By Ron Paul
The United Nations is holding a conference beginning this week in New York that ironically coincides with our national 4th of July holiday. It's ironic because those attending the conference want to do away with one of our most fundamental constitutional freedoms -- the right to bear arms.
The stated goal of the conference is to eliminate trading in small arms, but the real goal is to advance a worldwide gun control movement that ultimately supercedes national laws, including our own 2nd Amendment. Many UN observers believe the conference will set the stage in coming years for an international gun control treaty.
Fortunately, U.S. gun owners have responded with an avalanche of letters to the American delegation to the conference, asking that none of our tax dollars be used to further UN anti-gun proposals. But we cannot discount the growing power of international law, whether through the UN, the World Trade Organization, or the NAFTA and CAFTA treaties. Gun rights advocates must understand that the forces behind globalism are hostile toward our Constitution and national sovereignty in general. Our 2nd Amendment means nothing to UN officials.
Domestically, the gun control movement has lost momentum in recent years. The Democratic Party has been conspicuously silent on the issue in recent elections because they know it's a political loser. In the midst of declining public support for new gun laws, more and more states have adopted concealed-carry programs. The September 11th terrorist attacks and last summer's hurricanes only made matters worse for gun control proponents, as millions of Americans were starkly reminded that we cannot rely on government to protect us from criminals.
So it makes sense that perhaps the biggest threat to gun rights in America today comes not from domestic lawmakers, but from abroad.
For more than a decade the United Nations has waged a campaign to undermine Second Amendment rights in America. UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has called on members of the Security Council to address the "easy availability" of small arms and light weapons, by which he means all privately owned firearms. In response, the Security Council released a report calling for a comprehensive program of worldwide gun control, a report that admonishes the U.S. and praises the restrictive gun laws of Red China and France!
It's no surprise that UN officials dislike what they view as our gun culture. After all, these are the people who placed a huge anti-gun statue on American soil at UN headquarters in New York. The statue depicts a pistol with the barrel tied into a knot, a not-too-subtle message aimed squarely at the U.S.
They believe in global government, and armed people could stand in the way of their goals. They certainly don't care about our Constitution or the Second Amendment. But the conflict between the UN position on private ownership of firearms and our Second Amendment cannot be reconciled. How can we as a nation justify our membership in an organization that is actively hostile to one of our most fundamental constitutional rights? What if the UN decided that free speech was too inflammatory and should be restricted? Would we discard the First Amendment to comply with the UN agenda?
The UN claims to serve human freedom and dignity, but gun control often serves as a gateway to tyranny. Tyrants from Hitler to Mao to Stalin have sought to disarm their own citizens, for the simple reason that unarmed people are easier to control. Our Founders, having just expelled the British army, knew that the right to bear arms serves as the guardian of every other right. This is the principle so often ignored by both sides in the gun control debate. Only armed citizens can resist tyrannical government.
Dr. Ron Paul is a Republican member of Congress from Texas.