Arms Trade Treaty Salesmen Changing Strategy – In Their Own Words

by Paul Gallant, Sherry Gallant & Alan J. Chwick

Reasonable Gun Control
Arms Trade Treaty Salesmen Changing Strategy – In Their Own Words

New York, NY –-( When someone lies to you, you’d better beware.

There are those little white lies that are told to prevent another’s feelings from being unnecessarily hurt. But more often, lies are told to manipulate people into buying products, doing things, or supporting laws or philosophies they wouldn’t ordinarily do, if they knew the facts.

Take the case of the “snake-oil salesman” in 19th century America, with claims that their “magic elixirs” would cure all the ailments a person might have. Have times really changed that much from those days? Compare their promise to the claims of today’s weapon-prohibitionists who have been relentless in their quest for a global, legally-binding Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), the enactment of which —we are told— will be the magic elixir for the world’s weapons-related violence.

Anyone who has closely followed the steps leading up to the 2012 Summer’s Arms Trade Treaty conference, cannot dismiss or ignore all the lies that Treaty proponents have told in order to promote its enactment. Despite any rhetoric to the contrary, we remain convinced that the U.N.’s unstated ultimate goal is to abolish civilian possession of firearms, and the ATT is the vehicle to do so.

Their lies have been designed to manipulate States and people into believing that we’ll all live in a safer world if civilian firearm ownership is eliminated.

Matthew Bolton, assistant professor of political science at Pace University in New York City, bemoaned in a commentary published in the July 20th issue of Global Policy entitled “The World According to a Gun Lobbyist: The Self-Serving Ideology of Weapons Industry Pressure Groups”:

I left the vast UN conference room feeling deeply upset and disturbed. As they dissembled, manipulated the evidence and dismissed the need for strong controls on the transfers of small arms and ammunition (that cause the majority of the world’s conflict casualties), I wondered ‘How do they sleep at night?’….What kind of view of the world do you have to have in order to represent, in good conscience, an industry that profits from the killing and maiming of thousands of people?…. I found that arms lobby discourse relies on a radically individualistic and confident notion of the Self – a kind of frontierist or vigilantist masculinity, more preoccupied with the importance of preserving the right to hunt or the heritage of ‘antique weapons’ than the humanitarian impact of a world awash with AK-47s.

But who is it that really “manipulates the evidence”? It is the weapon-prohibitionists who have demonstrated a long history of doing just that (witness the junk-science of people like Arthur Kellermann, et al.)!

It is they who remain pitifully ignorant and closed-minded about the truth. No matter how they have attempted to use the conclusions of flawed, junk-science pseudo-studies —all designed to prove that guns in a household are more dangerous to its occupants and to society, than to home-invaders and perpetrators— they have been unable to refute the legitimate scientific statistics demonstrating the safety and usefulness of civilian ownership of weapons in combatting firearm-related crime, and for self-defense.

From a paper entitled “The Human Right of Self-Defense,” authored by David B. Kopel, Paul Gallant & Joanne D. Eisen, published in the Brigham Young University Journal of Public Law (p. 165):

[I]n 2003, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (‘CDC’), released a meta-study of the efficacy of gun control. The report included a review of fifty-one published studies on a variety of restrictive gun laws, including bans on specific firearms and ammunition, measures prohibiting felons from purchasing guns, mandatory waiting periods, firearm registration, and background checks. The Associated Press summarized the report: ‘A sweeping federal review of the nation’s gun control laws—including mandatory waiting periods and bans on certain weapons—found no proof such measures reduce firearm violence.’

The CDC report noted at the outset: “an independent nonfederal task force, conducted a systematic review of scientific evidence regarding the effectiveness of firearms laws in preventing violence, including violent crimes, suicide, and unintentional injury….The Task Force found insufficient evidence to determine the effectiveness of any of the firearms laws or combinations of laws reviewed on violent outcomes.”

Kopel, Gallant & Eisen further noted: “The National Academy of Sciences (“NAS”) reached a similar conclusion in 2004: no link could be established between restrictive firearm laws and lower violent crime rates, firearm-related violence, or even firearm accidents. The 328-page report contained a review of 253 journal articles, 99 books, and 43 government publications, as well as independent research by the NAS.”

Among conclusions of the NAS study was that:

[D]espite a large body of research, the committee found no credible evidence that the passage of right-to-carry laws decreases or increases violent crime, and there is almost no empirical evidence that the more than 80 prevention programs focused on gun-related violence have had any effect on children’s behavior, knowledge, attitudes, or beliefs about firearms. The committee found that the data available on these questions are too weak to support unambiguous conclusions or strong policy statements.

