The UN Arms Treaty gets signed, but won’t be ratified; Canada can’t be asked to sign on; and the resistance to gun laws (and government overreach in general) continues to expand across the nation. It’s not quite as active as in past weeks, but there is still a decent amount of news to check on. So let’s get started.
1.) UN Arms Treaty. The UN has, of course, always been a source of concern among pro-gunners. The catch here is to not let ire get in the way of facts. Filing through the reaction to the UN Arms Treaty this week I’m reminded of the bogus “official” document that claimed the United Nations was confiscating private firearms. That document, despite being impossible to verify, was fired around social media as absolute truth.
What I’m clumsily getting at is this; if pro-gunners are going to strengthen their argument, it’d be awesome if we didn’t use false documents to do it. That in mind, let’s get to the real thing.
Guns Save Lives has a copy of the document and the threats it actually poses (vs. the “threats” that sell subscriptions and product on far-right conspiracy sites). Short version: The UN’s Amendment Process should this thing actually get ratified, increasing the cost and availability of foreign-made guns and ammo (Glocks, PMC ammo, etc.), and that the treaty “strongly encourages all member nations to track the value, source, and destination of all imported and exported guns”, what GSL refers to as a “De Facto gun registry.”
Nonetheless, US Secretary of State John Kerry says the treaty won’t harm US gun rights. Many Senators aren’t convinced, and have vowed to block it in the Senate. Interestingly, our northern neighbors didn’t sign the treaty.
2.) National News. Sunday saw a memorial service for the 12 victims of the DC Naval Yard shooting. President Obama was there as well, and for whatever reason couldn’t go one speech without pressing for “common sense” gun laws:
Sometimes I fear there is a creeping resignation that these tragedies are just somehow the way it is. That this is somehow the new normal. We cannot accept this. As Americans bound in grief and love, we must insist here today there’s nothing normal about innocent men and women being gunned down where they work.I do not accept that we cannot find a common sense way to preserve our traditions, including our basic Second Amendment freedoms and the rights of law abiding gun owners, while at the same time reducing the gun violence that unleashes so much mayhem on a regular basis. It will happen because it’s the change that we need.”
An op-ed in Australia echoed the same sentiment, suggesting that “No scene of carnage makes any difference”
Meanwhile, some people who used to be anti-gun are slowly coming around on it. CNN’s Don Lemon suggested in a recent radio interview that being armed with a cell phone and not much else essentially makes a person a “sitting duck” when facing someone who is armed.
And then there was news out of the Obama administration on Friday. CNN is reporting that the DOJ plans to spend about $45 million on putting armed police officers in about 365 schools. What was once an insane NRA idea, derided by anti-gunners, is suddenly an idea that the Obama administration is open to. The irony of that says more than anti-gunners would probably like it to.
3.) Local battles. There are four major notes I would like to bring up on the micro level. The first is a lawsuit over recent gun laws in Maryland. The laws included a ban on assault weapons (naturally) and limited magazines to 10 rounds. The lawsuit alleges that both are a violation of the Second Amendment.
The second hits close to home for me. Although the Georgia legislature does not open until January of 2014 (short-term legislature, before you ask. REALLY short-term), the echoes of last sessions debate on allowing guns on campus is still resonating with people. The previous attempt came up for a vote in the last 3 minutes of the session, so it never got through. But, since the Legislature operates on a two-year cycle, the bill was sent back to committee. While, as the AJC notes, some have suggested that the CCW on Campus portion will be dropped, a few people in local Students for Concealed Carry groups and Georgia Carry have told me that they may run House Bill 512, which included campus carry, in the next session.
Thirdly, some late-breaking news out of North Carolina. The Libertarian Republic reports that it will soon be legal to have guns on public school campuses provided those guns are locked in the owner’s vehicle. It’s not much, but it’s a small story worth noting.
Finally, an attorney in Indiana is suggesting expanding the State’s Castle Doctrine to include schools. His argument is that schools should be treated with “the same protection and the same sanctity as our homes, in terms of protecting our kids.”
4.) Looking ahead. To be blunt, the UN Arms Treaty has almost no chance of being finalized by the Senate. Senate Democrats will probably latch on to it, but very few if any Republicans want to stake their political careers on giving the UN any ground whatsoever on guns.
And then there is the general “fear” over the shutdown of the Federal government. The Armed Novelist sent me a note from FOX23 in Tulsa about a government shutdown impacting already long NFA approval wait times. The sale of handguns and other weapons tied to the instant background check system will not be affected, however.
The idea of a government shutdown doesn’t seem as apocalyptic as those with an interest in spreading fear make it sound. While, yes, NFA stuff will be delayed, in general it is pretty insignificant. (Though it is a solid reason as to why suppressors and other items SHOULDN’T be under NFA’s umbrella.)
The major story to me out of all of this week’s news is that the Obama administration has quietly taken a page from the NRA’s playbook. They essentially admit that, to use Wayne LaPierre’s terminology, “good guys with guns” is a viable solution. It is a small program, to be sure, but one based largely on a lot of the points pro-gunners have made. (Besides which, going full-throttle into the program would have been both difficult financially AND politically.)
Yes, it was small. I’m under no illusions that it was a massive program. But there is no better energizer in a debate than when your opponent admits that you are right.