Thursday, August 6, 2009

A foreign threat to the rights of US citizens and residents

Dave Kopel points out that the CIFTA convention might directly impact the Second Amendment to the US Constitution.

The Obama administration’s offensive against the Second Amendment has begun.

As was predicted, the strategy uses international law to create a foundation for repressive and extreme gun control. The mechanism is an international treaty, the “Inter-American Convention against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and Other Related Materials.” [Full text of the convention at the link.]

If the plan succeeds, police sales of confiscated firearms would be prohibited, and anyone who reloads ammunition at home would need a federal license. In addition, the treaty would create an international law requirement that almost every American firearm owner be licensed as if he were a manufacturer.

. . .

The treaty is commonly known as “CIFTA,” for its Spanish acronym, Convención Interamericana Contra La Fabricación Y El Tráfico Ilícitos De Armas De Fuego, Municiones, Explosivos Y Otros Materiales Relacionados. The document is called a “convention” rather than a “treaty” because “convention” is a term of art for a multilateral treaty created by a multinational organization.

At the OAS meeting in April 2009, President Obama said that he would send CIFTA to the U.S. Senate and urge ratification. The White House claimed that the convention was merely an expression of international goodwill, and that it had been negotiated with the participation of the National Rifle Association.

Both statements were false.

Kopel goes on to point out that law enforcement sales of confiscated firearms, reloading of ammunition by private citizens, and even disassembly, reassembly and attaching accessories to firearms, might become illegal or subject to licensing under the provisions of CIFTA. He asks whether the BATFE would be able to simply pass regulations implementing these provisions, thus avoiding Congressional debate over the matter, and points out:

Ultimately, the question of whether BATFE can promulgate regulations under CIFTA might be decided in court cases. One way for a court to resolve the issue would be to acknowledge that federal statutes already authorized regulation of manufacturing, and that CIFTA, as the latter-enacted law, simply expanded the definition of manufacturing so that the licensing requirement now applies to persons who are not engaged in the firearm business, and to manufacture or assembly of firearms attachments and spare parts.

It is not hard to foresee Obama-appointed federal judges upholding massive new BATFE gun control regulations, especially when Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and the State Department’s top legal adviser (Harold Koh) insist to the courts that the expanded federal regulations are necessary for the United States to comply with its international law obligations.

CIFTA does not specifically require gun registration. But once you impose manufacturing licenses, registration comes along for the ride. Existing federal regulations for manufacturers of firearms and ammunition require that manufacturers keep records of all products they produce, and these records must be available for government inspection.

Thus, those who reload ammunition would have to keep records of every round they made, and gun owners would have to keep a record of everything they “assembled” (e.g., putting a scope on a rifle). These records would then be open to BATFE inspection.

. . .

Further, CIFTA could be used to impose national licensing, registration and taxation of gun owners without members of Congress having to cast a vote that explicitly creates such laws. Indeed, because treaties need to be ratified by two-thirds of the Senate, yet need no approval from the House of Representatives, the House could be cut out of the law-making process altogether.

There's more at the link. Important reading for those who hold the Constitution dear.

I suggest that all of us who hold dear our rights under the Constitution should follow the CIFTA ratification process carefully, and write to our Senators, expressing our opposition to this convention. If it passes, it'll be yet another weapon for the anti-gunners to use against us - and they've got far too many already.



Anonymous said...

All I can say to those bastards (sorry, have to use exact speech here) is: "Come and take them!"


Wayne Conrad said...

I'll fight bad law, but my rights don't come from the law, and cannot be removed by any law. The man who thinks so is itching for a fight.