Prospects look fairly bleak for sweeping gun-control legislation in Congress, but action at the United Nations and in several states may end up having the same effect – possibly even opening the door for Obama to ban all handguns, according to one expert.
On Tuesday, the United Nations General Assembly voted overwhelmingly to approve the Arms Trade Treaty, or ATT. Supporters, including the Obama administration, contend this is designed to crack down on illicit arms trafficking, but critics say it’s really an effort to stamp out gun rights in the U.S. and beyond.
“It’s far beyond what it’s purported to do. It requires this country keep a national gun registry of gun owners. In addition, it could be used as a justification for banning semi-autos and banning handguns without any further legislation,” said Mike Hammond, chief counsel at Gun Owners of America.
“It could be interpreted as self-implementing, and by an executive order Obama would simply ban all handguns using this treaty.”
Hammond told me the ATT could also lead to microstamping, which would require tiny signatures to be on every cartridge fired and would be very expensive. He said the treaty will die in the U.S. Senate. Sixty-seven votes are needed to ratify any treaty and in recent weeks, 53 senators indicated their opposition to the ATT. But Hammond said that may not deter Obama.
“It has no chance of being ratified, but I expect to see an effort by the Obama administration to enforce it, even without ratification,” said Hammond.
As the U.N. presses forward with a treaty that had been successfully derailed for years, more U.S. states are implementing tougher gun-control laws. The latest is Connecticut, where the Sandy Hook tragedy took place in December. Lawmakers there have agreed to a broader assault weapons ban, banning of large-capacity magazine and new registries for gun owners who already own larger magazines and weapons about to be banned. Hammond said bills like this show the true agenda of gun-control advocates.
“Interestingly, at the federal level, we are opposing the national registry bill on the basis that it would create a national registry and all the liberals are running around saying, ‘Oh, no, no. No one said anything about registry, but low and behold, every state in the country where the anti-gun forces have the capacity to establish a registry, they have,” he said.
Hammond noted that Connecticut already had some of the most restrictive gun laws in the nation at the time of the Newtown shootings. In fact, he asserted that those laws emboldened the killer and gave him a greater chance at success.
“The anti-gun policy didn’t work out very well for the kids at Newtown. All it did was telegraph to Adam Lanza that you can get your 15 minutes of fame, shoot up a classroom of first-graders and you don’t have to worry that there’s anyone there who’s going to shoot back. In effect, Connecticut’s laws were responsible for the massacre at Newtown,” Hammond said.
At the federal level, the Senate is gearing up for a likely debate on gun legislation. Hammond and Gun Owners of America are urging senators to vote against bringing the bill to the floor because of all the pressuring and favors Democrats may use to win votes on issues ranging from gun registries to a renewal of the assault weapons ban.
“I am cautiously optimistic that we may be able to get as many as 44 or 45 Republicans on board in opposition to the motion to proceed. If that happens, I would guess that a half-dozen red state Democrats are going to go with them. So we are cautiously optimistic that we will be successful in keeping gun control from coming to the Senate which by far would be the best outcome,” he said.
“Otherwise, we’re just going to have a three-week Obamacare-type bribe-a-thon with Harry Reid offering amendments intended to destroy the opposition and offering amendments intended to buy off the votes he needs in order to pass the thing on final passage.”
The House has been much quieter on the issue, but Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., is now pushing mandatory liability insurance for all gun owners. It would be a crime to sell a gun to anyone without this insurance, and owning a gun without the insurance could lead to fines up to $10,000. Hammond was very blunt in his assessment of this bill as well.
“It’s clear what the intent is. First, the intent is to impose an insurance requirement, which would take gun ownership out of the hands of the poor, out of the hands of the black,” Hammond said. “Incidentally, these are the same people who are whining about the one percent, and yet they’re imposing an incredibly regressive requirement intended to take constitutional rights away from people who are poor, people who are black.”
“We react to it in this way: It is racist. It is classist. It is disgusting, and it won’t pass,” he said.