The United Nations and Your Firearm Rights
The SSAA research and planning team has for some time been aware of a connection between the United Nations (UN) and Australia's new so-called "national" gun laws. The direct link has now been confirmed.
Although UN aims concern international peace, anti-gun activists under the UN banner are seeking to remove the private ownership of firearms from law-abiding citizens. They are well organised and in full swing. They have planned a strategy which has been in place for a number of years and will soon receive full UN backing through the proposed "Universal Declaration of Principles on Firearms" to be adopted in late 1998. Australia's involvement in this process is confirmed in a UN document dated April 16th, 1996, which states: "Australia would support the preparation of an appropriate declaration of principles as a means of reducing the number of firearms in the community." (1) It is important to note that this document predates the Port Arthur shootings.
Since Japan, Canada and Australia have taken a bigger interest in the last two years, the process has greatly accelerated. Unless firm action is taken immediately by all of us in this country, the days of legal private firearm ownership are all but finished.
What is worse, our country has played a major role in establishing this worldwide process. There is absolutely no doubt that Australian, UN and other internationalist bureaucrats are pushing towards the general disarmament of civilian firearm owners. Work continues apace on the international regulation of "light weapons". In April-May, 1997, in Vienna, the Economic and Social Council adopted the resolution: "Criminal Justice Reform and Strengthening of Legal Institutions - Measures To Regulate Firearms". (2)
Amongst many other things, the resolution calls upon member states (nations) to explore ways and means of developing a programme of ....public education and awareness building in relation to the links between firearms in civilian use and the unacceptable levels of violence in cities, communities and families.... (3)
As part of the program leading to the proposed Declaration, a series of four meetings is to be held between September and December of 1997, with a draft to be completed by March, 1998, and ready for submission to the Economic and Social Council and UN General Assembly by mid to late 1998. The implications for lawful Australian firearm owners are grave.
How did this all come about?
The NCV Report
In 1990, the report Violence: Directions for Australia by the National Committee on Violence (NCV) was released. It has been perhaps one of the decade's most misused documents. Although it contains extensive discussions on all forms of violence and many laudable recommendations for its reduction, the lack of genuine discussion and disproportionate number of recommendations against private firearm ownership show the report's lack of objectivity. The document rapidly became one of many flawed academic tools being used with the underlying aim of banning the private ownership of firearms.
Throughout the 285-page report there is a little over four pages of "discussion" which is simply unsubstantiated anti-firearms rhetoric. There is also an equally unsubstantiated and disproportionate two pages of twenty recommendations, (4) of which 92.5% have recently become law.
Furthermore, contributions from shooting sports representatives are noticeably absent in the NCV report. Even though the Sporting Shooters' Association of Australia is cited in the Appendices as having made a submission, there is no mention of the actual contribution. The Shooting Sports Council of Victoria is the only other pro-shooting submission which receives a token mention.
The report continues with an anti-firearm theme, referring mainly to submissions that "favoured more stringent regulation". (5) The Tasmanian Coalition For Gun Control, the Domestic Violence Advocacy Service of NSW, the Uniting Church in Australia, Gun Control Australia, The Anglican Archdiocese of Melbourne and Roland Browne all have their say.
This flawed document misinterprets statistics, presents only the view of one side of the discussion and proposes a wishlist of unworkable firearms recommendations as suggested by three bureaucrats. What has this report got to do with the recent Australian gun laws?
It is the basis, the very foundation, upon which the May 10th Police Ministers' resolutions were built. And what does the NCV report then have to do with the United Nations?
And So to the United Nations
The Australian NCV Report is one of the first documents to be noted in the conference papers of the Ninth United Nations Congress On The Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders held in Cairo from April 29th to May 8th, 1995, regarding control of firearms.
It is praised as having "put forward a series of recommendations on the control of firearms which have influenced the policies of Australia and its constituent states" and "contributed to the discussion of this question, notably in the United States and Canada". (6) Many of the NCV recommendations are then listed in the UN paper.
Most will agree that the United Nations is a worthy organisation, but as with many such organisations the original objectives may become confused by moral entrepreneurs pushing their own agendas. Once-worthwhile intentions have now become extreme and will affect the entire sport-shooting and firearm-owning community worldwide. Australia has played a major part in that development through promoting the flawed NCV report.
Past UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali coined the term "microdisarmament" and continued to "stress the disarming of warring factions as a major focus for the world community" (7). One could be forgiven for thinking that "warring factions" might refer to tribal clans in Africa, but UN documents make it abundantly clear that the references are to urban gang wars, general urban crime and violence and even domestic violence. We come then to another aspect vital to us in Australia.
