“Perfect Storm” For UN Gun Control Agenda

The folks at United Nations headquarters in New York City, and our “allies” at Number 10 Downing Street in London, must be rubbing their hands with glee. Gun control groups here and abroad likewise are at last quietly cheering. Why? After a decade and a half of pushing unsuccessfully to secure America’s support for a legally-binding, international instrument to regulate the marketing, transfer and brokering in firearms, they are now on the brink of success. The process of formally negotiating an Arms Trade Treaty (“ATT”) now has Washington’s seal of approval; announced October 14th by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

It was not always thus.

In the summer of 2001, the UN formally launched its multi-year effort to institutionalize its role as regulator of international transfers of firearms; something it had coveted openly since the mid-1990s. In July 2001, John Bolton had been serving as President George W. Bush’s undersecretary of state for arms control and international security affairs for barely two months. It is this office at the state department that is responsible for issues ranging from nuclear disarmament to land mine eradication. When the UN began its foray into “small arms and light weapons” (a term that incorporates virtually every type, size and model of firearm) in the mid-90s, the issue fell into the lap of whoever occupied that office.

In one of his first public addresses after being sworn in as undersecretary, Bolton delivered the opening statement for the United States at the UN arms conference on July 9, 2001. His blunt words shocked many of the delegates present. The message he delivered made crystal clear, with reference to our constitutionally-guaranteed “right to keep and bear arms,” that the US would not be a party to any international effort that would directly or indirectly infringe that fundamental right.

Over the next five years, in meeting after meeting, the US was true to the words Bolton delivered in 2001. Refusing to bow to intense pressure from many of our “allies,” including most notably the UK, the US opposed and even vetoed numerous efforts to afford the UN any legally-binding power to regulate the “international” trafficking in firearms. The Bush Administration realized that doing so would tie US policy makers’ hands in supporting certain arms transfers in our own national security interests. Moreover, and more relevant for Second Amendment purposes, a legally-binding instrument purporting to regulate illicit international transfers of firearms, would necessarily touch domestic activities. For example, in order to know and regulate international transfers, the UN folks would have to know what firearms were being manufactured, stocked, and purported to be transferred within each country.

The playing field now has changed dramatically. We have a president, a secretary of state, and an undersecretary philosophically in synch with the UN and its member nations who have been clamoring for the US to join the march to an ATT. In her statement of October 14th announcing Washington’s reversal on this issue, Clinton made not even passing or indirect reference to the Constitution, much less the Second Amendment; a position so clearly and forcefully employed by Bolton when defending our interests against the international “community.”

The irony in all this is that the US maintains the most rigorous and consistent legal controls on the export and import of firearms of any nation. If those nations pushing for an international arms trade treaty were sincerely concerned with tightening such controls internationally, all they would have to do would be to adopt regulations and laws as we have in the US already. But that’s not their true agenda.

The real agenda of these folks at the UN, and in London, Tokyo, Brasilia, and the other capitals around the world of nations pushing the US to “come on board,” is not international regulation, but limiting the freedom we enjoy within the United States to keep and bear arms.

124 comments Add your comment


October 26th, 2009
8:56 am

They can take my gun from my cold dead hands!!


October 26th, 2009
9:07 am

To have a socialized government you must first disarm the public. Sounds like the Obama’s agenda to me.


October 26th, 2009
9:29 am

Signed treaties mean nothing unless ratified by congress (both houses), and even then are not above Constitutional authority. The founders preempted this little power play and placed a giant roadblock in the way of those who would attempt to disarm the citizenry.

The Second Amendment is not about self-defense, hunting, or target shooting in the slightest. It is a provision that seeks to de-fang the government and give the people a way to resist tyranny by an out of control state.

Van Jones

October 26th, 2009
9:30 am

The USA is so great people lie, cheat and steal to get here. So why again should we be more like the rest of the world? Somebody’s jealous of us.


October 26th, 2009
9:33 am

The U.N. needs to stay out of our business. Lets’ build a fence from Maine to the tip of Florida.


