Over and over again I’ve heard the antis trying to placate people paying attention to the UN’s latest antic, the Arms Trade Treaty. They point out that the UN passed a resolution explicitly recognizing “the right of States to regulate internal transfers of arms and national ownership, including through national constitutional protections on private ownership, exclusively within their territory.” So if all of us gun nuts think our weapons are under any sort of threat from this treaty, we must be even squirrelier than usual, right? Not so fast . . .
That certainly is an interesting resolution, but I notice one glaring exception – nowhere does it mention limitations on manufacturing. I know, I know, most of the Armed Intelligentsia aren’t Smith & Wesson, so what do you care about manufacturers having to get a license? I’ve said it before and I will no doubt say it again: the devil is always in the details.
So what details of the ATT have me worried? Well I haven’t actually read the proposed treaty because, curiously enough, I have been completely unable to find a draft copy. So I called upon Alan Gottlieb of the Second Amendment Foundation who has been travelling the world trying to keep track of the goings-on with the ATT. And even though he has attended meetings and testified even he hasn’t been able to get a copy of the proposed text.
This is starting to make my Spidey-sense tingle a bit, because I remember the Inter-American Convention Against Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, (more commonly called by its Spanish acronym, CIFTA). CIFTA was signed by Bill Clinton back in 1997 but was left to languish by the Bush administration. What does that have to do with the ATT? You really have to dig into CIFTA’s details but there is deviltry to be found.
The main problem is in the definitions of all places. Specifically:
For the purposes of this Convention, the following definitions shall apply:
1. “Illicit manufacturing”: the manufacture or assembly of firearms, ammunition, explosives, and other related materials:
b. without a license from a competent governmental authority of the State Party where the manufacture or assembly takes place;
4. “Ammunition”: the complete round or its components, including cartridge cases, primers, propellant powder, bullets, or projectiles that are used in any firearm.
6. “Other related materials”: any component, part, or replacement part of a firearm, or an accessory which can be attached to a firearm.
Then we get down to Article IV, the Legislative Measures and find:
1. States Parties that have not yet done so shall adopt the necessary legislative or other measures to establish as criminal offenses under their domestic law the illicit manufacturing of and trafficking in firearms, ammunition, explosives, and other related materials.
Now remember what I said about the resolution doesn’t keep the ATT from regulating firearms manufacture? And what do we have here in CIFTA? The CIFTA definition of manufacture includes assembly. So if I have a rifle and I want to put a scope on it, I am assembling a firearm and a related material. Gotta have a manufacturer’s license.
If I have an ATI VK-22 and want to replace the trigger, I need a manufacturer’s license.
If I want to hand load my ammo, I need a manufacturer’s license.
If I want to load my weapon, do I need a stinking manufacturer’s license? Yep; even loading ammunition in a magazine and seating the mag in the gun constitute assembly of a firearm and ammunition. Or it conceivably could to the right court.
Anyone here want to bet the antis couldn’t find the right court?