Most gun owners in the US hear the letters A – T – F and instantly think “AHA! The great Satan! They hate our freedom and want to take our guns!” Which, in some cases, might be true. But in the grand scheme of things, we’ve got it pretty good here in the United States. Other countries have drunk so deeply the gun control Kool-Aid that it permeates their entire culture to the point where “gun control = good, guns = bad” is the accepted common sense. The UN-based outlet for that gun control fervor is the U.N.’s Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat, and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects, commonly known as PoA. They met last week for the sole purpose of berating the US for their “backwards” gun laws . . .
In theory, the PoA is about promoting cooperation against illicit international arms trafficking, not about what goes on inside nations. If it stuck to its job, it could be modestly useful. But in practice, it’s a forum for promoting gun control. Statements by U.N. member nations regularly assert that the civilian possession of firearms is dangerous and needs to be severely controlled, if not completely eliminated. Speakers regularly imply that the business of the PoA is to focus on the domestic realm, not international trade.
The result is that the PoA focuses resolutely on peripheral concerns and on blaming the U.S. At the MGE2, the big items on the agenda have been the 3D printing of firearms, modular firearms, and the challenges of marking and tracing polymer (i.e., plastic) firearm frames.
And, of course, it blames the U.S. Earl Griffith, of the Firearms Technology Branch of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, spoke to the meeting on Tuesday on marking and the U.S. eTrace system. As always, the U.S. has stood out at this meeting because it is one of the few nations that knows what it is talking about — most of the so-called experts in the room are nothing of the sort. But inevitably, Griffith came under attack when he stated, accurately, that in the U.S. if you make a firearm for your own personal use, and are not engaged in the firearms business, you don’t need to mark it. There is no evidence that homemade U.S. firearms are contributing to the illicit international arms trade.
It gave me a lot of pleasure to watch Griffith, with the aid of his colleagues in the U.S. delegation, defending U.S. law and policies with determination. As the U.S. speakers pointed out, the PoA is utterly irrelevant to what the U.S. does inside its borders, and it is up to the U.S. court system to decide whether firearms manufacture inside the U.S. has violated U.S. laws. Even better was the reminder from the ATF that “we’re proud of many things here, including our Constitution and the right to lawfully possess and use our weapons.”
When the skeptical meeting chair commented that he was “quite surprised” by U.S. polices, and that “some groups of people” have the temerity to support them, Griffith replied politely but firmly that “the Second Amendment in the United States is sacred. It has been passed down through generations.”
All the usual suspects for a gun control gaggle are here. The “experts” who have no idea what they’re talking about. The miracle cures that are impractical, impossible, or just downright stupid. And the ATF.
This time it’s the ATF that is speaking on the behalf of the American people and their Second Amendment rights, and they seem to be doing a damn good job. I suppose it just goes to show that, when viewed against the actual insanity of European gun control, even the ATF can seem reasonable and well-intentioned.