

He said that all the data and intelligence operations will be “integrated and consolidated” so that the PNP “will be more effective in ensuring peaceful elections.”

“We will ensure consolidated and integrated efforts of all units, particularly the home support units. All the data from firearms and explosives bureaus, as well as investigative units, will be consolidated so that the men on the ground will have all the data and support they need,” Roxas said.

Gun clamp call after robberies – Bahrain

Monday, October 8th, 2012

Calls for gun control are coming after a string of robberies in Bahrain.

Original Story Via:

Bahrain urgently needs to tighten its gun control laws following six armed robberies in just over five months, says a leading MP. An investigation should be launched to find out if the arms are being smuggled into the country or how weapons used by the security forces are getting into the hands of criminals, said Parliament Foreign Affairs Defence and National Security Committee chairwoman Sawsan Taqawi.

“There has been a surge in robberies this year, with robbers entering money exchange outlets with a gun and fleeing with thousands of dinars,” she told the GDN.

“No one is allowed to keep weapons and there are no shops selling them in Bahrain.

“Only people who are authorised to keep guns are Public Security forces or BDF officers.

“The question is, how are these robbers getting guns in Bahrain? Are they smuggling them? If so, from where?

“If it’s through the King Fahad Causeway or another country, what is the Interior Ministry doing about it?

“We need the ministry to answer these questions for us and we are going to highlight this issue in the upcoming parliament session.”

The Bahrain Bloc member also called for extra police patrols in trouble hotspots to try and prevent more robberies.

Her comments come as police yesterday continued to hunt for a masked man who held up a currency exchange shop at gunpoint in Maqaba.

He reportedly escaped with BD2,000 from the Bahrain Finance Company (BFC), off Budaiya Highway, at around 11.30am on Saturday.

A police forensic team was sent to the scene to check for fingerprints and CCTV footage.

The shop was temporarily closed, but had re opened yesterday.

BFC general manager Errol Fonseca said five staff members were inside the shop when the robbery took place.

“The man had a gun and he escaped with BD2,000,” Mr Fonseca said.

“One of the staff members called the head officer and we called police, who arrived with forensic team at the scene and launched an investigation.

“Although there was a robbery, we are open for business and our staff members are there to serve our customers.

“We are taking care of our staff members and have asked them to call us immediately if they sense any danger or notice any illegal activity in the branch.”

It is the second time the BFC has been targeted this year after two armed men fled with more than BD20,000 from its branch in Salmabad in May. Police arrived at the scene after the cashier pressed the alarm button, but the robbers had fled by then.

It happened just over a week after a masked gunman dressed in a thobe robbed a Travelex outlet in Riffa and escaped with around BD5,000, after threatening an Indian cashier at gunpoint.

The Money Exchange in East Eker was also robbed by gunmen who fled with BD9,000 in August. A masked gunman escaped with BD376 from the Zenj Exchange in Salmabad on September 25.

A masked man also held up a 24 Hours supermarket in West Riffa at gunpoint last Wednesday and escaped with an unknown amount.

Meanwhile, police are also investigating an armed robbery at the Najad Market in Hoora on Saturday.

Three Bahrainis reportedly threatened owner Balacheeri Mohammed Ali and worker Mohammed Yousif with a knife and escaped with a till containing BD150.

Forensic teams recovered the weapon from the scene.

Mr Ali told police the suspects, aged between 20 and 25, had visited the market three days before the robbery.

Costa Rica set to ban hunting, a first in the Americas

Thursday, October 4th, 2012

Original Story Via:

AFP – Costa Rica is set to be the first country in the American continent to ban recreational hunting after the country’s legislature approved the popular measure by a wide margin.

The bill, which bans hunting for sport but still allows culling and subsistence hunting, was approved late Tuesday by a 41-5 vote. Congress will revisit the issue on Thursday, but the second round is seen as just a formality.

President Laura Chinchilla, who supports the measure, is expected to sign it into law in the next days.

The ban, which does not affect fishing for sport, does allow researchers to hunt for scientific purposes.

Hunters violating the ban would have to pay a fine of up to $3,000.

Costa Rica supports an enormous variety of fauna, and is one of the countries with the highest density of biodiversity in the world.

Wildlife in Costa Rica include jaguars, armadillos, deer, sloths and several species of monkeys, as well as a variety of birds, amphibians and reptiles.

Some two million people visit Costa Rica each year — a $2 billion business — and the country’s natural reserves and variety of species are a great attraction.

U.S. May Block Gun Sales to Citizens Living Abroad

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012

Original Article Via:  Court House News


WASHINGTON (CN) – The government can prohibit sales of guns for self-defense to American citizens residing outside its borders, a federal judge ruled.

U.S. citizen Stephen Dearth lives in Canada and was unable to buy firearms in the U.S. on two occasions. Federal Form 4473 requires purchasers of firearms to provide their state of residence, preventing Dearth from legally completing the document.

Dearth and the Second Amendment Foundation, a nonprofit committed to the right to bear arms, sued Attorney General Eric

Holder for declaratory and injunctive relief in March 2009.

The District of Columbia District Court dismissed the complaint for lack of standing. However, the D.C. Circuit Court reversed the dismissal and remanded Dearth’s claims in April 2011.

U.S. District Judge Robert Wilkins granted the government’s motion for summary judgment on Thursday.

Wilkins found that none of the six counts alleged by Dearth amounted to constitutional violations.

The judge stated that, “an initial point of contention is how to construe the challenged laws. Are they restrictions on possession, or are they longstanding conditions and qualifications on commercial sale?

“The court concludes they are the latter,” Wilkins wrote.

Much like the state laws that have prevented non-residents from buying firearms for more than 100 years, the federal restrictions have a similar intent, the judge found.

“The effect of the federal statute is to require a firearm purchaser to be a state resident so that he or she submits to the jurisdiction and authority of some state – any state – so that the firearms purchase can be regulated by state law,” Wilkins wrote. “Thus, the federal statutes serve a similar purpose as the longstanding state statutes governing the commercial sale of firearms.”

Dearth argued that his inability to buy a gun for self-defense while visiting his friends and relatives in the U.S. violated his Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.

But Wilkins found that Dearth “…has the ability to bring his firearm from Canada with him when he visits the United States. Critically, Dearth concedes that ‘he would access [firearms] for lawful sporting purposes as well as for other purposes, including self-defense, while visiting the United States’…Thus, Dearth clearly has the ability to borrow or rent a firearm for lawful sporting purposes and then also use that firearm for self-defense. This would be a much different case if Dearth had none of those options.”

Dearth also failed to show that the gun restrictions infringe on the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment by requiring him to give up his ability to buy firearms if he chooses to travel internationally.

“As the government correctly points out, these provisions do not prevent Dearth from travelling internationally and, therefore, they do not implicate any Fifth Amendment liberty interest in international travel,” Wilkins wrote. “There is nothing to suggest that the challenged statutes present either a direct or coincidental restriction on a U.S. citizen’s ability to travel internationally.

The statutes merely require that Dearth establish residency in a state in order to purchase or acquire additional firearms for purposes other than sporting purposes. The statutes place no direct restriction on Dearth’s ability to travel within the United States or internationally.”

Wilkins found that the restrictions were rationally based. “The provisions serve the substantial government interests of protecting public safety, combating violent crime, and controlling the flow of firearms across state and international borders,” Wilkins stated.

The order concludes that the same rational basis holds true against Dearth’s Equal Protection claims.