By David Codrea
Due to lead times needed to produce, publish and distribute a hard copy magazine, this column is being written in the final months of the Obama administration with the general election still a month away. Long story short, the guy NRA has called “the most anti-gun president in American history” isn’t going away without doing everything in his power to impose infringements he couldn’t get passed by the people’s representatives.
The “big three” in his anti-gun executive overreach swan song? The Arms Trade Treaty, crippling State Department rules and “fees” for gunsmiths, and ceding US control of the internet to the globalists.
Not having a crystal ball, I can’t say whether these will still represent the immediate dangers they do now. A lot will happen before this issue of GUNS makes it to the newsstand or your mailbox, and only then will we know if the threats are being sidelined or intensified.
“The Obama administration upped its commitment to get the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty ratified, a tall order since a bipartisan coalition of 50 senators have already said they oppose the gun treaty Secretary of State John Kerry signed three years ago,” The Daily Signal reported. “Second Amendment advocates are concerned the treaty could provide an international law rationalization for a national gun registry in the United States, and is overly vague.”
“[T]he Second Conference of States Parties to the Arms Trade Treaty in Geneva, Switzerland … marked a clear shift in US strategy for dealing with this international gun control effort,” NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action reported. Mexico’s representative wasted no time blaming US guns for Mexico’s cartel problem, with history seemingly repeating itself. That’s just what they and the Obama administration were saying while ATF was allowing Operation Fast and Furious guns to “walk” across the border to make just that case.
“[T]he US delegation’s marked shift in position is so significant, and why every American should be concerned with not only their delegation’s open support of the ATT, but their promise that they are working towards ratifying it at the first available opportunity,” ILA warned.
“Given Obama’s record of expansively interpreting statutes—and even ignoring them—we have to assume that the UN Arms Trade Treaty would be implemented in the broadest possible manner,” Gun Owners of America weighed in. “The goal appeared to be put everything in place so a future, Democrat-dominated Senate could revisit the ATT, ratify it, and get the US on the road to international gun control.”
Ted R. Bromund, senior research fellow in US-Anglo relations for The Heritage Foundation, agrees it’s a bad treaty, but calls it “a big stretch” to assume “a judge could say the United States must respect the [Arms Trade Treaty] and that all arms transactions within the US are subject to it.”
By the time this issue goes to press, we’ll know if the Democrats have gained or lost power. If the former, stretching things hugely for political advantage beyond what was ever intended—and then getting screaming support from a frenzied media—is their stock-in-trade.
“[T]he US State Department’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC), which is primarily responsible for administering the Arms Export Control Act (AECA) and its implementing rules, the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) … is labeling commercial gunsmiths as ‘manufacturers’ for performing relatively simple work such as threading a barrel or fabricating a small custom part for an older firearm,” NRA-ILA warned, referencing another in-your-face Obama attack. “Under the AECA, ‘manufacturers’ are required to register with DDTC at significant expense or risk onerous criminal penalties.
“The AECA/ITAR require anybody who engages in the business of ‘manufacturing’ a defense article to register with DDTC and pay a registration fee that for new applicants is currently $2,250 per year,” ILA explained. “These requirements apply, even if the business does not, and does not intend to, export any defense article.
“As with prior executive actions on guns, the administration released its dictate suddenly and without advance warning to or prior input from affected businesses, completely bypassing the normal formalities associated with a significant rulemaking,” ILA elaborated. Care to guess why?
“Obama administration moves to put gunsmiths out of business,” GOA said in a headline for a post more bluntly explaining the dangers. “Gun owners understand that, notwithstanding the Obama administration’s dishonest protests to the contrary, the clear intention of this regulation is to effectively make gunsmithing illegal.”
In response to this blatant hostile move, a “bipartisan bicameral coalition” has introduced H.R. 6176, the Export Control Reform Act of 2016, a bill that NRA-ILA says “transfers regulatory responsibility for non-military-grade firearms from the US Department of State to the US Department of Commerce.”
The thing is, per GovTrack.us, a website that publishes the status of federal regulatory efforts, including bill summaries, sponsors, positions of representatives and senators, and statistical analyses, “This bill has a … 20 percent chance of getting past committee [and a] 3 percent chance of being enacted.”
By the time these words appear on the printed page, expect those numbers to either be more encouraging or flat-out hopeless.
“US hands internet control to ICANN,” technology news and review site CNET reported in early October. “Capping a highly politicized debate, the US government … let go of its remaining grip on the internet, handing control of the net’s address book to a nonprofit.
“The transfer involved the internet’s domain name system, or DNS, which translates the Web addresses you type into your browser … into the numerical language that net-connected computers use to communicate,” the report explained.
ICANN? DNS? Numerical language?
That would be the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, a globalist non-profit with the slogan “One world. One internet.”
OK, but it’s still not clear why gun owners should be concerned.
“[Sen. Ted] Cruz and other critics had argued the transfer could lead to authoritarian countries taking control of the internet and eventually censoring content throughout the world,” CNET reported. “But a federal judge denied … their request for an injunction and the scheduled handoff took place….”
“ICANN is a technical organization and does not have the remit or ability to regulate content on the internet,” the group responded, denying and dismissing such concerns. “That is true under the current contract with the US government and will remain true without the contract with the US government.”
Case closed? Nothing to see here? Not so fast, GOA warns.
“According to the former publisher of the Wall Street Journal, L. Gordon Crovitz, ICANN would lose its antitrust exemption once its contract with the US ended. If this happened, an antitrust lawsuit could blow ICANN out of existence,” GOA explains. “So to avoid extinction, ICANN would have to affiliate with a ‘government-like’ organization like the United Nations. And this is what it would be expected to do.
And that, per GOA, opens the door for “anti-gun censorship.”
How all this will play out is something we can only guess at. But here’s something none of us need to be fortune tellers to predict:
“Obama implies he’ll be more vocal about issues after he leaves office,” McClatchy DC reports.
It’s a safe bet that no matter who replaces him, he’ll still be stumping for edicts aimed at disarming us “bitter clingers.”