Posts Tagged ‘WFSA’

NMLRA Speaks Out at UN

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013


by James C. Fulmer | Past President, NMLRA

Becky Waterman, NMLRA president, speaking at the UN.

Becky Waterman, NMLRA president,
speaking at the UN.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Treaty will be talked about and discussed by everybody over the next few weeks. The National Shooting Sports Foundation’s Senior Vice-President and General Counsel Lawrence Keane stated, “We hope that the Members of the US Senate are closely watching the White House abandon its principles and promises in the rush to ramrod the flawed treaty into effect.

Not only will they later be asked to ratify this attack on our constitution and sovereignty, but they will also be lavished with new promises from the administration in its drive to push a broad gun control agenda through the US Senate when it returns from recess. They would be right to question those promises strongly.”

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


Did the NRA Kill the Arms Trade Treaty?

Friday, August 24th, 2012

Original Story Via:  The Duck of Minerva


UN members last month failed to reach agreement on the Arms Trade Treaty after a month-long conference.  This is the latest setback in a decades old attempt to control the trade in small arms.  A broad network of states, NGOs, and the UN bureaucracy had pushed for the treaty and earlier measures.  In their view, proliferation of guns contributes to hundreds of thousands of casualties per year in conflict zones and to large numbers of shooting deaths in countries at peace.

But the international campaign to control the illicit trade in small arms has long faced skepticism from certain states, most notably the U.S, but also Russia, China,  India, and others.  For an interactive map of state views on the ATT, click here. Since its start in the early 1990s, the campaign has also faced outright opposition from NGOs such as America’s National Rifle Association.  The NRA and other American gun groups have joined with overseas counterparts to promote gun rights and the right to self-defense.  Most notable is the World Forum on the Future of Sport Shooting Activities (WFSA) and more recently the International Association for the Protection of Civilian Arms Rights (IAPCAR).  The groups help one another in their own countries and work together to lobby states against international gun control.

It is this network, spanning governments and NGOs, that killed the ATT.  The Obama administration administered the coup d’grace, but other American politicians and civil society groups strongly influenced this decision.  Other states cheered them on, if only privately. All of this holds important  lessons for studying international policymaking and transnational advocacy.

The ATT had been billed as an alternative to a prior, failed try at controlling the illicit trade, in the late 1990s and early 2000s.  This began as the Cold War ended and ethnic warfare became the fear du jour of the early ’90s (as terrorism is today), with gun proliferation blamed for much of the bloodshed.  The Bush administration gutted that attempt in 2001, using a UN conference’s consensus rules to allow only the nonbinding Programme of Action on Small Arms (PoA).  The PoA was so weak that a key proponent of small arms control, Human Rights Watch, dubbed it a “program of inaction” and shuttered its campaign.  Nonetheless, this zombie policy—alive on paper but in reality dead—lurched along until 2006, when the U.S. finally killed the PoA completely at another UN confab.

The ATT was supposed to be different, negotiated only by likeminded states and without the consensus rules that allowed key opponents to block an effective PoA.  In the Bush era, this seemed the best that could be achieved, given the close ties between gun groups and the U.S. administration.  But keeping America out of the ATT negotiations would have led to another form of zombieism—a key arms exporter not part of the treaty, notwithstanding the fact that the U.S. already has some of the world’s toughest export controls.  Thus when the Obama administration took office and expressed interest in the ATT, members of the ATT coalition opted to allow it in, accepting its demand that consensus rules again be followed and U.S. laws be used as a basis for negotiations.  (At the time, a number of activists raised red flags, warning that it could end with the ATT’s failure, but to no avail.)

From the start, American gun groups decried the ATT because of its supposed threat to American gun rights.  State negotiators did their best to reduce controversial issues.  And by the end of the conference last month, a cascade of some 90 states supported the text.  But opposition remained strong in many states, particularly to the marking of ammunition and to sales of guns to nonstate actors.  In the U.S., opposition was particularly ferocious, as encapsulated in a letter signed by 51 U.S. Senators, including Democrats, expressing “grave concern” about the “dangers” to U.S. sovereignty and individual rights under the Second Amendment.  The Senators, voicing the views of American gun groups, warned that the treaty’s draft text could force the U.S. to monitor and control domestic transfers, to maintain records of imports and shipments, and to increase regulations to prevent transfers to illicit or unintended end users.

Farfetched?  Although the intent of the draft was clearly to control the illicit international trade, its terms, if broadly construed, could be read in these ways.  And there is little doubt that in an issue as hot as guns, American control advocates would have read them in this way, to score points and influence judicial and legislative outcomes.  The real menace to American gun rights is doubtless small, given the power of the Second Amendment and the fact that, even if the U.S. had signed, the 51 Senators opposing the draft, meant that the ATT could not be ratified.  But the vehement opposition is nonetheless explicable as part of the bitter warfare between gun and gun control proponents in the U.S.

