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The United Nations is developing global standards for trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW). The purpose of the standards is to prevent and substantially reduce illicit trade in SALW to enhance the security of the 192 member countries of the United Nations. The Obama Administration supports the United Nations Small Arms Treaty.
Relevance to the People
1. Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States: “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of the free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”
2. Shooting rampages in recent memory in Washington, D.C (Brady Act after the shooting of Ronald Reagan outside Washington Hilton); Tucson, Arizona; Columbine, Colorado; and Roanoke, Virginia among other parts of the country at various times.
3. Domestic terrorism since the Oklahoma City bombing, Unabomber, Atlanta Olympics, post-9/11 Anthrax, and Shoe Bomber; other attacks on members of Congress; across the US-Canadian border from Vancouver, Canada; in New York City’s Times Square; and other realized and thwarted attacks.
4. The potential for Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and Dirty Bombs in major urban centers in the United States.
5. The rise of drug-related and non-drug related gang violence and the associated underground economy for illicit weapons.
6. Illicit trade in weapons-making materials across US borders from Canada and Mexico.
What the Congress and the White House Should Do?
1. The Second Amendment, as is, is no longer relevant for the United States of America. The “well regulated militia” of the Second Amendment is the United States Department of Defense (DoD).
2. The Second Amendment language must be amended by the United States Congress to suit the times by limiting gun purchases for sport and self-defense based on residency location, such as remote regions similar to frontier territories in 1776, in the United States. For example the revised Second Amendment could read as follows: “The right of the people in good standing with the law to keep and bear arms in limited numbers shall not be infringed for the purposes of valid sporting activities and in self-defense.”
3. Government regulation of SALW, as defined by the United Nations, is consistent with some measures already at work in the United States since former President Bill Clinton signed the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act on November 30, 1993.
4. The government is having to once again respond to the circumstances within the country which produced subsequent shooting rampages and other SALW and SALW-related incidents as noted above, despite the Brady Act.
5. UN SALW Treaty is pertinent in the context of the counter-terrorism efforts of the Directorate of National Intelligence (DNI) and other associated government agencies and departments such as the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
6. UN SALW, given its primary focus on preventing illicit trade in SALW across national borders, is relevant to US SALW efforts beginning with the Brady Act of 1993 and any revisions it may require for consensus to develop at the United Nations.
7. The lowest common denominator of all UN member states should also be the US position on SALW. Individual member countries, without UN interference, should be able to make their own laws, in addition to the common treaty items, should they so desire without accountability to the United Nations.
8. Enforcement provisions of any UN SALW must be subject to required annual reporting by the Department of State of the United States to the pertinent committee(s) in the United States Congress and to the UN of legal SALW trade and confiscation of illicit SALW within US borders and elsewhere in the world where US interests are at stake.