While the CDC and NAS studies focused on restrictive firearm laws in the U.S., there is no reason to assume that an ATT would not result in the same failure to reduce weapon-related violence—except on a grander, global scale.

With the conclusion of the much-ballyhooed and long-awaited U.N. conference in the summer of 2012 in New York City, and its failure to enact a Treaty, we now have the agenda and many of the lies told by the weapon-prohibitionists out in the open, uncamouflaged, and in their own words.

For example, appearing in the ATT Monitor of July 30, 2012, were two very revealing commentaries, one written by Katherine Prizeman, and the other written by Robert Zuber. Zuber is Director of the U.N.-based organization, Global Action to Prevent War (GAPW), and Prizeman is GAPW’s International Coordinator.

According to Prizeman:

As the mandate for the ATT conference expired on Friday afternoon, delegates and civil society alike were disappointed at the failure to adopt a treaty after four weeks of negotiations….While many delegations expressed regret over the lack of a consensus document, there was general agreement that the process is not over….the question now becomes how to proceed with the process writ large….it is important to remember that the rule of consensus, and ultimately the de facto veto power of each member state, will not necessarily apply to future negotiations. As such, the majority of member states that have called for an ATT with stronger provisions than the ones found in the President’s text should propose a text that encompasses more of the provisions that these member states have fought for throughout the negotiations, most notably inclusion of ammunition and munitions in the scope and clear, legally-binding criteria for national risk assessment…. Ultimately, if the rules of procedure change, then so should the treaty. The compromises made during July should be revaluated if they only apply to a few select states and a new, stronger text should be presented.

From Robert Zuber comes this assessment:

The UN General Assembly’s mandate for an arms trade treaty (ATT) negotiating conference expired at 6PM Friday with a whimper more than a bang….Apparently, poll numbers in US swing states and intense (and largely unaddressed) vitriol from the National Rifle Association (NRA) and surrogates proved too much for the US delegation, assuming that it was as enthusiastic about adopting a Treaty as it maintained in the final negotiating days….Shortly, the ‘second guessing’ and self-analysis will begin in earnest. What went wrong? What could we have done differently? What do we need to learn that can help us moving forward?….We squandered a lot of enthusiasm in my view by misrepresenting the potential of this ATT….

Zuber enumerates his recommendations on how to proceed at the next ATT conference to be held this Fall:

We should rethink the policy of acceding to the demands of any one member state regarding working methods for treaty negotiations. The consensus provision turned out to be a burden too extreme to overcome….Accommodating a single state’s interests on protocol, working methods, or content must be addressed with extreme caution….we are committed to ending the reliance of states on weapons for their security and to free as many funds for military purposes as possible and to make them available for social development and environmental health….Our hope for an ATT is that it provides new opportunities to stigmatize the staggering arms trade, not to provide new impetus for its growth.

While this next stratagem was positioned in the middle of Zuber’s commentary, perhaps it would have been more honest to place it at the end:

“We should also rethink how we ‘sell’ the ATT to the global public and avoid generating expectations that put pressure on a document that was never likely to fulfill those expectations….[emphasis ours].”

Zuber noted in his closing paragraph:

“The issue from here is not whether or not we are “good” or “right,” but rather how successfully we can adapt to shifting conditions.

To us, this seems awfully reminiscent of the strategy of the snake-oil salesman in days of old.

About the authors

Dr. Paul Gallant practices optometry on Long Island, NY, and has written on firearm politics for the past 20 years. He is a Senior Fellow at the Independence Institute. Sherry Gallant has been co-authoring many of the recent series of articles on the ATT done with Alan J. Chwick and Paul Gallant.  Alan J. Chwick also lives on Long Island and is currently the Managing Coach of the Freeport Junior Club (FJC), at the Freeport NY Revolver & Rifle Association. Additionally, he has been involved with firearms much of his life, and is extremely active in the Second Amendment, of the U.S. Bill of Rights, political arena in Nassau County and the State of New York. Almost all of the co-authored writings of Paul Gallant, Sherry Gallant, and Alan J. Chwick can be found at, which contains more detailed information about their biographies and writing, and contains hyperlinks to many of their articles. Their recent series focusing on the Arms Trade Treaty can be found primarily at

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"on the transfers of small arms and ammunition (that cause the majority of the world’s conflict casualties)"

There's the problem right there. Blaming inanimate objects as the CAUSE of the conflicts. As opposed to on political group wanting to dominate or kill another group.