note: This is the third installment in an NRO series on the
United Nations Conference on Small Arms (the previous installment:
by the electorate last November, American gun prohibition found
the United Nations Conference on Small Arms to be the friendliest
the Bush administration's insistence that the U.N. conference not
become a springboard for the destruction of Second Amendment rights,
a coalition of antigun groups organized a demonstration outside
the U.N. during the conference. In conjunction the demonstration,
the groups released a joint letter stating that the conference proved
the necessity of additional antigun laws in the U.S. The groups
included the Children's Defense Fund (an anti-welfare reform group),
the Brady Campaign (formerly known as Handgun Control, Inc., formerly
known as the National Council to Control Handguns), Physicians for
Social Responsibility, "Million" Mom March chapters, and
various other local groups. The letter read: "The Cold War
is over, but the international community is suffering from a new
source of terror: the glut of small arms and 'civilian' weapons
that are seeping from many industrialized nations, through channels
both legal and illegal, to virtually all four corners of the globe."
Note that the
very idea of "civilians" owning weapons had to be put
in quotation marks.
Mom March, hadn't been doing very well before the UN met. The
group had trouble getting attendance into three digits at its last
Washington rally, turned out to be a political liability for Al
Gore and many other candidates, had to lay off 30 of its 35 staff,
was kicked out of its free office space in San Francisco General
Hospital when it was discovered that the space was obtained by fraud,
and finally ended up being absorbed into the Brady Campaign, unable
to exist as a viable separate organization. But at the U.N., the
group's leader, pretending that she represented and strong, independent
grassroots organization, won a standing ovation from the delegates.
And if the
group could claim that 850,000 people showed up at its Washington
rally in May 2000 (when the true size, based on D.C. transit figures
and crowd photos, was 100,000 or less) why not increase the mathematical
fiction? So the "Million" Mom March now claims to be an
organization representing a "Billion" mothers worldwide.
As if a billion women have even heard of this failed US group.
But the U.N.
made its support for the "Billion" prohibitionist movement
clear. The press conference announcing the new group was run by
U.N. Under-Secretary-General Jayantha Dhanapala, head of the U.N.
Department of Disarmament. Dhanapala called the group "vital"
to global disarmament, and urged the billion/million members to
act "through their legislatures and governments to ensure that
the program of action is in fact implemented."
demonstration featured five huge ugly puppets representing the United
Kingdom, US, Russia, China, and France, created by the U.S. gun-prohibition
group Silent March. (Apparently the fact that the U.K. and France
were working hard for Silent March's agenda wasn't enough to get
in the way of some mean-spirited street theater.) The U.S. puppet,
resembling President Bush, wore a gaudy Uncle Sam hat and a necklace
of bullets, and was smoking a cigar that on closer inspection was
also a bullet. The puppet sported an "NRA" sticker, and
the sign worn by the person holding this puppet read: "US:
Puppet of Gun Lobby?"
revealed a lot about its overall political orientation when it decided
that dressing somebody up like Uncle Sam was an insult.
provided an opportunity for several international groups have come
out of the closet on their antigun stance. For years Amnesty International
has organized and coordinated international antigun work, but has
insisted that it is doing nothing to promote gun control. But at
the Conference, Amnesty International USA Executive Director William
F. Schulz said, "Gun trafficking is a critical human rights
issue around the world, but the problem begins at home." He
blamed "Loose gun regulation — in [countries such as] the USA,
Russia or Liberia."
human rights abusers be given arms?" asked Amnesty International,
although the group had nothing to say about arms for people resisting
Action Network on Small Arms (IANSA) is the global consortium
of antigun non-government organizations (NGOs). The IANSA site happens
to be hosted on the website of Oxfam, a world hunger group with
wide-ranging hard left agenda. Save the Children and World Vision
also complained about the U.S. position at the conference — revealing
the strong leftist tilt that careful observers have seen in these
organizations in recent years — but which has, discretely, not been
publicized to the organizations' American donor base.
July 16 of
the conference featured two hours of speeches by anti-gun groups,
plus a half-hour for pro-rights organizations. The
gun prohibition forces claimed to be motivated by saving innocent
lives, but their rhetoric showed much more interest in stopping
guns than in saving lives. In case of a conflict, they clearly preferred
the former to the latter.
Neil Arya of
Physicians for Global Survival in Canada asserted that physicians
don't care where a shooting was the result of a suicide, accident
or homicide, or whether the shooter was a gangster, a soldier, or
a law-abiding gun owner. In other words, his group sees no distinction
between a gangster murdering a robbery victim, a victim saving her
life by shooting the gangster, a Nazi soldier shooting a Jew, and
an American soldier shooting a Nazi soldier.
A press release
from Silent March complained that the U.S. had "rejected a
call for states to stop arming guerrillas in other countries."
The press release came after Undersecretary Bolton had explained
that the U.S. objected to the provision because it would prevent
aid to groups which were resisting genocide. Silent March promotes
itself as a humanitarian group concerned about gun death, but this
concern apparently vanishes when the victims are being murdered
This is the
moral upside-down world of the United Nations culture, in which
victims who resist genocide, and governments which help the victims
resist, are condemned as immoral.
The gun prohibition
groups also talked a lot about the need to keep guns out of the
hands of "children." These demands who not limited to
keep guns out of the hands of child soldiers. Rather, the groups
were following Hillary Clinton's position that children and guns
shouldn't even be in the same sentence. U.S. gun-prohibition groups
have been long at work to frighten parents into not allowing children
to participate in the shooting sports, and to enact gun licensing
laws that prohibit young people from hunting or target shooting,
even under immediate parental supervision. (For example, in New
Jersey, it's a felony to take your ten-year-old to a target range
and let the child use a Red Ryder BB gun while you supervise.)
free elections in the United States, the gun-prohibition lobbies
in 1998 turned to the courts, filing meritless suits against gun
manufacturers, with the hope of imposing de facto prohibition through
bankruptcy. As the lawsuit strategy falls apart, gun-prohibition
groups now seek their victory through international law. The further
that the locus of decision moves from democratic, American control,
the better the chances for success of the prohibition movement.