October 26th, 2009
9:36 am

I don’t respect the authority of the jerks in the blue helmets, anymore than I respect the autority of the jerks in the federal government when it comes to my inalienable right to preserve my life and my liberty.

Not Going To Use My Usual Name

October 26th, 2009
9:45 am

I think the US lost any global credibility on this issue back in the 1980s with Iran-Contra.

Call it like it is.

October 26th, 2009
9:58 am

Everybody saw this coming. Obama is quick to tell the rest of the world how sorry America is, how worthless we are and so forth. If Obama calls for it, then the Obamatrons will answer. They are sheep and want and expect their master to protect them. I would dare challenge them to read a history book, but of course that will never happen.

An armed society is a free society.

And please don’t say it can’t happen here. What is the first thing that Hitler did when he took power, he took the guns away from the people. Same it Italy, same in Japan. It is the 1st step to turning people into sheep.

The best thing the American people can do is kick out the UN or at the very least, quit sending our troops and our money around the world. Let someone else pony up.

anonymous coward

October 26th, 2009
10:01 am

After taking a look at the contents of the ATT, I don’t quite make the connection between owning firearms here in the US and the transfer of arms between nations. The ATT seeks to control transfer of arms between nations, not change the laws within a particular nation.

So what, exactly, is your point, Mr. Barr?

The Battle Rifle of the Free World

October 26th, 2009
10:13 am

It carries contridictory wording that talks about criminal use of firearms. It’s a “moral” victory for the UN ….it says that the use wishes to stop gun violence and has clauses that talk about eradicating guns that CAN be used in a crime…..which is every private firearm in the US….it’s not just for the Lord of War African gun smugglers, it has plenty of back door jargon.


October 26th, 2009
10:21 am

Just look at the IL gun laws and in Chicago over 300 school children shot. Since the prez is from there, maybe that’s a clue about what is to come.


October 26th, 2009
10:26 am

I will give them my guns after first giving my ammo one round at a time at about 3000 feet per second.


October 26th, 2009
10:30 am

Bob you are ignoring the US Supreme Court & its decision last November in “District of Columbia v Heller” that the 2nd Amendment guarantees, against the Federal government, a citizens right to bear arms. If I may quote:
“Held: The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home.”

Pending is the McDonald v Chicago case that will likely extend the same guarantee against State laws.

“…the right of the people to keep & bear Arms…” should be safe in this country.


October 26th, 2009
10:46 am

If we had real gun control in this country, we wouldn’t have the number of murders each year that we do. Just food for thought.


October 26th, 2009
10:53 am

Bologna Soulfinger! If I wanted to kill someone I wouldn’t need a gun to do it.


October 26th, 2009
10:58 am

Mr.Barr, thanks for posting this up for us liberty loving people. It is because of people like you,Ron Paul,and Glenn Beck who have showed me that the GOP is just as bad as the DNC, and thus I have left the former for the Libertarian Party.

Billy Bob

October 26th, 2009
11:00 am

It’s an unfortunate part of the human condition that we often forget the lessons learned by previous generations. Our Founding Fathers knew intimately the hideous capabiliities of capricious monarchs and unchecked government. They paid for our freedom with their talent, blood and sweat.

Now, time and comfort have put political distance between ourselves and the Founders well-earned aversion to government intrusion. We live our lives with little understanding of why we are free in the first place. The results of the Cold War and the reasons for it are now little discussed in the MSM. Why? I fear it is because Joe McCarthy was correct. There were and are many communists among us.

Nothing says “get the hell lost” better to murderers, thieves and communists than the Second Amendment.

Long live the Constitution.

M D Cain

October 26th, 2009
11:16 am

Obama has a lot of people fooled. If you think he supports gun owners just look at his track record in Illinois and the Senate. Also look at the people in his cabinet such as Hillary, Holder, and Duncan. All gun control fanatics. If it weren’t for the Blue Dog Democrats standing with Republicans against gun control Obama would be coming after them now.


October 26th, 2009
11:18 am

1 Term Obozo!

Chris Broe

October 26th, 2009
11:26 am

“Global gun control groups might limit America’s freedom to keep and bear arms via the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT).”