Modern small arms in Third World countries have caused a problem for
UN peacekeepers, and this is flowing on to a push for wide civilian disarmament.
Japanese Involvement and Another UN Convention
Japan has a total prohibition on all handguns, yet a Japanese Government document produced in December, 1994, states:
There has been observed a great increase in the number of felonies associated with handguns....more and more common citizens (are) becoming victims of crimes using handguns....The current situation of crimes associated with handguns is so worrisome that if unchecked, it can....pose a serious threat to...Japan. (8)
Such a confession by the Japanese Government clearly demonstrates that its total prohibition of firearms is not a successful method of crime prevention. Yet in September of 1995, in response to rising numbers of illegal handguns being smuggled into Japan for criminal use, the Japanese Government issued a statement, saying:
Another serious problem facing the international community is the proliferation of small arms. It is Japan's intention to submit to this session of the General Assembly a draft resolution on the establishment, under the Secretary-General, of a panel of experts to address this issue. (9)
Japan reported at the Liaison Conference of Ministries and Agencies To Control Handguns, held in late 1994, that "Several measures to promote the confiscation of handguns were decided at that conference". (10)
It is clearly Japan's intention to be a forerunner in the establishment of broadbased international regulations to control firearms because of that country's domestic concerns regarding the increasing use of illegal handguns, especially in gang-related criminal activity.
At a UN conference in Cairo in April-May, 1995, Japan tabled a draft resolution which included a call to adopt a "Declaration on the Control of Firearms". (11) The proposed Declaration included the "urgent need to establish a common strategy for effective control of firearms at the global level", (12) and with regard to gaining popular public support said that "States should therefore give due attention to promoting public awareness campaigns on the control of firearms". (13)
The Japanese proposal was significantly reworked and extended by member countries, including Australia. Accepted, it became the Resolution entitled "Firearms Regulations for the Purposes of Crime Prevention and Public Safety". (14)
It stated in the preamble that it is concerned that the high incidence of crimes, accidents and suicides involving the use of firearms is closely related to the abundance of firearms in society without appropriate regulation of their possession and storage or training in their use and, inter alia, to the fact that the persons who are most likely to use them for criminal activities have easy access to them. (15)
The disturbing trend of increasing violence in our society is now being unjustly attributed to the number and type of guns owned by ordinary people.
The flawed Australian NCV Report was used as supporting background documentation. It should be of great concern to Australian firearm owners that such a collection of assumptions should be used as a basis for action by an organisation such as the UN.
The Resolution also called for a massive worldwide study to be carried out to "provide the Commission On Crime Prevention And Criminal Justice at its fifth session with a basis for its consideration of measures to regulate firearms". (16)
Finally, the Resolution invited member states "to examine the link between the use of firearms and accidents and suicides committed with firearms, and the effect of regulation on reducing their incidence." (17)
Much of the document sounds disturbingly Australian in content. Australia was a participant and signatory to the process. The resolution was adopted and financial support for the worldwide survey was provided by the Government of Japan. (18)
The importance of this cannot be overestimated. Japan is pushing from behind, and Australia is leading the way with flawed information, along with funding and staff (19) all provided through the non-accountable Attorney-General's Department of the Howard-Beazley bipartisan government.
A Worldwide Firearms Survey
In accordance with the 1995 Cairo resolution, the UN's Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Division in Vienna compiled the "United Nations Survey on Firearms Regulation" which member states were asked to complete by September, 1996. The objects of the survey are to gain information on:
- criminal cases, accidents and suicides involving firearms;
- transnational illicit trafficking in firearms;
- national legislation and regulations relevant to firearms;
- relevant initiatives for firearms regulation at the regional and interregional levels. (20)
The scope of the Firearms Regulation Survey is to focus specifically on "regulation as it applies to civilians". (21) These italics are theirs, and the intent is specifically to exclude the use of firearms in relation to government functions such as the police and military.
From this alone we see that the UN draws a distinction between firearm users. It appears that civilians like us are to come under special scrutiny for tighter regulation.
The information gathered by the study is to be "used by the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, for its consideration of measures to regulate firearms." (22) The survey has been completed and the preliminary results are available.
This survey has already been described overseas as "not an objective investigation, but a shallow attempt to justify the whole effort and support UN gun control proposals." (23) There is no doubt that the purpose of the survey is to provide justification for the further restriction of private firearm ownership by the citizenry of member states, including Australia.
While shooting groups in Australia try to talk sense and be heard at state level, a stony-faced Howard Federal Government continues to keep its actions out of the public arena and proceeds to work with the UN behind closed doors to confiscate more firearms from more Australians.
