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  • The Second Amendment vs International Law

    On March 23, President Obama nominated Harold Koh, former Dean of the Yale Law School, to be Legal Adviser at the U.S. Department of State. As Heritage U.S. Senate Relations Director Brian Darling writes in Human Events, “one of the many concerns [conservatives have] with Koh is his belief that international organizations should be empowered to regulate the Second Amendment right to own a firearm.”

    Conservatives are concerned with the shift away from reliance on the Constitution as the final legal authority in the U.S. toward transnational jurisprudence favored by liberal activists. When Koh spoke at Fordham University School of Law in 2002, he advocated a U.N.-governed regime to require the U.S. “to submit information about their small arms production.” Koh believes that U.S. should “establish a national firearms control system and a register of manufacturers, traders, importers and exporters” of guns to comply with those international obligations.

    Specifically, Koh is a supporter of the “Inter-American Convention Against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives, and Other Related Materials.” He argues that the Convention requires states “to standardize national laws,” that “the only meaningful mechanism to regulate illicit transfers is stronger domestic regulation,” and that “supply-side control measures within the United States” are essential. The administration has recently announced it will ask the Senate to ratify the Convention.

    Conservatives have a deep concern that Koh’s ideas may become the law of the land through treaties or international agreements like the Convention. A national database of all firearm owners may be the only means to effectively trace guns consistent with Koh’s goal of “global gun control.” Read Koh’s speech for his argument on how to implement back door gun control in the face of a populace who believes that they have a Constitutional right to own a firearm.

    The Heritage Foundation has crafted an excellent question to ask Harold Koh regarding the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms and Koh’s support for “global gun control”:

    Do you believe the Second Amendment protects an individual right of ordinary Americans to keep and bear arms unrelated to militia service?

    Posted in Legal [slideshow_deploy]

    36 Responses to The Second Amendment vs International Law

    1. Skylar Smith says:

      As a conservative, I am concerned that "…Koh’s ideas could become the law of the land through treaties or international agreements like the Convention."

      As a U.S. citizen, I HAVE a constitutional right to own a firearm AND, will do everything in my power to prevent the establishmnet of a national database of all firearm owners or any other gun control. The reasons the framers included these rights and the reasons they have been upheld throughout our history remain valid reasons.

      The laws of the United States should prevail in this country rather than 'international' law. It is impossible for me to respect any such unconstitutional proposal.

    2. Dirk, Cincinnati says:

      It is imperative that all Americans reject the subjugation of our sovereignty. This instance may be the international regulation of our 2nd Amendment right to guns. The next one may be the elimination of our 1st Amendment right to free speech and free press. Most of the world does not have either of these freedoms. Any international body will seek to eliminate both and reduce America to a marginal influence in the world. Harold Koh and his ilk are quite simply traitors and their intentions are treasonous. Any government action to subvert the Constitution is a violation of law on the level of high treason.

    3. Anne Tucson, Arizona says:

      Just how does Koh propose to register the guns in the hands of criminals? Aren't these the people who are engaging in illicit activities related to guns and ammo? Stupid is as stupid does!

    4. Austin, Texas says:

      I do not own a gun but I do support the right to keep and bear arms without the governments interference.

    5. G. Harrison, Houston says:

      While Second Amendment issues are a hot button for many conservatives, this issue is broader and even more important. Koh's philosophy would subordinate the U.S. Constitution to international treaties and potentially abridge rights reserved to Americans since the adoption of the Bill of Rights. While it will be difficult to derail Mr. Koh's appointment, relentless scrutiny and disclosure of State Department policies in the area of international law will be a necessity.