Grading BobBarra: What kind of gun-tote diplomacy is this? BobBarra has extrapolated our right to bear arms to our foreign policy. He’s endowed the second amendment with a global manifest destiny.

AT+T? They’re making a Gat-phone? Turning Iphones to Irods? Twitters aren’t supposed to drone. Is BobBarra suggesting that our uber-texting mall rats should now tweet-and-skeet? Twitters aren’t supposed to drone.

Terrorists have been using cellphones as detonators. What if the lines are busy? They simply get a message: “If you’re ambushing a US convoy, press one. If you’re a suicide bomber, press two. If you’re a disgruntled Kurd, press three….”

The range of a cellphone detonation is critical. They actually do have a Mullah walking around Iraq going, “Can you kill me now?……Can U keel me now….Can you make me die a thousand deaths now?…. ”


Redneck Convert (R--and proud of it)

October 26th, 2009
11:42 am

Well, if I want to ship a couple cases machine guns to somebody like this African warlord, I ought to be able to. It’s none of the guvmint’s business. What’s next? Will they be coming afer my two machine guns and the antitank weapon that I keep for hunting and self defense?


October 26th, 2009
11:53 am

More conservative conspiracy lunacy.

We have and will continue to have the right to keep and bear arms. It’s in the constitution, Mr. Barr. Chicken Little column in my opinion.

Chip Jones

October 26th, 2009
11:54 am

Hope this news will boost NRA membership.


October 26th, 2009
12:04 pm

soulfinger – you are a lost sheep.
Call it like it is. Right on!

Hey, what about drug tests to qualify for welfare? That’s what we really need.


October 26th, 2009
12:06 pm

“The real agenda of these folks at the UN, and in London, Tokyo, Brasilia, and the other capitals around the world of nations pushing the US to “come on board,” is not international regulation, but limiting the freedom we enjoy within the United States to keep and bear arms.”

A simple question that should be asked about every argument’s conclusion is “Why?”. Another is “Is this logical?” This conclusion fails these tests. What possible reason could this litany of nations have to control gun ownership within the United States? Occam’s Razor also provides the correct conclusion – Is a treaty proposed by an international organization for the purpose of controlling international arms trafficking about A) international arms trafficking, or B) a roundabout conspiratorial way for said international organization to manipulate the laws of one particular nation. The razor tells us the correct answer is A.

Sadly, though Barr is occasionally right about privacy rights, he has a tremendous ideological blind spot when it comes to gun ownership and international law. His obsession with guns and his overwhelming distrust of and apparent disdain for any other nation appeal to the lunatic fringe that consistently responds to these topics of his. See the above posts.

What’s truly frightening is that Barr (and his lunatic fringe followers) truly seem to believe that we should be arming ourselves for battle. These thinly veiled allusions about Obama “disarming” the land so that he can “take over” are absurd, and just one more sign of the far-right hysteria that has accompanied his election. The people who are least intellectually and emotionally capable of responsibly using weapons are the ones amassing the most of them.

The Founding Fathers had good reason for rebelling against King George. They were rational, intelligent men. Those who so ominously try to equate themselves with those great men are neither rational nor intelligent. They are reactionary, frightened, unlettered and unstable. The last thing we need to do is make it easier for these people to get their hands on military-grade weapons.

Bob's A Cherry Picker

October 26th, 2009
12:16 pm

What was it the President said about “clinging to bibles and guns”?

Funny how Bill Bob in Hiram can equate legitimate efforts to suppress the profitering that occurs by keeping Africa in a constant state of war with Obama coming to his house and personally taking his .22.

Way to get the wackos fired up over nothing Bob…why don’t you write a column about legalizing drugs next time. I know you want to.


October 26th, 2009
12:16 pm

“Nothing says “get the hell lost” better to murderers, thieves and communists than the Second Amendment.

Long live the Constitution.”

How ironic. You say “Long live the Constitution” while simultaneously trashing it with your condemnation of a group simply because you don’t agree with their political ideology. How…consistent of you.


October 26th, 2009
12:20 pm

International control? Lets see where do Taurus, Glock and Walthers come from?

U>N>AMERICAN. nuff said.

