In my column this week I explain the threat the UN’s Arms Trade Treaty poses to every Americans’ Second Amendment rights.
So, what’s the Obama Administration’s official position?
On the surface, the State Department has issued a series of “redlines” that claim to protect American Second Amendment rights to individual gun ownership, including the claim that “There will be no restrictions on civilian possession or trade of firearms otherwise permitted by law or protected by the U.S. Constitution.”
There are at least three reasons to suspect the Obama Administration’s motives.
First, the Obama Administration fought tooth-and-nail against interpreting the Second Amendment to guarantee the right of an individual to own a gun. Only by a 5-4 decision from the United States Supreme Court in McDonald v. Chicago did the justices uphold the traditional understanding that the Second Amendment protects an individual right, and not a collective right to self-defense provided by the government.
The gun control groups pushing the ATT side with the Obama Administration in seeing the right to self-defense as a collective rather than as an individual right. After fighting a losing battle for years in Congress, gun controllers opted in 2001 to make their cause global and found willing partners in dictatorial regimes like Syria, Iran and Russia looking for any way to disarm dissident groups while preserving their right to buy and sell guns for national security (i.e. repressing dissidents).
Second, the Fast and Furious scandal where federal agents allowed 2,000 guns to “walk” into the hands of Mexican drug cartels – without the Mexican government’s knowledge – raises a serious question about the Obama Administration’s credibility on gun rights. Already, one Department of Justice official has been caught in an email speculating how to use F&F as evidence to argue for stronger gun control laws. Common sense says he wasn’t the only one.
Finally, there’s the Obama Administration’s presence at the ATT convention.
During the George W. Bush years the United States refused to participate in any discussions about an international arms treaty for fear it would lead to a step-by-step move to gut Americans’ Second Amendment rights.
In 2009, the Obama Administration reversed course and announced its support for the ATT. That buy-in caused negotiations at the UN to accelerate, culminating in the month-long convention in New York this month.
Observers of the ATT convention expect the treaty’s final text to be filled with vague assertions and unattainable aspirations. But as I point out in my column, the very existence of the ATT poses a serious long-term threat to Americans’ Second Amendment rights because future interpretations of its text can be molded to fit the gun controllers’ policy outcomes.
I suspect the Obama Administration knows this, and is aiding and abetting that very outcome by participating in the negotiations.