There is a bizarre concern buzzing in the far reaches of the blogosphere that the United Nations is currently plotting to take Americans’ guns away. Wulfe’s Mom Alaska asks, “Is more butchering of the US Constitution in our future?” Texas Fred is somewhat less measured, “this is nothing more than an effort to take guns out of the hands of every man and woman on earth, and unless you’re a part of this coming Gestapo, you’ll give up your guns or die keeping them…”
Why this sudden fretting from the Tinfoil Hat crowd? It may have to do with the fact that the National Rifle Association is fixing for a fight with the United Nations, with former Congressman Bob Barr leading the charge.
Here’s the story: Some 500,000 people are believed to be killed each year by small arms, and more than 600 million illicit arms are believed to be in circulation. To take on this issue, the United Nations Convened a ‘Small Arms Review Conference’ last year. The conference, though, ended in deadlock.
Still, member states thought this issue was important enough to keep on the table. Great Britain, Australia, Japan urged UN members to submit proposals about how a treaty to regulate the small arms trade might be structured. (Great Britain’s proposal, for example, would standardize weapons import/export documentation and mandate that governments certify arms exports only after ascertaining that weapons’ end use will not “provoke or prolong armed conflicts, aid in human rights abuses, destabilize countries or undermine peace in other ways.”)
The UN recently announced that nearly one hundred member states submitted ideas for such a treaty. Ban Ki Moon is expected to name an “experts panel” to begin to combine elements of member states proposals into one coherent proposal for member states to debate.
Sounds reasonable, right? Not to Bob Barr, who smells a global conspiracy to take away America’s guns. Barr (who has a blog!) says this is the first step in a slippery slope toward the international regulation of domestic gun purchases in the United States.
Of course, this could not be farther from the truth–Great Britain, after all, wants Washington to actually support a treaty. Still, expect a huge disinformation campaign from the NRA. If past behavior is any indication, a treaty intended to to make it harder for militants in Somalia to obtain AK-47s will be characterized as a UN conspiracy to deprive the good citizens of Des Moines of their Second Amendment rights. The NRA is very, very good at this.