by Michael P. Farris, J.D.
May 11, 2009
“The spread of small arms creates a serious global problem and requires an equally urgent response
because the lives and futures of children are at stake. These weapons have extinguished more young lives than they have protected.”
– Carol Bellamy, Executive Director, UNICEF
The vast majority of Americans, regardless of their opinions on the increasing scope of international
law, agree with the proposition that children should not be used as soldiers. Accordingly, much of the UN literature
that addresses children and guns deals with this military-related issue.
However, a second theme is quickly found in virtually all UN pronouncements about child soldiers and
weapons. UN child’s rights advocates believe, teach, and promote the idea that all private gun-ownership is dangerous
for children, and that children have the right to grow up in a community that is free from all guns.
|"If the United States ratifies the UN Convention we will be willing parties
in a regime that obligates us to disarm our citizens, keep guns from children, and indoctrinate American children to believe
in the utopia of world disarmament."|
As the campaign to seek ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child intensifies, it
is important for all Americans to understand the application of this children’s rights treaty to the issue of private
gun ownership by American citizens.
Limiting the rights of gun-ownership is not some secret agenda of the UN, but is open for all to see.
UNICEF, the official UN agency charged with the worldwide advancement of children’s rights, has published a four-color
brochure entitled: “No Guns Please, We Are Children.” The quotation given at the opening of this paper is taken
from the front cover of this UNICEF brochure.
Inside this brochure we find the following assertions about guns and children:
- Small arms and light weapons kill and disable more children and adults than any other instrument of violence, in
conflict and post-conflict situations and on the streets of cities worldwide. Deaths linked to small arms and light weapons
every year run into the hundreds of thousands, with those injured exceeding 1 million.
- Small arms and light weapons cause profound physical and emotional damage, particularly to children, and affect their
- In societies destabilized by the use of small arms and light weapons, children are denied many of their human rights,
including their rights to freedom from violence and exploitation, survival and development, health care, education and care
within a family environment. As a result, hard-won developmental gains are often lost and may even be reversed.
- In communities enjoying relative peace, children witness and are traumatized by the use of small arms and light weapons
in domestic violence and in disputes. Children also become accidental victims because adults fail to keep the weapons out
of their reach.
Two crucial conclusions can be drawn from these assertions:
First, the UN intends to address far more than children in war; the object is to eliminate
the “threat” posed by guns from the lives of all children whether their community is characterized as “in
conflict,” “post-conflict,” “destabilized,” or “enjoying relative peace.”
Guns are a threat “on the streets of cities worldwide.”
Second, the UN contends that the threat posed by guns violates the “human rights”
There can be no doubt that the UN believes that the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child is applicable
to this issue. In this same pamphlet it declares: “The Convention on the Rights of the Child sets out comprehensive
principles and standards to guide all actions and attitudes towards children.”
Thus, a nation that willingly accepts this treaty has made a legally binding agreement of international
law to regulate its public policy towards all issues in a manner that is consistent with the UN vision on children’s
human rights. If this statement were made in some other context, there might be some room for argument that the UN doesn’t
really mean to include gun ownership within the sweep of comprehensive “standards to guide all actions and attitudes
towards children.” But this statement was made in an official brochure entitled “No Guns Please, We are Children.”
This official UN brochure then clarifies the kind of public policy required towards firearms based upon
these human rights of children:
- Efforts must be ongoing to overcome the destructive messages that small arms and light weapons are essential instruments
for survival and protection in daily life.
- Governments must support communities in eliminating the insecurity, fear and instability that often lead people to acquire
and keep guns.
- Regulations are needed to ensure that small arms and light weapons are not easy to acquire and are never accessible to
The UN believes that the idea that small arms are “essential instruments for survival and protection”
is destructive. Remember that the UN CRC purports to govern all actions and attitudes. The very belief that guns
are necessary for protection is a destructive attitude that violates the “respect for human rights” required by
the UN CRC.
There can be no doubt of the meaning of the statement: “Regulations are needed to ensure that
small arms and light weapons are not easy to acquire and are never accessible to children.”
The UN official pamphlet makes it plain that nations need to “[i]mplement laws to protect children
. . .from having access to small arms.” Moreover, the UN says that states should “[c]ollect and destroy
small arms … through community programmes in which civil society plays a key role.”
The UN actively promotes the idea that small arms conflict with the human rights of children protected
by the CRC. Yet another UN publication states:
UNICEF, together with the United Nations Department for Disarmament Affairs, has designed an exhibit,
shown around the world, called "Taking Aim at Small Arms: Defending Child Rights". The exhibit documents the scourge of small
arms and light weapons, emphasizing their prevalence worldwide and the toll they take on human lives—especially children.
Thus, it is clear that UNICEF believes that in order to comply with the principles of children’s
rights contained in the UN CRC, America would need to adopt regulations to make it difficult for adults to acquire small arms
and light weapons. Moreover, we would need to adopt regulations that prohibit weapons from ever being accessible to children.
In another UN official publication, “Guide to the Implementation of the World Programme of Action
for Youth,” the following laws are advocated as necessary for the protection of children’s rights:
Explore enacting bans on all handguns to civilians or certain cheap models that are attractive to youth.
Call for restrictions on the number of guns that can be purchased in a one-month or one-year period.
It is essential to understand the interplay between treaties and state laws. Article VI of the
United States Constitution provides:
This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all
Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and
the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.
In Missouri v. Holland, 252 U.S. 416 (1920), the state of Missouri challenged the constitutionality
of federal interference with the state hunting laws concerning migratory birds. Federal game officials had intervened
in Missouri based upon a treaty with Canada. The United States Supreme Court ruled that the treaty, and not Missouri’s
state laws on hunting, was supreme. State law—including state hunting laws—must give way to treaties.
|The only kind of law that can override a treaty is the U.S. Constitution.
