By Jeffrey Smith
In the wake of Sandy Hook, a wave of moves to greatly restrict or eliminate Americans’ Second Amendment rights swept across the nation. In a series of often wild contests of political wills patriots nationwide have successfully fought off the first wave of efforts to take their rights.
In Congress, for the moment, and in state legislatures, forces opposed to ownership of firearms were effectively slowed in their efforts.
But in the wake of patriots having initially prevailed, a larger, far darker picture has emerged as to the genuine state of the Second Amendment movement leaving many long time firearms rights activists and knowledgeable gun owners privately very unsettled.
Forces seeking to eliminate or greatly restrict Americans’ firearms rights stopped when it was clear that, first, a large number in Congress correctly saw the measures being proposed as the initial steps to confiscation along the lines of what has already occurred in British-controlled or influenced nations like Australia. Secondly, any prolonged debate on new firearms legislation would necessarily involve a far closer examination of the actual events of Sandy Hook, much of which still remains undisclosed, something no one in the Obama administration or law enforcement has any apparent desire for.
Facing an effective stop to their efforts in Congress, forces opposed to gun ownership, which by this point included the entire United States-based left wing, liberal academia, almost all major non-governmental organizations (NGOs) the U.S. and world media and even foreign governments like China, turned their attention first to a state-by-state campaign.
In this they were quickly successful in New York with a new law which imposes strong new requirements on gun ownership. Passed in record time, much of which was the result of closed-door late night negotiations, the NY SAFE Act quickly became the template for what anti-gun forces attempted to pass in dozens of states.
But in the aftermath of the initial success, firearms rights advocates and a growing number of long-term observers of the fight to defend the Second Amendment began to seriously question how a legal disaster like what occurred in N.Y. could have happened so quickly with so little effective opposition from very well established and well-funded gun owners associations. Critics point to the fact that N.Y. has one of the strongest National Rifle Association (NRA) memberships and the state is the home of one of the nation’s oldest and well-established firearms owners’ organizations, the New York State Pistol and Rifle Association, which one of the group’s officers notes is two years older than the NRA itself.
Firearms rights organizations in the N.Y. case only managed to mount a demonstration in Albany, the capital, after the passage of the NY SAFE Act, which mostly served to vent members’ anger at the measure and N.Y.’s far-left-leaning Governor Andrew M. Cuomo.
The events in N.Y. have caused a basic question to emerge; how could a movement which ostensibly consists of many well-established and very well-financed gun rights organizations, have permitted what happened in N.Y.?
The questioning has now broadened to a general examination of how well, or unwell, gun owners are being defended nationally.
Attention has now shifted to what is occurring on a far higher level which, if now mishandled, has the power to end all firearms rights in America.
Many of the most-seasoned observers in firearm rights circles are now pointing to what is right now occurring at the United Nations in New York City. Started on March 18th the long-prepared-for UN Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT 2013) is a major gathering which has long sought to place worldwide restrictions on the sale and trade of firearms including the individual ownership of firearms by civilians in member nations.
The ultra-importance of what is quietly occurring, many experts say, can supersede any actions by Congress or state legislatures. This is due to a basic direction of thought which has, also quietly, become predominant with many elected officials and almost all levels of the federal bureaucracy and in the powerful world of policy-setting private NGOs, mostly based on Manhattan’s Upper East Side.
Many firearms rights advocates are now questioning why key gun organizations are doing everything to quiet their memberships’ well-justified fears as to what is unfolding at the UN. Often indicating that what is happening in NYC has little actual importance and in any case, needs no real intervention. One major gun organization leader recently described the prospect of danger to the 2nd Amendment as being remote due to what he termed as “the lack of unanimity of UN member nations.”
The reality, which is widely understood among internationalists and their numerous supporters on Capitol Hill, is that the UN is close to passing worldwide restrictions on gun ownership which is fully-binding on all Americans.
