We know that most countries don’t have the enlightened view on firearms that the United States has and constantly struggles to maintain. However, when you get a bunch of people from those countries together to discuss the illicit small arms trade, they’re bound to start flinging the stupid. After all, they tend to care nothing for people’s individual rights to keep and bear arms.
Over at Forbes, Ted Bromund of The Heritage Foundation opted to outline some of the stupid he heard while attending Third U.N. Conference to Review Progress Made in the Implementation of the Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects. Yes, that’s its name.
And no, that wasn’t the height of the stupidity flowing freely.
Unfortunately, the PoA doesn’t stick to the illicit international trade in small arms. And in the process of not allowing it to stick to its job, its supporters say a lot of stupid things. And yes, they do like to talk about gun control. Here are the ten dumbest things I’ve heard about guns at the United Nations over the past two weeks.
- Mexico’s proposal to include IEDs. Make no mistake, IEDs are a problem. But they’re not one the PoA can usefully address. Many types of IED are already illegal. Many of them are not trafficked internationally. And above all, they’re used almost exclusively by terrorists. Putting IEDs into the PoA amounts to implying that Al Qaeda should sign up to it.
A fair assessment. I mean, the only things that might be included in such a thing would be artillery shells or bombs that can be converted into IEDs, as these are often obtained through the same sources as the illicit arms. They’re also stolen, captured, and obtained in any other way possible.
However, they’re not “small arms and light weapons” by any stretch.
Mexico’s proposal to regulate “the end user.” For years, Mexico has argued that the PoA shouldn’t simply concern itself with the international illicit arms trade, but should reach inside national borders and regulate “end users.” In the U.S., that means individual purchasers of firearms, which is precisely why Mexico wants what it wants: it’s trying to use the PoA to mandate gun control in the U.S. Mexico’s proposal is part of the PoA’s curious tendency to forget that it’s supposed to be focusing solely on the international trade, and to wade off into regulating the “end user.” The highlight of this tendency is the proposal, made in 2016 by the U.N. Secretary-General and included in a PoA draft this year, to use RFID chips to “track and document which individual has used a specific weapon, when and for how long.”
Yeah, buddy. That’s going to fly.
The United Nations has no real authority on American soil and, frankly, if they try it, they’ll find out just why it’s a damn bad idea. Regulating the “end user” of legal small arms like those available to the average American will accomplish nothing except make the United Nations even more despised in this country. After all, it’s not like we’re the ones selling to African warlords or Mexican cartels.
Misusing ATF statistics. One of the favorite talking points of the activists — embodied by the Center for American Progress — is that an enormous percentage of crime guns recovered and traced in Mexico (70 percent) and Canada (98.5 percent) are traced back to the U.S. On its face, this is ridiculous: the idea that 985 out of every 1000 crime guns in Canada come from the U.S. is too high to be plausible. The activists get these numbers because, though they correctly cite the relevant ATF reports, they use them to imply something that’s untrue. The figure of 98.5 percent, for example, refers only to guns sent to the U.S. for tracing. In other words, the Canadian police are 98.5 percent accurate in sending probable U.S.-origin guns to the U.S. to be traced, whereas their Mexican colleagues are only 70 percent accurate. These numbers say nothing about the overall share of U.S. guns in Canadian or Mexican crime.
This is often one of my pet peeves. We have a set of data. What we don’t really have is the necessary context.
For example, let’s say that Canada only sent the United States 200 guns for tracing. A total of 197 came back as coming from the United States. That equals 98.5 percent. However, only a fool thinks that all of Canada only had 200 gun-related crimes total. Yet the percentages still match up.
What we don’t have is any reference to what percentage of total guns that represents. Without that, we know nothing.
Besides, only an idiot would think that Canadian bad guys would be more likely to obtain guns from American sources than Mexican bad guys. After all, guns are easier to get in Canada than in Mexico.
Whining about gender. Gender has absolutely no relevance whatsoever to the control of the illicit international trade in small arms . Nor do women have any special expertise in this area simply because they are women. Nor is it true that women are uniquely burdened by the results of this illicit trade — on the contrary, most of the victims are men. (Jamaica’s figures, for example, show that in 2017 male victims outnumbered female ones by over 6 to 1.) But yet the PoA has become a vehicle for talking about gender. There has been a lengthy debate over whether the PoA should promote the “full” or the “equal” (the latter mandating one woman for every man, regardless of their expertise) involvement of women. The highlight of the gender panic was probably a speech by a left-wing NGO on Tuesday which argued that “militarised masculinity is . . . the main impediment to disarmament, peace, and gender equality.” In other words, in order to address the illicit international trade in small arms, we need to rewrite all history, society, and culture from the perspective of the progressive left. A word of advice to people who think like this: the more you say stuff like this, the more anyone who doesn’t agree with you is likely to write off all the U.N. programs you say you support as a Trojan Horse for your own radicalism.
This is all I have to say on this one:
But wait, there’s more.
Promoting gun control. Well, you knew it would come to this. In theory, the PoA is tightly limited to the international illicit trade. But the people who back it make no secret of their support for gun control. On Thursday, 17 nations, including Mexico, proposed including civilian possession in the PoA. Last Friday, we had a visit from Wear Orange, of Everytown for Gun Safety, financed by Michael Bloomberg. They clearly see the PoA as relevant to domestic gun control. The best illustration of why came on Wednesday, when in a side event on domestic gun control laws an Australian representative stated that “every gun shop that disappeared was a point from which guns could no longer be diverted.” In other words, according to the gun controllers, the way to control the illicit arms trade is to make sure there are no legal places to buy guns, which will ensure that no legal guns exist to become illegal. The Australian representative went on to point out that the most important source of crime guns in Australia is thefts from legal gun owners. That sums up their point of view nicely: legal gun owners should be deprived of their right to buy a gun so that, when a thief invades their house, they will not have a gun that can be stolen. Also, they will be defenseless. The problem, by this way of thinking, is not the thief: it is the law-abiding gun owner, who should be punished accordingly.
Frankly, this is why the United Nations gets so little respect from the Second Amendment activists in this country. They’re wanting to create difficulties for us while completely ignoring the real problems out there. As Bromund writes, it is a problem, a real one that needs to be dealt with. But that’s not going to happen while they’re screwing around with lawful gun owners in the United States.
They’re just looking this direction because they think we’re easy targets.