The world comes to celebrate personal freedom, gun culture
January 15, 2011
by Joseph P. Tartaro
The US Constitution and American history and traditions have created the largest and most widespread gun culture in the worldwith more individual citizen gunowners and greater individual firearms ownership than any other nation.
This level of personal freedom is admired by many people around the world, even some with historic gun traditions of their own, such as Switzerland, Finland, Norway and South Africa. Significant segments of the populations of several European, Asian and South American countries are at present actively trying to expand their personal freedoms at home with respect to guns and their legal use for sport and, especially, for personal and family protection. There are current active grassroots movements for expansion of gun rights in India, Italy and even Russia. In Switzerland, Finland, South Africa and elsewhere, there are struggles to protect or regain the gun rights citizens once enjoyed.
So when the commodities being made and sold around the world have to do with guns, target shooting, sport hunting and self-defense, the United States represents the biggest single market on the globe.
While the American right to keep and bear arms makes us a model nation for others, it also defines the US manufacturers and entrepreneurs around the world as the largest market for guns and related products. That is one reason why manufacturers, representatives and exporters from around the world will be coming again and again to the annual Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade (SHOT) Show. In fact, some nations organize pavilions in which several of their native industries can exhibit their latest offerings, in the hope of capturing a portion of the American market.
But sellers are not the only foreigners who come to the SHOT Show. Buyers come, too. American outdoor brands have a great reputation around the world, and they seek imports.
While buyers and sellers will gather in about 700,000 square feet of global marketplace in Las Vegas this January, there are other forces at work around the globe that threaten to extinguish firearms freedoms everywhereand in the US especiallyand to extinguish the marketplace as well.
The most active of these are centered at the United Nations, which ironically is headquarters in the US. Slowly over the past several years, diplomats at the UN, with the help of non-government organizations, has been trying to impose a new order. They have been doing it very subtly and sinuously, using a language they created painstakingly over the years.
One would hope as the global gun community and market gathers in Las Vegas that people from all nations will pay attention to and act upon the words of a remarkable commentary entitled “Norming Guns Away: Why We Need to be Concerned About the UN,” written recently by Paul Gallant, Alan Chwick and Joanne Eisen, research fellows of The Independence Institute in Golden, CO. Here is their warning:
We American gunowners need to become more familiar with the process of “norming.” The “norm” of civilian disarmament already surrounds our country and has the potential to nullify our Second Amendment right.
When global firearm-prohibitionists speak about “norming,” they are actually discussing the process wherein society becomes increasingly hostile to the possession of arms in the hands of civilians.
This standard, or norm, was deliberately created during several decades of lies about the safety and use of firearms, their benefits to society, and the kind of people who possess them. And yet, we gun-owners remain unaware of its ramifications and its dangers.
During the creation of this norm, we have seen the prohibitionists lie time and time again, magnifying the costs to society of private firearm ownership, minimizing their benefits, and creating widespread fear in the process. We know we’re on the side of truth because we don’t need to manipulate the facts to fit our philosophy, as do the prohibitionists. In two decades of firearms research and experience, we have never seen a deliberate attempt by unbiased firearm researchers to obfuscate data.
The more people who accept the norm, the stronger the norm becomes. Owen Greene of Saferworld, an anti-gun non-governmental organization (NGO), elaborated: “It is generally agreed that controls on possession by civilians of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALWan ambiguous group of weapons that includes ordinary firearms) are a critical element of national controls to prevent, combat, and reduce SALW trafficking, proliferation and misuse.”
Greene is secure in the knowledge that this norm already has extremely vigorous and widespread global support.
The new norm does not allow for self-defense, as government intends to provide that service for us. Even if one might actually comply with strict regulations and even if one might actually be permitted to keep his/her sporting gun at home, instead of being locked up at the local range, these guns will never be available for emergency use.
One of the most damning ramifications of the new norm is that those few remaining gunowners will be looked upon with disdain.
This is the norm that is presently being codified into a global legally-binding Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) that will encompass all conventional weapons.
It might be possible for our laws to be changed because of this treaty, even without a Presidential signature, or Senate ratification. The ATT is set to become the global norm, and the global firearm-prohibitionists would only need to wait for an opportune time to act. We expect that 175 of the approximately 200 nations in today’s world would sign onto the ATT. Although many of these nations will sign with no expectation of complying with its provisions, this will not affect the strength of the norm.
According to attorney Joseph Bruce Alonzo, “gun control laws could affect United States parties in the event that gun control becomes a customary international law (i.e. becomes a norm)…. Non-consensual customary international law may arise as a result of international practice. This international practice may be evidenced by events not approved by the United States but eventually held binding on the United States.”
That’s how this norm, or soft law, has the potential to trump the Second Amendment.
John Bolton, former US Ambassador to the United Nations, recognized the norming process, and rejected it as being destructive to our Constitution. Expressing his displeasure, he wrote: “Much of the development of norming comes as a result of people who are dissatisfied with political outcomes they have achieved at the state and federal level and who are determined to take their argument into the broader international context, who see the norming process as the way to constrain the United States.”
There is another normour normwhich was bequeathed to us by our Founding Fathers. Ed Laurence of the Monterey Institute of International Studies complained : “An opposing norm that favors continued high levels of arms salesbased on the belief that citizens have the ‘right’ to buy guns for self-defense, self-determination, entertainment, or to provide for their familiesis preventing the development of a global consensus on small arms policy.”
We are the last remaining hope for the sovereignty of individuals and the civilian possession of firearms. US civilians own about 270 million firearms, about 30% of the total global stockpile of 875 million firearms. But we estimate that only about 5 million people, out of approximately 70-80 million American gunowners, have joined in one or more activist groups that have been formed to protect our right to private firearm ownership.
This simply is not enough. We must get gunowners out of the closet and actively working hard with us.
How undamaged we and our rights emerge from this United Nations firestorm, that will engulf us for the next 5-10 years, depends upon how willing we all are to accept our responsibilities today.
Return to Archive Index