Australia - Where Are
The SSAA fully endorses the UN's efforts to prevent large scale firearms abuse in remote nations torn by civil strife. However, the UN's energies are about to be even more closely directed towards our competition handguns and recreational longarms. The body of evidence, which cannot possibly all be reproduced in this special issue of the Journal, is outstandingly conclusive.
Nobody would ever have thought that the laudable UN concept of worldwide "general and complete disarmament" of warring nations and tribal factions concerning nuclear weapons, missiles, land mines and rocket launchers would eventually become the "microdisarmament" that includes privately owned .22 rabbit rifles in outback Australia.
Sporting shooters in countries like Australia are destined to be the collateral damage of the worldwide disarmament program.
The NCV Report's section on firearms has demonstrable faults, yet this report was taken to the UN Economic and Social Council and held up as a benchmark upon which world standards might be modelled.
Incredibly, from that position our Australian UN representatives have the gall to return to Australia, indicating that we need to comply with the UN standards on firearm controls when they suggested the controls to the UN in the first place through the flawed NCV report.
The person most visibly promoting this position both to the UN and within Australia is our own Mr Daryl Smeaton, who seems not to like guns, and who represents the Attorney-General, Mr Daryl Williams, who likes them even less. (29)
This is the democratically-elected Liberal Government of John Howard at work, paid for by your taxes, and supported by the National Party, friend of the country dweller.
The anti-gun forces within the federal bureaucracy flourish in an atmosphere of subjective quasi-academic activity, developing restrictive regulations concerning the total control of firearms owned by law-abiding civilians. They are feeding a circular UN process, using it and indeed being used by it, with the ultimate aim of prohibiting virtually all civilian ownership of firearms.
If you want to retain possession of your firearms, the time to act is now. Your State and Federal sitting members need to hear from you in no uncertain terms.
1. Economic and Social Council, Commission On Crime Prevention And Criminal Justice
"Measures To Regulate Firearms - Report of the Secretary-General", Vienna, 16
April, 1996, E/CN.15/1996/14, p15.
2. Economic and Social Council, Commission On Crime Prevention And Criminal Justice, "Criminal Justice Reform and Strengthening of Legal Institutions - Measures to Regulate Firearms", Vienna, 28 April-9 May, 1997, E/CN.15/1997/L.19/Rev.1.
3. Ibid, Section 8, p3.
4. Australian Institute of Criminology: "Violence: Directions for Australia", National Committee on Violence, Canberra, 1990, pp51, 98, 173-8.
5. NCV Report, 1990, p174.
6. Ninth United Nations Congress On The Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders, "Crime Prevention Strategies, In Particular As Related To Crimes In Urban Areas And Juvenile And Violent Criminality, Including The Question Of Victims: Assessment And New Perspectives", Cairo, April 29 to May 8, 1995, A/CONF. 169/11, Section 7. Firearm Control Item 134, p21.
7. British American Security Information Council (BASIC) "Project On Light Weapons - Controlling Global Light Weapons Transfers: Working Towards Policy Options", San Diego, CA, 16 April, 1996, p12.
8. Government of Japan, "Joint Action Program for the Stepped-Up Enforcement on Handguns", December 27, 1994.
9. BASIC, 1996, p15.
10. United Nations Economic and Social Council. Commission On Crime Prevention And Criminal Justice, Fifth Session, "Measures To Regulate Firearms", Vienna, May, 1996, p14.
11. Ninth United Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crime and The Treatment of Offenders, "Crime Prevention Strategies, In Particular as Related to Crimes in Urban Areas and Juvenile and Violent Criminality, Including the Question of Victims: Assessment and New Perspectives", Cairo, 29 April-8 May, 1995, A/CONF.169/L.8, p2.
12. Ibid, Annex Declaration on the Control of Firearms (a) p4.
13. Ibid, (c).
14. Ibid, 4 May, 1995, A/CONF.169/L.8 Rev.1*
15. Ibid, p2.
16. Ibid, Item 4, p3.
17. Ibid, item 9.
18. Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Division - United Nations Office at Vienna, Austria, "United Nations Survey on Firearms Regulation, Guidelines and Questionnaire", 1996, p3.
19. "We'll back gun study", Adelaide Sunday Mail, 12 January, 1997.
20. "United Nations Survey on Firearms Regulation Guidelines and Questionnaire", Vienna, 1996, p3.
21. Ibid, p6.
22. Ibid, p3.
23. Restricted document unavailable for publication at this time, p14.
29. "'Rowdy' lawmaker fires up", WA Sunday Times, 19 May, 1996.