UN on ‘Collision Course’ with Second Amendment, Says SAF
The United Nations is “on a collision course” with the US Constitution’s Second Amendment and the natural right of all people to defend themselves,” the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) said in a statement to the UN’s Fifth Biennial Programme of Action (POA) meeting in New York in June.
SAF Operations Director and W&G Publisher Julianne Versnel told the committee that “the POA and other UN efforts repeatedly and vociferously discuss gender issues.” “They acknowledge that women are disproportionally the victims of horrendous violence, sometimes even perpetrated by their own governments or others in power,” Versnel said. “Yet, they turn a blind eye to the reality that women have a right to defend themselves and are capable of doing so. The Programme of Action seems unable to acknowledge anything beyond the simplistic notion that civilian firearms are inherently evil. The right of women, indeed the right of men and women, to self-defense is a human right.”
The UN has failed to recognize this human right, she stated, whether it deals with POA activities, the infamous Arms Trade Treaty or even its own Human Rights Council. “This is not a geographically limited issue and a growing number of organizations consider it vital,” she said. “In fact, the Second Amendment Foundation along with 20 other civilian firearms rights groups from six continents came together in 2008 to form the International Association for the Protection of Civilian Arms Rights (IAPCAR). IAPCAR intends to vigorously pursue the right to self-defense in every possible venue.”
Versnel criticized a 2006 report by Barbara Frey with the UN Human Rights Council that “refused the idea that there is a right to have arms for self-defense and furthermore rejected any concept of self-defense as a human right. It also went on to say that states had a duty to engage in gun control. The kind of gun controls that makes self-defense impossible.”
Frey’s report was titled Prevention of Human Rights Violations Committed with Small Arms and Light Weapons. “These conclusions were outrageous,” Versnel stated. “These erroneous concepts have spread at the UN. It appears that Peru introduced a resolution at the UN Human Rights Council, based on the Frey report that, in essence, demanded that all states institute strict civilian gun control. NGOs are starting to base their opposition to firearms on the Frey report at the expense of recognizing an individual’s right to self-defense.”
While acknowledging that the question cannot be resolved quickly, Versnel promised to “debate this in any venue, at any time, at any place.” Among the representatives of other firearms interest non-government organizations (NGOs) speaking at the meeting was Richard Patterson, executive director of the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute (SAAMI), who addressed the issue of technological innovation. “It’s important to keep in mind the firearm and ammunition industry has long been at the forefront of innovation,” he said. “We applaud attempts at innovation, but neither support nor oppose any individual idea.
“We must, however, oppose any mandate that could potentially force the adoption of an unworkable or unsafe mechanism. If the system works and offers an advantage desired by customers, there will be no need for mandates. So it goes with incorporating user recognition into a firearm—the so called ‘smart gun.’ Such technology was developed for those who must carry a firearm during encounters with criminals and other adversaries. Retention holsters and better training are already proven ways to address these problems.
“This technology was not originally conceived for general firearm storage situations,” Patterson continued. “Calls to mandate such use is a misapplication of the technology. If advocates of ‘smart guns’ promote them as a cure for crime gun access, they are deluding themselves and you. First, any such device is easily circumvented or defeated. Even if we’re wrong about that—and we’re not—visit maximum security prisons in the US and their museums will have displays of firearms and ammunition made by inmates right under the eyes of prison guards…
If criminals cannot disable a user recognition device or get weapons from existing sources, they can, they have, and they will simply build them.” The NGOs made their remarks on June 19. The presentations began with Rebecca Peters of International Action Network on Small Arms (IANSA), who spoke on the POA’s history and her organization’s goals. She was followed by Gugu Dube of South Africa, whose remarks focused on stockpile management and firearms storage in both homes and offices. Alex Galvez of Transitions in Guatemala spoke of his struggles as a survivor of gun violence. This group concluded with remarks from David Wheeler of Sandy Hook Promise, whose son Benjamin was killed in the tragic December 2012 elementary school shooting.
Speaking on behalf of the firearms industry, besides SAAMI, were the World Forum on Shooting Activities, Defense Small Arms Advisory Council, Italian Association of Manufacturers of Sporting and Civilian Firearms and Ammunition, and the German Association of Manufacturers of Sporting and Hunting Firearms and Ammunition. Speaking on behalf of individual firearms owners, besides the Second Amendment Foundation, were the Heritage Foundation, Canadian Shooting Sports Association, Coalicon Armas Legales Latino Americanas, National Firearms Association of Canada and the National Muzzle Loading Rifle Association.W&G