Target: The Second Amendment

Second Amendment: The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

The Liberty Voice Transcript Service

This is a transcript [modified for readability] of the May 1, 2009 broadcast of CNN’s ‘Lou Dobbs Tonight’ show.

Lou Dobbs: There is a renewed effort tonight that could curtail our Second Amendment rights to keep and bear arms, if President Obama has his way. He wants the Senate to ratify a little known treaty that would create a national registry for guns. Under that treaty other nations would be able to identify gun owners in the United States.

President Obama went to Mexico and brought back a 12-year-old treaty. Obama stated, “I am urging the Senate of the United States to ratify the Inter-American treaty known as CIFTA (Convention Against Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives, and Other Related Materials) to curb small arms trafficking that is a source of so many of the weapons used in this drug war.”

The treaty signed by President Clinton in 1997 was never ratified by the Senate. It calls for the institution of a regime of gun control never before seen in the United States, creating a gun registration system that would be open to international sharing. Offenders would be prosecuted under treaty law and they would be eligible for extradition.

Proponents like Senator Dick Lugar are urging passage, saying “we should consider ratifying, during this Congress, the Inter-American Convention against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and related materials.”

Gun rights activists are incensed. Larry Pratt from Gun Owners of America stated, “it reflects a deep distrust that the government of the United States has had toward that the people, that somehow we need to be regulated because of other people’s inability to have a peaceful and orderly society.” Which cuts to the deep distrust that some gun owners have for government in general and specifically for this administration. President Obama as a Senator consistently supported gun control legislation. His Attorney General, Eric Holder, is also in favor of gun control.

One strong supporter of the Second Amendment, Senator John Barrasso, is determined to see the President does not get his wish. Senator Barrasso stated, “The President said that it is a very high priority for him to get this treaty that takes away our Second Amendment rights ratified by the Senate; it is a very high priority for me to make sure this treaty never gets ratified by the United States Senate and we will find the votes to defeat it.”

The treaty purports to ban the “illicit” manufacture of firearms, but what this means is unclear. “Illicit manufacturing” of firearms is defined as “assembly of firearms [or] ammunition … without a license….” Hence, reloading ammunition — or putting together a lawful firearm from a kit — is clearly “illicit manufacturing.” Modifying a firearm in any way would surely be “illicit manufacturing.” And, while it would be a stretch, assembling a firearm after cleaning it could, in any plain reading of the words, come within the screwy definition of “illicit manufacturing.”

The definition of “firearm” is similarly questionable. “[A]ny other weapon” is a “firearm,” according to the treaty — and the term “weapon” is nowhere defined. This could be interpreted to mean anything from a BB gun to a Mac-10. It might also include gun components such as a pistol grip or firing pin.

The treaty could also be used to ban reloading. Article IV of the treaty instructs countries to commit to adopting “necessary legislative or other measures” to criminalize any “illicit manufacturing and trafficking” in firearms. This would allow the Obama administration and the agencies under his control to circumvent Congress by simply promulgating regulations about how to interpret and execute the terms of the treaty.

Article IV goes on to state that the criminalized acts should include “association or conspiracy” in connection with said offenses. There go the gun clubs and pro-gun organizations that provide facilities and information for their members about gun modification or assembly. Not only would they now be criminals, along with many U.S. gun dealers, but they would be subject to extradition to countries all over the world. According to Article XXIX, if Mexico demands the extradition of a lawful American gun dealer, the U.S. would be required to resolve the dispute through “other means of peaceful settlement.” Does anyone want to risk twenty years in a sweltering Mexican jail on the proposition that the Obama administration would apply this provision in a pro-gun manner?

Lastly, the treaty would set up an international tracking system through micro-stamping and gun registration. Article VI requires “appropriate markings” on firearms, while Article XI requires the maintenance of any records, for a “reasonable time,” that the government determines to be necessary to trace firearms. In essence, if this treaty gets ratified, you can kiss most of the Second Amendment good-bye.

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