Ultimately, in an election year, the Obama administration bowed to these pressures and refused to agree to the final draft of the ATT.  Some gun groups celebrated this “grassroots victory” for the right to self-defense, but others, like a commentator at Ammoland, were more cautious: “We cannot view this as a victory for us because the Treaty has not been abandoned. Nor can we view it as a defeat for its proponents—merely a temporary setback.”

Indeed, it is likely that some form of ATT will be reintroduced at the next UN session, and it is possible that a substantial number of states will agree to controls.   Whatever the precise outlines of the final ATT, there are some broader lessons here:

  • States remain key players in transnational advocacy networks.  Focusing on the NGOs, as much of the academic literature does, is too narrow a perspective.
  • NGOs and civil society networks nonetheless influence states, especially democratic states.  But they probably do so more through everyday lobbying at home, than by efforts in UN hallways or in some kind of transnational normative space.
  • International civil society, just like domestic civil society, is ideologically diverse and conflictive.  Conservative groups are powerful there, as activists in the trenches well know.  It is by no means the exclusive preserve of progressive groups, notwithstanding scholars’ focus on them.
  • As a result, zombie policy and failed policy are far more common than policy successes—although, as the gun control case shows, one network’s failure is usually another’s triumph.  As scholars, we can learn a great deal by dissecting the corpses and living-dead that strew policy battlefields.  By contrast, to focus only on the relatively few policies that stagger, battered and bruised, off the field (typically to face further attacks in ongoing policy wars) is misleading.

Finally, the requisite plug:  For more on battles over transnational gun control—as well as lots more on conservative transnationalism, policy conflict, and zombie policy—see my new book, The Global Right Wing and the Clash of World Politics.


Disarmed America: Tying UN treaty to DC’s 2A resistance

Friday, July 6th, 2012

Original Story Via:  – Seattle Gun Rights Examiner

The same political mindset that is pushing the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) talks this month is also at work keeping residents of Washington, D.C. from exercising their Second Amendment rights, and one might suggest that Bellevue’s Alan Gottlieb is strongly linked to both quagmires.

As this column has noted, Gottlieb has been actively battling the ATT through his international activities related to the formation of IAPCAR (the International Association for the Protection of Civilian Arms Rights) and his participation in the World Forum on the Future of Sport Shooting Activities (WFSA).

And, though not identified by name, the handiwork of the Gottlieb-led Second Amendment Foundation was alluded to by the Washington Times Thursday in a piece about resistance to federal concealed carry reciprocity is stymied over amendments that would allow firearms carrying in the District of Columbia. The newspaper discussed the resistance to District carry by noting, “Currently, the District and Illinois stand alone in banning the bearing of arms outright. This could be legally problematic. A federal court recently ruled in the Woollard case that Maryland’s carry laws were too strict, and the state appealed the ruling.”

The Woollard case was a SAF effort. Why there is some mental block in the mainstream press toward reporting SAF court activities is a mystery. In much of the reportage dealing with the 2010 McDonald v. City of Chicago victory, SAF was also not mentioned. Instead, reporters frequently alluded to it as “a victory for the gun lobby” or “a victory for gun rights advocates.”

In Washington, D.C. the political climate is definitely overcast by anti-gun paranoia and elitism. The Washington Times piece quoted Phil Mendelson, chairman of the D.C. city council, who stated, “I do think carrying has severe implications for the nation’s capital. “We’re different from Maryland because we have motorcades, the president around town, members of Congress going to the supermarket unescorted.”

Imagine that. Members of Congress going to the supermarket unescorted. Millions of law-abiding, tax-paying citizens do that every day, and they manage to get back home in one piece, even though millions of their fellow citizens are legally carrying — unobtrusively in their presence, one might add.

The same mindset that wants to keep District residents disarmed wants to plant the seeds for global civilian disarmament with the ATT. As a story carried by CNS News Thursday explained, there are grave concerns about the ATT and what it could ultimately mean to Second Amendment sovereignty. President Obama may glibly dismiss such concerns in his strutting, hip upscale down-his-nose public speaking style, but this is the same guy who reversed long-standing U.S. policy on global gun control by embracing the ATT back in 2009 after the Bush administration previously stood firm in singular opposition.

He’s also the same guy who said Obamacare is not a tax, but Chief Justice John Roberts certainly corrected him on that one.

Gottlieb’s Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms had a hand in creating legislation in the House and Senate that would derail ATT threats to the Second Amendment, as this column noted. There is considerable Capitol Hill concern about the ATT, especially in the wake of the Obamacare surprise, that it was constitutional after all…because it is a tax.

Bureaucrats and politicians who seek to disarm people, whether through local resistance to gun rights expansion in this country, or promotion of broad international treaties that are prone to misuse and abuse, are misguided at best. Public disarmament has never had a good outcome for the public.

Such disarmament comes in many forms, typically by increments and by the time the damage is done, how it got started is less important than how it can be reversed. In this country we’ve had help from the courts, with cases pushed by SAF and others, but an international treaty will be beyond the power of U.S. courts, and that might just be what global gun control proponents are counting on.