As reported by the Washington Post, President Obama reiterated his support for the Second Amendment, saying: "I believe we can respect the Second Amendment of the Constitution . . . and curb the flow of assault weapons to Mexico . . . None of us are under the illusion this would be easy."
Mexican President Calderon, who seems to have tempered his own former rhetoric about the U.S. Constitutional guarantees denied to his defenseless countrymen, added: "[he] respects the Second Amendment . . . but [wants a solution that] prevents abuse of the right by criminals."
Unfortunately, the inaccurate statistic that 90% of weapons seized in Mexico come from the U.S. was again repeated in the news conference. I think reuse of this widely disproved statistic is only adding fuel to the fire and should be retired ASAP (please mention to any of the administration figures you see.) I expect that those who see any international treaty involving the U.S. and the word "Firearms" as inherently bad will use the opportunity for fund-raising via scare tactics. And in truth we do need to keep a close eye on things.
However, I am willing to take President Obama at his word when he said he will not take away (or try to) firearms in the hands of law-abiding Americans.
BUT WHAT DOES THE TREATY ACTUALLY SAY?
First, here is a link to the cited "INTER-AMERICAN CONVENTION AGAINST THE ILLICIT MANUFACTURING OF AND TRAFFICKING IN FIREARMS, AMMUNITION, EXPLOSIVES, AND OTHER RELATED MATERIALS." Please take a look at it for yourself.
I'm sure this announcement will cause alarm in various pro-RKBA forums & magazines, but my take on it is that the convention doesn't--in itself--actually say anything that should damn it at the outset. Here are some notable excerpts from the pre-amble:
- "...STRESSING the need, in peace processes and post-conflict situations, to achieve effective control of firearms, ammunition, explosives, and other related materials in order to prevent their entry into the illicit market; ..."
RECOGNIZING that states have developed different cultural and historical uses for firearms, and that the purpose of enhancing international cooperation to eradicate illicit transnational trafficking in firearms is not intended to discourage or diminish lawful leisure or recreational activities such as travel or tourism for sport shooting, hunting, and other forms of lawful ownership and use recognized by the States Parties...
RECALLING that States Parties have their respective domestic laws and regulations in the areas of firearms, ammunition, explosives, and other related materials, and recognizing that this Convention does not commit States Parties to enact legislation or regulations pertaining to firearms ownership, possession, or trade of a wholly domestic character, and recognizing that States Parties will apply their respective laws and regulations in a manner consistent with this Convention..."
So far so good . . . But I think the potentially problematic parts are in Article XI and XVIII:
States Parties shall assure the maintenance for a reasonable time of the information necessary to trace and identify illicitly manufactured and illicitly trafficked firearms to enable them to comply with their obligations under Articles XIII and XVII.
Article XVIII 1. Should their domestic legal systems so permit, States Parties shall take the necessary measures, within their possibilities, to allow for the appropriate use of controlled delivery at the international level, on the basis of agreements or arrangements mutually consented to, with a view to identifying persons involved in the offenses referred to in Article IV and to taking legal action against them.
1. Should their domestic legal systems so permit, States Parties shall take the necessary measures, within their possibilities, to allow for the appropriate use of controlled delivery at the international level, on the basis of agreements or arrangements mutually consented to, with a view to identifying persons involved in the offenses referred to in Article IV and to taking legal action against them.
These articles could be interpreted either way. What is a "necessary measure" in "identifying persons involved in offenses"?
This convention/treaty is probably headed for the Senate. Our senators on both sides of the aisle need to ask these questions and make certain the language in the final treaty answers them in affirmation of the U.S. Constitution. Confidence in this outcome would be greatly enhanced if the statistical manipulations about where firearms are coming from and what types they really are were immediately made part of the discussion, i.e. drop the "90%" canard.
Note this excerpt from a recent L.A. Times article about the ongoing Mexican drug war:
The enhanced weaponry represents a wide sampling from the international arms bazaar, with grenades and launchers produced by U.S., South Korean, Israeli, Spanish or former Soviet bloc manufacturers. Many had been sold legally to governments, including Mexico's, and then were diverted onto the black market. Some may be sold directly to the traffickers by corrupt elements of national armies, authorities and experts say.
Acknowledgment of these facts by both the Calderon and Obama administrations--and dropping the pretense that U.S. gun shows are destabilizing the Mexican government--would be a first good step in finding meaningful solutions to solve our mutual problems.