The UN's War on Firearms: Taking Advantage of Black Tuesday and the Ongoing "War on Terrorism," the United Nations Is Intensifying Its Own Campaign against Civilian Ownership of Firearms. (Civilian Disarmament)

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In matters of disarmament, all roads increasingly lead to the United Nations. This principle applies not only to international "arms control" initiatives, but to civilian disarmament -- or what is commonly called "gun control." Thus it should come as no surprise that the UN has capitalized upon the Black Tuesday attack to advance its campaign to prevent firearms ownership by "non-state actors" -- a category that not only includes terrorists, guerrillas, drug lords, and gangsters, but also law-abiding civilians.

In an October 28th address to the UN General Assembly's First Committee, Jayantha Dhanapala, the UN's undersecretary-general for disarmament affairs, expressed the hope that the September 11th atrocity would "encourage states to consider once again the need to prohibit the transfer of military-grade small arms and light weapons to non-state actors..." At first glance, this proposal may seem relatively benign. What harm could come from a coordinated effort to keep weapons such as grenade launchers, anti-tank guns, and machine guns out of the hands of terrorists?

Unfortunately, the UN doesn't limit its definition of "military-grade small arms and light weapons" to such heavy artillery. The relevant UN document -- the August 19, 1999 "Report of the Group of Governmental Experts on Small Arms" -- defines "small arms" to include "rifles," as well as "revolvers and self-loading pistols" -- which many law-abiding Americans own. The UN has made it abundantly clear, however, that it regards civilian possession of firearms of any type to be "illicit" by definition.

A UN propaganda film entitled Armed to the Teeth informs the viewer that "legal" weapons are those "used by armies and police forces to protect us." The film denounces civilian ownership of firearms as "illegitimate" and insists that such "illicit" weapons "bring insecurity, pain, suffering and devastation." This view was enshrined as official UN policy in 'we the peoples,' Secretary-General Kofi Annan's official 2000 report.

In a section of that report entitled "Freedom from Fear," Annan asserts: "Controlling the proliferation of illicit weapons is a necessary first step towards the non-proliferation of small arms. These weapons must be brought under the control of states, and states must be held responsible for their transfer."

The UN's ongoing drive to extinguish civilian firearms ownership was foreshadowed in Our Global Neighborhood, the 1995 report of the UN-funded Commission on Global Governance (CGG). That document, which has served as an authoritative guide for efforts to "reform" and "empower" the UN, describes "militarization" as a global social problem to be addressed by the world body. According to the CGG, the plague of "militarization" can be seen in the "acquisition and use of increasingly lethal weapons by civilians -- whether individuals seeking a means of self-defense, street gangs, political opposition groups, or terrorist organizations." (Emphasis added.)

That's right -- from the UN's point of view, an American who bought a firearm for personal protection in the wake of Black Tuesday should be looked upon as the moral equal of a member of Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda terrorist network.

President Bush obliquely endorsed this view in his November 10th address to the UN General Assembly, when he pointed to the "basic obligations in this new conflict." Those obligations are outlined in Security Council Resolution 1373, the measure that provides the supposed authority for the UN-directed "war on terrorism." Under that resolution, declared Mr. Bush, "We have a responsibility to deny weapons to terrorists and to actively prevent private citizens from providing them." (Emphasis added.)

Anti-gun zealots in the United States have seized upon this statement, insisting that it mandates radically expanded restrictions on the sale and private ownership of firearms in the name of fighting terrorism (see the article on page 10). …