To the editor:
A little fact checking always helps when it comes to the conspiratorial claims of the New American Right, the Tea Party crowd, and the National Rifle Association.
Take the sham arguments the NRA and New American Right /Tea Party crowd are mounting against a proposed United Nations treaty that would crack down on the $60 billion a year illicit global arms trade that fuels the violence in some of the most dangerous, lawless, and bloody regions of the world.
The leaders of the NRA and the Tea Party movement are either being deliberately dishonest in order advance their political agenda and score points with their base, or they are woefully ignorant of the Constitution — a document they claim to be so knowledgable about and hold in such high esteem.
John Bolton, the hard line, far right, neo conservative who served as G.W. Bush’s ambassador to the U.N., has claimed gun control advocates in the U.S. are planning to use the treaty “... to control gun sales at home.”
Wayne LaPierre, the gun fanatic who has headed the NRA for years, went even further saying, “Without any apology, the NRA wants no part of any treaty that infringes on the precious right of lawful Americans to keep and bear arms.”
Well, first of all, the treaty isn’t looking to infringe on or strip law abiding Americans of their Second Amendment rights. What the treaty is seeking to do is intervene against an illicit and illegal, international arms trafficking industry that puts tens of billions of dollars worth of assorted and sophisticated weaponry each year into the hands of warlords, drug traffickers, sea pirates, and a whole lot of other really nasty and violent people all across the globe.
Second, the treaty can’t strip law-abiding Americans of their Second Amendment rights because there is a longstanding, deeply enshrined legal principle that no treaty the U.S. enters into can override the Constitution or U.S. laws.
I did some research into this and found there are numerous examples of the Supreme Court , whether dominated by liberals or conservatives at a given time, ruling that treaty obligations do not and cannot infringe upon the constitutional protections and rights afforded U.S. citizens within the United State. Such established precedents date back at least 100 years.
Treaties are, in fact, agreements between governments. They don’t subject the citizens of one country to the laws of another.
The right to bear arms guaranteed in the Second Amendment, even though Americans may legitimately debate how best to interpret the rights spelled out in that amendment and what types of weapons ordinary civilians should possess, is not going anywhere. It is, like Roe v. Wade, “settled law.”
For national figures like LaPierre and Bolton to be so disingenuoulsy promulgating yet another right-wing conspiracy theory for cheap political gain in an election year is beyond shameless. It borders on the un-American, given that they so obviously don’t care or know much about the document whose name they toss about to rev up their followers.
Like I said, a little fact checking when it comes to the New American Right, the Tea Party, and the NRA is well worth doing.