As far as NRA membership…me too!


October 26th, 2009
12:51 pm




Billy Bob

October 26th, 2009
12:58 pm


Occam’s Razor isn’t logic, it simply states that the simpler answer/solution is usually the correct one. It has only a tangential relation to logic. It’s just an assertion.

Now, Mr. Barr’s implied assertion is that the ATT would limit the weapons we can trade (and own) therefor it is an indirect assault on the Second Amendment and threatens our liberty. It’s just another attempt to superimpose a regulatory structure on the Second Amendment.

Sounds like a valid argument.

Reason & Glenn

October 26th, 2009
1:06 pm


I post under 11 different psuedonyms

I’m really a closet homo.

Valid is who valid does.

Your friend, tftt

Mrs. Norris

October 26th, 2009
1:14 pm

Thank you Billy Bob, very well said. I’m so glad to know someone bothers to pay attention to history. Our forefathers had a lovely dream but unfortunately it could not last. The people will trade their freedom for security. Such a pity.

Chip Jones

October 26th, 2009
1:49 pm

So tired of worrying about a few shiny happy idiots wanting our guns. Drugs are illegal right? They are so easy to obtain in our country. Ask Gwinnett County authorities. It’s a simple matter of supply and demand. It’s a problem that will never go away….ever. Some people should not drive cars,have children, or buy lottery tickets. But this is America and humans are flawed. If you don’t approve of my Smith & Wesson it’s just too bad.I sleep quite well with my weapon handy. I did not start the mess….I take care of my own business . To get on your feet you must first get off of your ass.


October 26th, 2009
1:57 pm

I have no idea who “Glenn” is, but…is anyone supposed to take seriously someone who thinks that “I’m really a closet homo” is a zinging insult? And I haven’t been in the closet since I was an undergrad, thanks!

BB, at no point did I suggest that Occam’s Razor was part of formal logic. Moving on, thanks for summing up the rather obvious argument of the article. However, I’ve already offered reasons for questioning that argument’s validity – reasons that you chose to ignore. Simplicity and motivation…the idea that this treaty is a vast international conspiracy to affect US gun ownership is a bit of a stretch, and the reasons that various foreign governments would WANT to control US gun ownership is equally unclear.

Let’s not even mention the fact that, even if such a conspiracy DID exist, and even if the nefarious forces of the rest of the world (gosh, rampant xenophobia sounds so silly when you actually write it down) were conspiring to control us gun ownership, how would a treaty that affects the export or import of guns affect internal production? Theoretically speaking, if a particular weapon were desired by the market, and that weapon was somehow prevented from being imported by that particular treaty, then someone would fill the niche. So…how exactly would gun ownership rights be affected? The 2nd amendment says we have the right to bear arms…it doesn’t afford some blanket expectation that you will have access to any and every model manufactured anywhere in the world at any time.


October 26th, 2009
2:12 pm

I wonder how many people a year get killed in England and how it compares to the US? The cops don’t even carry guns there….. I would bet that they are much closer than liberal gun haters want to admit…


October 26th, 2009
2:18 pm

Soulfinger, you said, “If we had real gun control in this country, we wouldn’t have the number of murders each year that we do.”
If we had real vehicle control, we wouldn’t have as many wrecks. What freedoms are you willing to give up for life, liberty & your pursuit of happiness?

Hard Right Hook

October 26th, 2009
2:27 pm

“I think the US lost any global credibility on this issue back in the 1980s with Iran-Contra.”

This statement is laughable. The most prolific firearm in the WORLD is the AK-47, developed by our Russian friends in 1947, and now made is several countries.

Who sells that arms to our peace loving Muslim friends? 2-bit arms dealers working our of caves & closets. Let’s see the impotent UN reign them in.


October 26th, 2009
2:34 pm

“I wonder how many people a year get killed in England and how it compares to the US? The cops don’t even carry guns there….. I would bet that they are much closer than liberal gun haters want to admit…”

Given that you’re using the internet to post on a blog, I have to question this statement. It would take you all of five seconds to access various reliable studies on international homicide rates that would answer this question for you, so you wouldn’t have to wonder. I “wonder” if you weren’t simply using bad rhetoric to undermine arguments for gun control.

