Preemptive Offenses

Thursday, March 28, 2013

The War On Guns: A Flank Attack

From a conventional, gun-control-friendly news story such as this one:

Supporters of a U.N. treaty designed to regulate the multibillion-dollar global arms trade were optimistic that a final draft circulated a day before Thursday's deadline will reach consensus.

Negotiators reconvened last week in a final attempt to reach a deal on the Arms Trade Treaty, which would require all countries to establish national regulations to control the transfer of conventional arms and to regulate arms brokers....

The draft treaty does not control the domestic use of weapons in any country, but it would require all countries to establish national regulations to control the transfer of conventional arms, parts and components and to regulate arms brokers. It would prohibit states that ratify the treaty from transferring conventional weapons if they would violate arms embargoes or if they would promote acts of genocide, crimes against humanity or war crimes.

The final draft makes this human rights provision even stronger, adding that the export of conventional arms should be prohibited if they could be used in the commission of attacks on civilians or civilian buildings such as schools and hospitals.'d most likely come away thinking that this treaty proposal is innocuous, even benign. After all, who's in favor of "acts of genocide, crimes against humanity or war crimes," or "attacks on civilians or civilian buildings such as schools and hospitals," anyway?

But the NRA is strongly against the treaty, and there are some mighty good reasons:

On Monday, March 25, the permanent mission to the United Nations from Mexico sponsored a press event where representatives of four major non-governmental organizations (NGOs) made statements on the progress of the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) negotiations currently underway in New York....

“This treaty is not good enough,” said Anna MacDonald of Oxfam. “This is not the treaty that is going to save lives and protect people.”

Decrying the “loopholes,” “weaknesses,” and “deficiencies” of the proposal, the groups called for increased regulation and more robust enforcement provisions....

Among the many complaints registered by these human rights groups, the one most often mentioned Monday was the draft proposal’s failure to clamp down on the sale, trade, and transfer of ammunition....

When pressed by reporters to name the state parties responsible for the treaty’s lack of substantial anti-ammo provisions, MacDonald named the United States....

There is also the irrefutable fact that there would be no conference right now were it not for the fact that the Obama administration’s previously filed objections to the treaty mysteriously disappeared after the president won reelection in November.

Within hours, in fact, of locking up another four years in the White House, President Obama ordered the U.S. diplomats to vote in favor of another round of negotiations and to green light the globalist gun grab.

That sort of coverage makes you whip out a magnifying glass and scamper back to the first article...and looky here!

... if they would promote...
...if they could be used...

What criteria would be used to decide such things? Who would write them -- and who would interpret them?

(Apropos of that second article, The New American is the magazine of the John Birch Society, and a very fine publication it is. No matter whether or not you completely accept the Birchers' conspiratorialist premises, their coverage of freedom-related issues and political developments is about the best around.)

One of the worst mistakes a polity can make is to allow public officials any discretion at all. The law is supposed to be plain of meaning, stable and reliable, and consistent in its effects on everyone under its jurisdiction. If it isn't, you don't have "rule of law;" you have "rule of whim:" the whim of whoever's in office at the time.

Americans are jealous of their right to keep and bear arms, and rightly so: an armed populace is the ultimate control on the actions of government. Public officials dislike the thought of being controlled. In their opinion, it's their prerogative to do all the controlling. So they like "reasonable and proper" clauses, and laws filled with "coulds" and "woulds." The discretion those weasel words provide allows them latitude...latitude they can put to use in strapping us down ever more straitly.

The final form of the ATT Treaty is guaranteed to contain all sorts of variably interpretable language: the sort that allows public officials to rationalize any and every sort of intrusion on private firearms manufacture, sale, ownership, and use. If it's ratified by the Senate, the right to keep and bear arms will be chipped away to nullity. You can bank on it.

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