Prospects Dim for Mexican Firearms Treaty

Drug violence worries Mexico

By Stephen Dinan (Contact) August 9, 2009

President Obama’s call for the Senate to ratify a hemispheric small-firearms treaty dominated his last visit to Mexico, but in the four months since, both the treaty pledge and the drug violence that prompted it have dropped off the radar – a victim of Congress’ full schedule and gun politics.That means on Sunday Mr. Obama will go with an empty hand to Mexico, which blames the U.S. for many of the weapons used by drug cartels that have violently thwarted a crackdown by Mexican authorities.

And even though Mr. Obama and his administration have accepted that blame, prospects are dim for passage of the treaty, which calls on countries to license gun manufacturers and try to control illicit trafficking in firearms, ammunition and explosives.

The chief U.S. negotiator for the 1997 treaty, known by its Spanish acronym of CIFTA, says it was written specifically to avoid forcing the U.S. to change its laws, and says it does not give any other country a say over what is legal or illegal in the U.S. – and that gun-rights groups were even involved in writing parts of the treaty.

But the National Rifle Association now claims CIFTA could hurt hunters and says U.S. Second Amendment interests should not be controlled by an international treaty. Key senators such as Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat whose gun-rights credentials may be crucial to his winning re-election next year, was cool to Mr. Obama’s call for ratification in April, and a spokesman said nothing has changed since.

“We must work with Mexico to curtail the violence and drug trafficking on America’s southern border, and must protect Americans’ Second Amendment rights,” Mr. Reid said in April. “I look forward to working with the president to ensure we do both in a responsible way.”

Treaties require a two-thirds vote by the Senate to be ratified – probably an impossible goal, given opposition from both sides of the aisle.

Chris W. Cox, the National Rifle Association’s chief lobbyist, would not give a tally, but said that “there are a number of both Republicans and Democrats who share our concerns about the potential for abuse should this treaty be ratified.”

On his two-day trip, Mr. Obama is expected to meet first with Mexican President Felipe Calderon – both men will then meet with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper. The White House says that talking, even without having any tangible “deliverables” to show for it, is important.

“We will see more of these dialogues in the future and at a relatively frequent pace,” National Security Adviser James L. Jones, a retired Marine general, told reporters in previewing the trip. “From that, I think good things will come.”

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/aug/09/prospects-dim-for-firearms-treaty/?source=newsletter_must-read-stories-today_headlines

Pelosi: ‘We Want Registration’; Holder: 2a Won’t ‘Stand In The Way’; SAF: ‘Gloves Are Off’

BELLEVUE, WA – Democrat House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on April 7 acknowledged that gun registration is on her agenda, days after Attorney General Eric Holder told reporters in Mexico that the Second Amendment would not “stand in the way” of administration plans to crack down on alleged gun trafficking to Mexico.

“These are alarming remarks from Speaker Pelosi and Attorney General Holder,” said Second Amendment Foundation founder Alan Gottlieb. “It appears that the Obama administration and Capitol Hill anti-gunners have dropped all pretences about their plans for gun owners’ rights, and it looks like the gloves are coming off.”

Pelosi’s revelation came during an interview on ABC’s Good Morning, America. While insisting that Congress “never denied” the gun rights of American Citizens, Pelosi told Roberts, “We want them registered. We don’t want them crossing state linesÂ…” Gottlieb noted that citizens’ rights do not stop at state lines.

“But that doesn’t really matter,” he observed. “History has shown that around the world, registration has always led to confiscation.”

In Mexico, according to the Wall Street Journal, Holder was asked if the administration might encounter constitutional issues as it tries to crack down on alleged gun trafficking. His response: “I don’t think our Second Amendment will stand in the way of efforts we have begun and will expand upon.”

“These comments belie administration promises and Democrat rhetoric that party leaders respect the rights of law-abiding Americans to own the firearm of their choice,” Gottlieb said. “They imposed registration of semi-autos in Pelosi’s California and it led to a ban, but it certainly didn’t disarm criminals, like the convicted felon who killed four Oakland police officers last month. We know from Holder that the Obama administration wants to renew the nationwide ban on such firearms, but that won’t prevent crime, either.

“The administration and Congressional anti-gunners have declared war on gun rights,” Gottlieb said. “The press seems deliberately blind to the statements from Pelosi and Holder, who blame our gun rights for their incompetence in dealing with crime. More than 90 million gun owners haven’t hurt anybody, and they are tired of being treated like criminals.”

Second Amendment Foundation http://www.saf.org/