It’s also not particularly helpful to say things like “liberal gun haters”. For one thing, few liberals are in favor of banning gun ownership – we simply believe that reasonable control should be exercised over it, just as reasonable controls are exercised over speech. But I understand that it’s easier to phrase your arguments in absolutes. Less room for shades of grey that way.

Hard Right Hook

October 26th, 2009
2:44 pm

“For one thing, few liberals are in favor of banning gun ownership – we simply believe that reasonable control should be exercised over it….”

“…the right of the People to keep and bear Arms, shall no be infringed.”

Please explain “reasonable control.”


October 26th, 2009
2:49 pm

Come pick up my guns any time Barry, I’m waiting for you…

joe matarotz

October 26th, 2009
2:51 pm

Pierre in Paree is worried about Jethro and his shotgun in Otumwa, Iowa. What a crock! Get a grip, Bob. On reality, not yourself.

Mutts R Stupid

October 26th, 2009
2:57 pm

Git the US out of the UN, and the UN out of the USA!


October 26th, 2009
3:21 pm

I’m sure they appreciate you telling them their real reason. Considering that the discharge of a firearm at one of your campaign rallies might have cost you an election, I’d think you might have a little different slant on this. What’s good for us might not be good for the rest of the world, and I’d like to be there when that firearm is forcibly removed from someone’s dead, cold hands. I nominate you to lead Georgia’s militia. The gun worship in this country is disturbing. I don’t see this a 2nd Amendment issue.


October 26th, 2009
3:24 pm

Hard Right Hook

October 26th, 2009
2:44 pm

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State,”

Hard Right Hook

October 26th, 2009
4:00 pm

It’s good that you know the first half of the Second Amendment. Relavant?

Please explain “reasonable control.”

“The gun worship in this country is disturbing. I don’t see this a 2nd Amendment issue.”

The abject abuse and conscious motivation to ignore the Constitution I find absolutley appalling. The Obama worship I find significantly more than disturbing.

Hard Right Hook

October 26th, 2009
4:02 pm

PS: We have a well regulated militia. It’s a Constitutional Requirement. Are you advocating we disarm them, too?


October 26th, 2009
4:30 pm

Mr. Barr, you mentioned our import and export restrictions without mentioning how completely idiotic they are. Have you looked at the ATF’s arbitrary “points system” for imports? I would love to see an ATFer try to explain the constitutional authorization or empirically-determined correctness/usefulness of this mess of crap:



October 26th, 2009
4:44 pm

A couple of more thoughts from Justice Scalia’s decision in Heller.

“Like most rights, the Second Amendment right is not unlimited. It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose:…”

“…the Second Amendment extends, prima facie, to all instruments that constitute bearable arms, even those that were not in existence at the time of the founding.”

The Heller decision extends to Federal attempts to limit gun ownership.
So you guys can forget about any attempt from the Federal government.

But as the first quote indicates not “any weapon” is allowed. You guys who want your own nuclear bomb just will not be allowed to possess it. But my shotguns are OK.

The test appears to be “bearable arms”. The court will further define the issue of bearable arms as we go forward. For example, rocket launchers capable of knocking airplanes out of the air are “bearable”,
but will the court say they are OK for “the people” to possess?

Go to – supremecourtus.gov – click on 2008 cases & click on District of Columbia v Heller to read Scalia’s entire opinion. It is fascinating reading if you are interested in the 2nd Am.


October 26th, 2009
5:06 pm

Funny, I haven’t heard one word from the mouths of Obama or his administration that would lead me to believe that he is aiming to ban all firearms, like so many of you believe is the case. Sounds to me like many of you people are simply paranoid, and sore losers to boot. Just because gun control is part of Obama’s agenda doesn’t mean he’s going to totally ban guns, it means he’s going to push for stricter laws governing who can purchase and posses firearms. If you are a law-abiding citizen with a clean record, and of legal age, you have NOTHING to worry about. Grow up, folks, and stop overreacting on such simple issues.


October 26th, 2009
5:08 pm

Meant to say “possess.”