Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Obama pushes treaty to ban reloading and BB guns

If President Obama could slap us gun-owners with restrictions that could ban reloading and perhaps even BB guns without having to seek Congressional approval, would he do it? According to the Gun Owners of America, he's doing just that with an international treaty he's supporting.

President Obama is determined to eradicate the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding American citizens.President Obama with Mexican President  Felipe Calderón

In recent meetings with Mexican President Felipe Calderón, the American President promised to urge the U.S. Senate to pass an international arms control treaty.

The treaty, cumbersomely titled the “Inter-American Convention Against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives, and Other Related Materials” (known by the acronym CIFTA), was signed by President Bill Clinton, but never ratified by the Senate.

President Obama is hoping to capitalize on an increased Democrat majority and push its quick ratification. The U.S. is one of four nations that have not ratified the treaty.

If ratified and the U.S. is found not to be in compliance with any provisions of the treaty -- such as a provision that would outlaw reloading ammunition without a government license -- President Obama would be empowered to implement regulations without Congressional approval.

This CIFTA treaty would ban "illicit manufacturing of firearms" but what does that mean?

“Illicit manufacturing” of firearms is defined as “assembly of firearms [or] ammunition... without a license...”

Hence, reloading ammunition -- or putting together a lawful firearm from a kit -- is clearly “illicit manufacturing.” Modifying a firearm in any way would surely be “illicit manufacturing.” And, while it would be a stretch, assembling a firearm after cleaning it could, in any plain reading of the words, come within the screwy definition of “illicit manufacturing.”

“Firearm” has a similarly questionable definition. Borrowing from the open-ended definitions in federal law which have continue to vex us (and people like Olofson in Wisconsin), any barreled weapon “which... may be readily converted to expel a bullet” would be a firearm. Even worse, “any other weapon” (a term which is not defined) is a “firearm.” This surely includes BB guns -- and who knows what else.

“Cartridge cases” and “projectiles” are defined as “ammunition.”

How Clintonesque. If Obama can get the Senate to sign the CIFTA treaty, then he gets to define what "illicit manufacturing of firearms" means. Or as Bill Clinton so famously said, it all depends on what the meaning of "is" is. Are you surprised? I'm not.

If you'd like to write your Senator to oppose CIFTA, go here at Gun Owners of America.

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