2006-04-12

Bob Barr summary

I went to listen to Bob Barr yesterday, and I will give you a little summary of the points I took from his talk. He said there are certain important roles for international organizations but the United Nations goes much farther than necessary. He said that George H. Bush set a bad precedent when he sought UN approval for military action in the Persian Gulf since the US should seek approval for such things and that the UN shouldn't be in that role. The UN's committee that is trying to legislate on gun control was originally supposed to be temporary but has become permanent, and the UN charter doesn't authorize that sort of effort. That committee's goals, of course, conflict with American principles on civil liberties concerning how the Second Amendment rights give tangible expression to our rights to own property and ideas plus our right to privacy. Barr mentioned Ayn Rand's idea that the basis for civilization is in property, and he said that John Bolton caused quite a stir when he told the UN that the US believes that gun ownership is a civil liberty and is not interested in their gun control goals.

He argued that the UN is stating its gun control goal is really to stop illicit arms trade but that there are more sensible ways of doing so. A major way to hurt that trade would be to have member countries enact strict controls on exports and imports, the kinds that the US
uses, but the members are not interested in doing so, especially since China and eastern European countries are the ones supplying arms to rogue regimes. Those regimes are not using US weapons. Furthermore, the kinds of problems that come up in rogue regimes are caused by the disarming of the populations in the first place.

I asked him what kinds of trends he sees in our own Second Amendment policy because how we react to the United Nations will certainly depend on our own policy at the time. He said that he sees more and more ignorance about Second Amendment issues, especially among young people, a trend that is related to the increasing urbanization and suburbanization in our country. He also sees more and more disinterest among members of Congress in learning about the issues. He also said that a hot topic now is legislation that began in Oklahoma prohibiting employers from banning guns from their employees' cars in publicly accessible parking lots. A proposal like that came up in the Georgia General Assembly this year but it was wisely tabled so that an improved proposal can be made again.