Sunday, May 3, 2009

Another Look at CIFTA

Yesterday I posted the CNN video about the CIFTA treaty which Obama is working to get through the Senate. This push is a result of his recent trip to Mexico and an attempt to halt to flow of guns into Mexico.

The initial problem which this logic is that Obama is using faulty statistics when he says that "90% of the guns recovered in Mexico come from the United States." This isn't true; the fact is, nobody really knows. Yes, lots of guns seized in Mexico come from the United States. No question. But that's indicative of a whole other sort of problem; the fact that drug runners can get guns doesn't mean that America should end-run the Second Amendment. Bad logic.

Another point of faulty logic is that 33 nations in the Western Hemisphere have signed on to this treaty, so it must be good, right? Wrong. Those nations do not have a Second Amendment to the Constitution.

So what would ratification of this treaty mean to Americans? Gun Owners of America posted an analysis of the treaty. Here's what they concluded:

* Banning reloading. In Article IV of the treaty, countries commit to adopting “necessary legislative or other measures” to criminalize illicit manufacturing and trafficking in firearms. Remember that “illicit manufacturing” includes reloading and modifying or assembling a firearm in any way. This would mean that the Obama administration could promulgate regulations banning reloading on the basis of this treaty.

* Banning gun clubs. Article IV goes on to state that the criminalized acts should include “association or conspiracy” in connection with said offenses -- which is arguably a term broad enough to allow, by regulation, the criminalization of entire pro-gun organizations or gun clubs, based on the facilities which they provide their membership.

That last one sounds a little paranoid to me, but who knows. I don't think the Obama administration would attempt to disband gun clubs or even the NRA, but lots would disagree with me.

More from Gun Owners of America:

* Extraditing US gun dealers. Article V requires each party to “adopt such measures as may be necessary to establish its jurisdiction over the offenses it has established in accordance with this Convention” under a variety of circumstances. Under Article XXIX, if Mexico demands the extradition of a lawful American gun dealer, the U.S. would be required to resolve the dispute through “other means of peaceful settlement.”

They suggest that gun dealers could be extradited to Mexico for trial - again, overreaction? But, the language is there.

* Microstamping. Article VI requires “appropriate markings” on firearms. And, it is not inconceivable that this provision could be used to require microstamping of firearms and/or ammunition -- a requirement which is clearly intended to impose specifications which are not technologically possible or which are possible only at a prohibitively expensive cost.

* Gun registration.
Article XI requires the maintenance of any records, for a “reasonable time,” that the government determines to be necessary to trace firearms. This provision would almost certainly repeal portions of McClure-Volkmer and could arguably be used to require a national registry or database.

Chuck Baldwin wrote what appears to be a pretty rational analysis of the treaty. He wrote:

"Should the Senate ratify CIFTA, Americans who reload ammunition would be required to get a license from the government, and factory guns and ammunition would be priced almost out of existence due to governmental requirements to "mark" each one manufactured. Even the simple act of adding an after-market piece of equipment to a firearm, such as a scope or bipod, or reassembling a gun after cleaning it could fall into the category of "illicit manufacturing" of firearms and require government license and oversight.

"In addition, CIFTA would authorize the U.S. federal government (and open the door to international entities) to supervise and regulate virtually the entire American firearms industry. Making matters worse is the fact that, as a treaty, this Act does not have to be passed by both houses of Congress, nor is it subject to judicial oversight. All Obama needs to do in order to enact this unconstitutional and egregious form of gun control is convince a Democratic-controlled Senate to pass it."

He also writes about H.R. 45, proposed by Bobby Rush, which would "require a federal license for all handguns and semiautomatics, including the ones you already possess. It would require handgun and semi-auto owners to be thumbprinted at a police station and sign a certificate that the gun will not be kept in a place where it could be used for the defense of the gun owner's family."

The bottom line is that this administration is coming after the Second Amendment. They tried and failed with the attempt to eliminate the sale of expended brass, aimed at putting reloaders out of business and manipulating the sale of ammo. There was a huge outcry against this and they backed off.

CIFTA is another attempt at gun control. It's safe to assume that if Mexico can't get guns from the United States, the drug runners and criminals would get them elsewhere. There are plenty of other places where they can (and do) get guns.

Another option would be to close the border, or enforce stronger border security. There's a novel idea for you.

More to the point is that once one of your constitutional rights is taken away from you, how long before the others are? Rather than accusing Bush of "shredding the Constitution," liberals might do well to look at this issue and consider who really is doing just that.

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