We need to place parental rights into the explicit text.|
Thus, even if current state laws permit children to obtain hunting licenses and possess and discharge
firearms for these purposes, such laws would have to give way to a treaty that contends that firearms should “never
be accessible to children.”
The UN agenda for children does not stop with the direct disarming of individuals. Article 29
of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child imposes educational standards on nations that become parties to the treaty.
This includes “peace education,” which in other UN contexts means disarmament education. The UN World Congress
on Disarmament Education adopted the following statements:
Definition of disarmament
2. For the purposes of disarmament education, disarmament may be understood as any form of action aimed
at limiting, controlling or reducing arms, including unilateral disarmament initiatives, and, ultimately, general and complete
disarmament under effective international control. It may also be understood as a process aimed at transforming the current
system of armed nation States into a new world order of planned unarmed peace in which war is no longer an instrument of national
policy and peoples determine their own future and live in security based on justice and solidarity.
Links with human rights and development
7. As an integral part of peace education, disarmament education has essential links with human rights
education and development education, in so far as each of the three terms peace, human rights and development must be defined
in relation to the other two. Moreover, disarmament education offers an occasion to elucidate emerging concepts such as the
individual and collective rights to peace and to development, based on the satisfaction of material and non-material human
If the United States Senate ratifies the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child we will have become
willing parties in a regime that obligates us to disarm our citizens, keep guns from children, and indoctrinate American children
to believe in the utopia of world disarmament. This will cause our nation to surrender our own defenses and rest in
the “security” of a world based on “individual and collective rights.”
Editor's Note: The proposed Parental Rights Amendment includes specific language
that would prohibit our government from ever ratifying this treaty. Click here for more on the proposed language. Join our email network to stay informed on the Amendment and the treaty.
UNICEF, No Guns, Please, We Are Children, 2001, available at http://www.unicef.org/emerg/files/Emergencies_No_guns_please_leaflet.pdf.
United Nations, Guide to the Implementation of the World Programme of Action for Youth, 2006,
ST/ESA/309, available at http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/unyin/documents/wpay_guide.pdf.
United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, World Congress on Disarmament Education,
Report and Final Document, 9-13 June 1980, part A 1 & 2, available at http://www.un.org/disarmament/education/docs/uneco.pdf.
For more information visit www.parentalrights.org
Direct Anti-Gun Legislation
What H.R. 45 Does
The legislation has three main components.
1. Increasing requirements for firearms purchases.
2. Creating a national firearms registry overseen by the Federal Government.
3. Stiffen penalties for bookkeeping errors related to the Federal Firearms Database
formed in section 2.
To purchase a firearm a person would be required to pass a written firearms
examination, release all health records -- including mental heath records
-- to the
Attorney General's office, and submit to a two-day waiting period, as well as pay an
"appropriate" fee of $25 per firearm.
Additionally, every firearm sale would be recorded in a database, which would track the
serial number, make, model and identity of the owner. The legislation would also make
all private sales of firearms illegal, and a felony offense.
In addition to these regulations, the legislation includes excessive regulations and
penalties for bureaucratic missteps from simple failures to report address changes to
failure to report stolen weapons.
Provisions of H.R. 45 include:
• Requires passing a written examination to purchase a firearm.
• Releases medical records -- including confidential mental health
records -- to the
Attorney General for Government review.
• Requires a two-day waiting period on all firearms purchases.
• Institutes a fee of $25 or more on all firearm purchases.
• Creates a national database with all firearms and firearms owners
registered by serial
number with the Federal Government.
• A Federal ban on all private firearms sales.
• Increases in penalties for clerical errors related to this national
You can read the full text of the bill here.
Who's sponsoring H.R. 45
H.R. 45 -- President Obama's National Gun Registry and Citizen Disarmament
was written by Illinois
Congressman Bobby Rush (D). It currently has no cosponsors.
Representative Rush was a founding member of the Illinois Black Panther Party in 1968.
The Black Panthers are a radical and militant organization.
But will it pass Congress?
Congressman Rush's bill an outrageous destruction of Constitutional
Rights, but it's the compromises that are truly dangerous
Though far-left gun-haters routinely sponsor pie-in-the-sky legislation (anyone remember
the days of Sen. Moynihan's annual 1000% tax on ammo?), H.R. 45 has set new lows for
the depths to which hoplophobes will sink.
Is H.R. 45 dangerous? Yes. But is it likely to pass? No.... it's too far-reaching.
What is likely to pass, though, is a compromise, a deal cut with the gun-grabbers and the
group that ostensibly represents gun owners, the NRA.
Think that can't happen? Rewind to the summer of 2007, when arch gun-hater
McCarthy sat down with NRA board member Congressman
John Dingell to craft a deal to expand Brady
Checks into new realms of mental health
records. A few months later, H.R. 2640 passed...with the approval of the NRA and
Congressman Rush's gun control ideas are much, much more dangerous as amendments
to legislation that is already advancing.
Remember the Brady Bill? It didn't pass as a stand-alone bill. It passed as an amendment.
Even more frightening was that it passed with the approval of the NRA (click here for
that full story)
The same is true of the Lautenberg Domestic Abuse ban, the Assault Weapons ban, 1986
McClure-Volkmer (which bans the manufacture of transferable machine guns), the 1968
Gun Control Act, and numerous other examples (especially if you look at state
Yes, we're watching H.R. 45. But beware the slight of hand -- it's often more dangerous.