Archive for November, 2012

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:

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.”


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 article highlighting Rep. Kelly’s letter, click here.

CLICK TO PLAY (July 25 Interview on ATT)


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:

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. (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,, and

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.


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


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 .


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.


Statement From: The International Committee of Museums and Collections of Arms and Military History (ICOMAM)


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:

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


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:

[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:

Leah Barkoukis

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, 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

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:

The 2012 Gun Rights Policy Conference was held in Orlando, Florida and jointly hosted by the Second Amendment Foundation ( and the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms ( Follow news related to the UN ATT at

“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:

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.


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.”


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 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.

[kml_flashembed publishmethod=”static” fversion=”8.0.0″ movie=”untitled.swf” width=”400″ height=”300″ targetclass=”flashmovie”] [/kml_flashembed]

Canada: Conservatives defy UN gun controls

Monday, November 5th, 2012
Original Story Via:

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.”

Long-gun records destroyed, Quebec data spared because of court case

Friday, November 2nd, 2012

Original Story Via: Winnipeg Free Press

OTTAWA — The federal government says millions of records of registered long guns have all been destroyed, with the exception of court-protected data from Quebec.

A spokeswoman for Public Safety Minister Vic Toews confirmed the registry’s destruction “as of last night” after gun enthusiasts began spreading the word.

No formal news release appears to have been issued by a Conservative government that has made repeal and destruction of the long-gun registry one of its bedrock promises.

Nor has the government said exactly how much taxpayer money will be saved by repealing the registry, although a study by The Canadian Press suggests it is a small fraction of the millions spent annually on gun licensing.

Last year there were almost eight million firearms logged in the registry, including more than seven million non-restricted weapons.

The latest data from the RCMP shows that, as of last July, there are still more than 564,000 restricted firearms and more than 191,000 prohibited weapons in the federal gun registry.

“Our Conservative government is proud to say that as of last night, all contents of the long-gun registry have been destroyed, except those related to Quebec,” Toews’s director of communications Julie Carmichael said in an email Thursday.

“Make no mistake, the tax-and-spend NDP will not hesitate to bring back the long gun registry. Now that these data have been deleted, they can never be recovered — even by Thomas Mulcair,” she wrote.

While there was no formal news release from Public Safety, groups such as the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters issued public praise for the move after Toews apparently told representatives at a federal-provincial meeting Thursday in Regina.

“We are delighted that the Harper government has followed through on its promise in such a timely fashion,” Greg Farrant of the Ontario association said in a release.

The Canadian Sports Shooting Association, meanwhile, issued a statement telling its members to “rest-assured, we are the envy of international firearms advocates everywhere” because Canada is almost alone internationally in rolling back gun-control laws.

“The removal of the registry is, however, more nibble than bite,” added the commentary from the association.

The emboldened gun lobby now wants to see recent rules on marking guns repealed and some are also calling for an end to the licensing system.

— The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 2, 2012 A22

UK Parliament – A Polite Mad Hatters Tea Party

Friday, November 2nd, 2012

Original Story Via:

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)).