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Be Scared of Government Not Guns

June 9, 2010

Gun owners might not feel besieged right now, but they should be very concerned. Last week the Obama administration announced its support for the UN Small Arms Treaty. This treaty poses real risks for freedom and safety in the United States as well as the rest of the world.

According to the U.N., guns used in armed conflicts cause 300,000 deaths worldwide every year. Their proposed solution is a simple one. Keep rebels from getting guns by requiring that countries “prevent, combat and eradicate” what those countries define as “the illicit trade in small arms.”

The UN’s solution isn’t too surprising when one looks at the long list of notorious totalitarian regimes, such as Syria, Cuba, Rwanda, Vietnam, Zimbabwe, and Sierra Leone, which support these “reforms.” But not all insurgencies are “bad.” To ban providing guns to rebels in totalitarian countries is like arguing that there is never anything such as a just war.

In hindsight, during World War II, should the French or Norwegian resistance movements simply have given up? Surely this would have minimized causalities. But that is hardly a one-time event. What about Afghanis in their fight against the Soviet Union or Nicaraguan rebels fighting communist dictators during the 1980s? Was it wrong to help out? What about totalitarian governments that massacre their citizens? Don’t they have a right to protect themselves?

Many countries already ban private gun ownership. Rwanda and Sierra Leone are two notable examples. Yet, with more than a million people hacked to death over the last decade-and-a-half, were their citizens better off without guns?

Political scientist Rudy Rummel estimates that 262 million people were murdered by their own government during the last century -– that is 2.6 million per year. This includes genocide, the murder of people for political reasons, and mass murder. Even if all 300,000 deaths from armed conflicts can be blamed on the small arms trade, an obviously false claim, people have much more to worry about from their governments. Adding the U.N.’s estimated deaths from gun suicides, homicides, and accidents still provides a number that is only a ninth as large.

Second, the treaty is a backdoor way to get more gun control laws adopted in the US. “After the treaty is approved and it comes into force, you will find out that it has this implication or that implication and it requires the Congress to adopt some measure that restricts ownership of firearms,” Former UN Ambassador John Bolton warns. “The [Obama] administration knows it cannot obtain this kind of legislation purely in a domestic context. … They will use an international agreement as an excuse to get domestically what they couldn’t otherwise.”

In addition, to keep track of guns, licensing and registration will be pushed, despite their complete failure to trace crime guns in the places in the US that have tried it or Canada. One also just needs to look no further than how Mexican President Felipe Calderon has blamed his country’s crime problems on the sun setting of the US “assault weapons” ban. Somehow semi-automatic guns, essentially deer hunting rifles that have a cosmetic outside that look like AK-47s or other similar weapons, are being painted as military weapons. The same claims now being made for Mexico will be made even more forcefully under the UN treaty.

Third, gun bans also produce another problem: increased murder rates. UN gun control advocates don’t want to acknowledge that everyplace in the world that we have crime data for has seen that gun bans result in higher murder rates. Americans have seen the increase in murder rates in DC and Chicago after their bans, and the sudden 25 percent drop in DC’s murder rates last year after their ban was removed. But as recent research shows, gun bans have consistently lead to higher murder rates around the world. Even island nations, who can’t blame some neighbors for their supply of guns, have seen increases in violent crime rates.

The Small Arms Treaty is just a back door way for the Obama administration trying to force through gun control regulations. With the huge standing ovation that House and Senate Democrats recently gave Mexican President Calderon for his advocacy of a new so-called “Assault Weapons Ban,” Americans who care about self-defense have been put on notice. The threats to gun ownership are as real as ever.

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