By Paul Gallant, Alan J. Chwick, Sherry Gallant & Joanne D. Eisen
Manasquan, NJ –-(Ammoland.com)- With the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) currently on the back burner, in just a few days, weapon-prohibitionists will be holding another firearms conference in New York City: the Review Conference 2012 (RevCon 2012).
RevCon 2012 re-visits the UN’s Programme of Action (PoA) to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects, adopted in 2001.
While the PoA enumerates many lofty-sounding objectives, to those unfamiliar with the UN’s agenda, to date, with regard to civilian firearm ownership, this might sound like a template for the elimination of human rights abuses. But armed with knowledge of the UN’s past efforts to achieve civilian disarmament, and reading all the provisions contained in the Programme, it is difficult to come away with any impression other than the PoA was really nothing short of a template to accomplish that.
But if the PoA’s proponents said what they really wanted –just like the rest of the weapon-prohibitionists– they likely wouldn’t have gotten to the stage we’re at now: the implementation of a global, legally -binding Arms Trade Treaty!
So they camouflaged their real goals a decade ago, and used the PoA as a guideline.
The goal of this Second Review Conference “[W]ill offer the opportunity to review the progress made in the implementation of the PoA, including the separately agreed International Tracing Instrument (ITI) (2005).” And the goal of the ITI is the “Undertaking [of] effective measures in marking, record-keeping and tracing [which] is vital for curbing the illicit trade and combating the diversion of small arms to unintended users. Although many weapons are marked when produced and some when imported, international cooperation in marking and tracing of small arms is in its infancy.”
RevCon 2012 will take place at the UN from August 27 to September 7, 2012, and one can find its agenda described at the Reaching Critical Will (RCW) website. RCW describes itself as “a project of Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF)…. to protest the killing and destruction of the war then raging in Europe. WILPF created Reaching Critical Will in 1999 in order to promote and facilitate engagement of non-governmental actors in UN processes related to disarmament.”
Unlike the Arms Trade Treaty, which will encompass 8 classes of weapons, the PoA is specifically limited to Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW). Just as ATT proponents insist that the ATT was not intended to eliminate civilian weapons, PoA proponents (many of whom are members of the same anti-gun groups) also insist that the PoA is not about the elimination of the private ownership of firearms.
And this is how they laid the trap. Since governments control the definition of what is “lawful,” when the time is ripe, governments can re-define lawful civilian firearm ownership and possession right out of existence.
The weapon-prohibitionists maintain that “Most illicit small arms and light weapons begin as legally manufactured or imported weapons that are subsequently diverted to the illicit realm.” They have no qualms about allowing government to retain strong control over privately-owned weapons. They appear to believe, with utmost confidence, that through their elaborate tracing and tracking schemes, they can locate the points where weapons are diverted into the illicit arms trade, thereby halting further illegal transfers, and punishing violators, as well.
But what their schemes will actually accomplish is decrease licit transfers of arms to civilians, who will then increasingly turn to the black market to obtain what government denies them.
Sadly, many Americans already accept the fact that our government controls just who is allowed to own which weapons, and under what circumstances those weapons can be owned and used. Although not stated outright, it seems apparent to us that PoA restrictions are intended only to reduce the lists –of permissible weapons, of those who can own them, and of how those weapons can be used.
And these lists are rapidly shrinking, day by day.
In a 2001 paper sponsored by Small Arms Survey, “Removing Small Arms From Society,” Sami Faltas, Glenn McDonald & Camilla Waszink confirm the PoA’s goal.
The authors state: “Finally, using a mix of incentives and sanctions and working together with business and civil society, governments must recover stocks of firearms held by the population and dispose of them definitively, preferably through destruction.”
The weapon-prohibitionists have been busy preparing a set of international standards, the International Small Arms Control Standard (ISACS), an early draft of which is currently online. Its update, which has been kept under wraps, is not easily accessible to the public (log-in credentials are required for viewing the document). The update is scheduled to be launched to the public on Wednesday, August 29, 2012.
It is often stated that “actions speak louder than words,” and the weapon-prohibitionists never come up short in this regard. We can best understand the RevCon 2012 advocates’ camouflaged designs to disarm civilians by watching their actions. Although they claim that their intent is to reduce violence and to reduce human rights violations, their acts indicate otherwise.
When voluntary civilian disarmament fails, as it has in the past, forceful disarmament will follow. The weapon-prohibitionists apparently know this, but they don’t seem to care. In an article entitled “Lessons From the Frontiers: Civilian Disarmament in Kenya and Uganda,” the authors discuss attempted civilian disarmament. And, they acknowledge, “In some cases the use of force was clearly excessive, with grave human rights violations occurring.”
The human rights violations referred to included rape, torture, and murder.
If those who condemn the use of such inhumane methods are willing to see them used to achieve their goal of disarmament at any cost, including the loss of innocent life, we should never believe that their goal is benign. Nor should we ever accept their pretense of innocence. We must always seek the hidden lie, for it is there just waiting to be found.
With the knowledge that total civilian disarmament–and government monopoly of force–is the ultimate goal, it is imperative that we watch RevCon 2012 with extreme scrutiny and skepticism.
About the authors:
Dr. Paul Gallant and Dr. Joanne D. Eisen practice optometry and dentistry, respectively, on Long Island, NY, and have collaborated on firearm politics for the past 20 years. They have also collaborated with David B. Kopel since 2000, and are Senior Fellows at the Independence Institute, where Kopel is Research Director. Most recently, Gallant and Eisen have also written with Alan J. Chwick. Sherry Gallant has been instrumental in the editing of virtually all of the authors’ writings, and is immensely knowledgeable in the area of firearm politics.
Almost all of the co-authored writings of Gallant, Eisen, Kopel and Chwick can be found at http://gallanteisen.incnf.