This is so, the international community has always strongly believed, because of the legal principal, held among most legal academics, policy making NGOs and members of Congress, that treaty law fully supersedes and overrides Constitutional law.
Over the years, a constellation of the best minds the patriotic movement has ever produced have warned that should the UN pass some kind of mandatory full-registration requirement or total gun-ownership ban, or any measure clearly outside of Constitutional limits, such a requirement would, in the present legal atmosphere, under treaty law, be used to bypass all domestic Constitutional safeguards.
What this would mean, major patriotic leaders have long warned, is that should the UN pass any new resolutions which restricted Americans’ freedom it would be impossible for Congress or the courts to stop or reverse the action.
But as was the case with the last UN conference on small arms, both major and minor gun rights organizations have made it clear that under no circumstances are they going to make any attempt to seriously effect or much less interfere with what will occur at the UN. One major gun organization, when pressed, stated that they will only be sending “observers” to the conference.
No gun rights organizations, even those which have absorbed millions of dollars of gun owners’ donations, have any plans whatsoever to place one demonstrator with one sign across from the UN during the conference.
Besides the lack of physical presence, there is the absence of almost all of the standard activities which groups who oppose an event commonly engage in. There are no news conferences planned in Manhattan which would bring the issue of the conference before the press and public from a firearms owners’ perspective. There have been no mass-mailings to alert the wide gun owner memberships in the Tri-State Area close to the UN. And as above, there are going to be no public gatherings planned anywhere near the high-level international confab.
Several of the most major Second Amendment groups, some observers say, may be tax-exempt under Internal Revenue Service rules. In addition, any large demonstration, even if fully-legal, anywhere near the UN would quickly involve many levels of federal law enforcement.
The lack of major gun organizations’ involvement in the pivotal UN conference is so striking that it has even come to the notice of the mainstream media. Britain’s Guardian recently ran a front-page article noting that the NRA appears this time to be significantly quieter on the conference. On March 9, staff writer Ed Pilkington quotes Representative Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.), a strong supporter of UN gun controls, as approvingly noting the reduced presence of firearms rights advocates at this year’s conference. The Guardian has consistently supported British-style firearms restrictions and the NRA has, in the past, issued many warnings on UN gun conferences.
The growing examination of what may be wrong with the Second Amendment support movement has also largely uncovered another major area which the more-established and well-financed gun rights groups are being careful to avoid.
While there has been an almost total lack of media presence near the conference by firearms rights organizations, the opposite is true of an organization which is emerging as the master component in the large number of NGOs and academics which are supporting the conference and the international movement for gun confiscation. In recent weeks, N.Y. press offices have been flooded with literature from a sole foreign NGO, which acts as a master source for gun-control advocacy groups.
The most powerful anti-gun organization seeking to restrict American’s freedom to own firearms is based fully outside the U.S., in London.
From London, the International Action Network on Small Arms (IANSA) conducts constant activities aimed at pushing for arms control including the stringent control, preferably by treaty law, of civilian access to firearms of any kind, and, failing that, an international registry of all gun owners. The group also seeks the establishment of gun control organizations in UN member states and the stimulation of existing groups to higher levels of activism. IANSA is so central and critical to international gun control, that most seasoned observers rank it, by far, the most powerful and influential single element in the anti-firearms movement.
Most of the more-established and better-financed Second Amendment groups have been all but totally silent on the powerful IANSA, and have sought to deflect concern about it, with one president of a major firearms group going as far as calling the foreign NGO a “pop gun organization.” However, a growing number of independent insurgent groups among firearms advocates have made substantive efforts to examine and expose IANSA’s activities.
Among all the groups which recognize firearms rights as being an important American freedom, beforeitsnews.com and the YouTube channel MrCensorMe1 have emerged as leading voices on IANSA and the well-financed network of anti-gun follower NGOs. Many other independent effective Internet sources on the UN conference, IANSA and its allied groups exist.
Jeff Smith is a correspondent for AFP’s Eastern Bureau.