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U.N.'s Real Gun Agenda Emerges
Tuesday, July 10, 2001
The official name of the meeting taking place at the U.N. General
Assembly this week and next is the "United Nations Conference on
the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects."
The portentous-sounding phrase "illicit trade in small arms and light
weapons" is worth repeating, because the conference speakers
themselves keep repeating it like a mystical mantra, along with
impassioned calls for the worldwide elimination of small arms and
Spoken so often, the words began to have an almost hypnotic effect.
But what do they really mean? What is this conference really after?
The first day offered troubling clues.
Over and over the delegates described small arms and light
weapons in the most dire terms. The delegate from Mozambique
called such weapons nothing less than a "threat to humanity." Not
only that, but they are responsible for "poverty, backwardness, and a
lack of democracy," and are "an obstacle to a country's
Several delegates made the point — were they all reading from the
same crib sheet? — that more than 500 million small arms are
circulating, one for every 12 human beings in the world. Another
speaker said that every year the number of casualties from small
arms and light weapons is greater than those at Hiroshima and
Nagasaki. What this means, he said, is that small arms and light
weapons are "weapons of mass destruction" and must be dealt with
accordingly. Truly, to stop such a plague, it would seem that the
most rigorous measures are called for.
But before we rush ahead with this program to save humanity, what
exactly are these "small arms" that the humanitarians want to
eliminate? According to the U.N.'s own Web site:
"Small arms are weapons designed for personal use, while light
weapons are designed for use by several persons serving as a
crew. Examples of small arms include revolvers and self-loading
pistols, rifles, sub-machine guns, assault rifles and light
machine-guns. Light weapons include heavy machine-guns, some
types of grenade launchers, portable anti-aircraft and anti-tank guns,
and portable launchers of anti-aircraft missile systems."
Deer Hunting With a Weapon of Mass Destruction
In other words, revolvers and rifles are weapons of mass
destruction! By this logic, criminal acts in the U.S. involving
handguns pose the same order of danger to mankind as the
hydrogen bomb, and require the type of global solution that U.N.
bureaucrats are most eager to provide. The long-term aim seems to
be a worldwide system of gun control, as suggested by a delegate
from the European Union who said that the convention's non-binding
draft Program of Action is only a "point of departure" for a much
"It should be our goal to achieve agreement ... on all aspects of how
to combat small arms and light weapons." The goal, he said, is "a
world free from illicit traffic in small arms and light weapons that
have caused so much suffering."
As this reference to "illicit" kept being made over and over, I
wondered, if illicit arms must be eliminated, why not licit weapons as
well? Why should legal arms that used to harm civilians be of any
less concern than arms traded illegally?
The answer came soon enough from the morning's most aggressive
speaker, Foreign Minister Jozias van Artsen of the Netherlands.
Van Artsen hinted where he was heading when he changed the
formulaic phrase "the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons"
to "the uncontrolled trade in small arms and light weapons."
Stopping this uncontrolled traffic, he said, is not enough. We must
further regulate the legal trade in arms to prevent spillover to the
illegal arms trade.
He then praised the systematic destruction of weapons that has
been carried out by several countries and urged an expansion of
such programs. The inescapable implication of van Artsen's words
is that he wants to see the physical destruction of all small weapons
in the world — or rather, the destruction of all small weapons not
owned by government.
Van Artsen, ominously, received the strongest applause of any
speaker during the first morning of the conference.
A Voice of Sanity
The only speaker who stood against this globalist tide — indeed,
the only speaker who used logical arguments instead of ritualistic
phrases aimed at manipulating people's emotions — was U.S.
Undersecretary of State John Bolton. While agreeing that stopping
illicit traffic in small arms and light weapons is a worthy goal, Bolton
noted that small arms and light weapons "in our understanding are
military weapons. We separate them from hunting rifles and pistols
that are privately owned."
The U.S., he continued, does not begin by presuming that all small
arms and light weapons are problematic. It is illicit trade in military
weapons that are at issue — a radically different position from Van
Artsen's implied view that it is the legal trade in personal weapons
that must be eliminated.
The U.S. already has effective enforcement programs in this area,
said Bolton. To be traded, weapons of U.S. origin must meet certain
criteria for responsible use. "The U.S. government has stopped
many exports of weapons that did not meet these criteria. We hope
the Program of Action will encourage all countries to adopt similar
measures. They should be directed at areas of instability and
In other words, unlike the rest of the U.N. that seeks an
indiscriminate global solution to the problem, the U.S. urges more
modest and directed efforts by member nations themselves to stop
illegal activities that they themselves have proper responsibility and
Bolton made another very powerful point, that the distinction
between "government" and "non-government" is irrelevant as far as
the responsible use of arms is concerned. In many cases it is
governments that are the criminal force from which citizens and
freedom fighters need to defend themselves — a self-defense that
that would become impossible if only governments were allowed to
buy and own weapons.
Though the possibility never enters the heads of the liberals and
socialists who see the state as the source of all good, the reality is
that government — specifically the government misuse of legal
weapons — was the dominant fact in 20th century inhumanity. As
Richard Poe writes in his new book "The Seven Myths of Gun
Control", more than 170 million unarmed men, women and children
were killed by armed governments in the course of the 20th century.
This excludes the deaths of soldiers in combat, which came to the
much smaller figure of 38.5 million.
So far the Bush administration is standing bravely alone against the
U.N.'s sinister agenda to strip the peoples of the world of the ability
to defend themselves from tyranny and violence. Will the American
position continue to be based on the firm principles and clear
thinking shown by John Bolton, or will it turn out to be, like most
contemporary conservatism, a mere exercise in foot-dragging? This
conference may give us the answer.
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