    6. Gerald H. Treffinger says:

      The answer is YES.If there is one MORAL imperative it s the right of self defense. I have a right to my OWN life and I have the right to defend it.Without the right to self defense all other rights are meaningless.Those who disagree simply mean to enslave me. My life is my own….just TRY and take it. GHT

    7. charles east islip n says:

      being nypd i believe that every citizen has the right to bear arms when in danger. as you know i am in the line of fire everyday in nyc. i own 3 guns 45 mag and my glock and a rifle. that is at home to protect my family and myself. if anyone stepped on my property that i felt was threatening i would not think twice to utilize my second amendment.

    8. ozzy6900 says:

      We are the United States of America, not Europe,England, Italy or France. We have the rights afforded to us by God and the Constitution and we don't care what the rest of the World has or does. My advice to President Obama, Harold Koh and anyone else who has a problem with our Constitutional rights and want to be like the rest of the World…….

      GET THE HELL OUT OF OUR COUNTRY!

    9. Mark Moulton, Champa says:

      Most of Europe values equality over freedom. So, they will, through whatever means, try to bring this great country to an "equal" standing with them. We as a nation should not forget that we came here to break free from that. FREEDOM is of the utmost importance and should not be regulated on the idea of fairness. I personally believe that freedom creates the ultimate equality. At least, the closest to equality that we as flawed creatures can attain. The two greatest gifts god gave to man was an immortal soul and free will. Nobody can take our soul from us, but they are surely trying to take away our free will.

      "Leave me be or you might discover I am not so helpless a thing as you thought I was."

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    11. W. Glenn says:

      "In Germany, they came first for the Communists, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist;

      And then they came for the trade unionists, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist;

      And then they came for the Jews, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew;

      And then . . . they came for me . . . And by that time there was no one left to speak up."

      It doesn't matter if you aprove of guns- you have to believe & fight for our entire constitution.

    12. Martha Juhola, SW Wa says:

      OK, even if we drop the conservative/liberal labels why in the world are we on such a fast track to taking away our country's constitutional rights? I don't understand. I would call myself a pacifist while I still believe our constitutional rights are the basis of the United State. I do not believe this because I want to see any revolution, or for any reason other than wanting a safe, optimistic future for my children and grandchildren. What is the real deal here? Mr. Koh must know that "illicit transfer" comes from criminal element. Why in the world would we change our right to self defense? Our founding fathers knew the peril good, sound minded Americans could face without some measure of self protection. Is he saying we are safer? I don't feel safer, wish I did. What is really going on?

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    14. Spiritof76, New Hamp says:

      All tyrants always go after legal ownership of guns by their citizens for the obvious reasons. That is exactly the reason why the Second Amendment is inserted into our Constitution.

      I heard that Montana and Texas are passing nullification legislation of federal intrusion in their states as long as the guns and ammos are manufactured within their states. I am hoping majority of the States enact such a legislation to make federal gun laws meaningless.

      In the same way, I hope the states pass nullification legislation on energy production and distribution within the states thereby allowing states like Louisiana to exploit their natural gas and oil deposits.

      We must make the federal government ineffective.

    15. Barb -mn says:

      Many in government FAIL to interpret the constitution the way it is written. As it is written to include all mankind for all time. Whoever has an interpretation that causes a change of understanding will be the interpretation set forth. As the government angers the people to provoke the consequence. Must stop. Must stop ignorance!

      President Obama's neighborhood military force coming to a neighborhood near you. MUST STOP.

    16. Sam, in Qatar says:

      Behind all the hoopla from the gun-grabbers is the suspicion that the guns could be turned on the left. Americans are a revolutionary bunch and the only way to subjugate them is to disarm them. Since the SCOTUS has said we can own guns the only way to get around that is to adopt some foriegn law that allows it to happen. That's the only reason we talk of international laws at this point. My vote is that suggestion should be called treason. Respect a law that no American voted for . . . not in this lifetime.

    17. Charles says:

      This is surreal. This administration has surrounded itself with individuals that just hate everything American. Their mindset is suicidal on a national level. Will North Korea, China or Iran abide by an international convention? Are you kidding me? Once we are silenced, disarmed & our military rendered ineffective, we will be easier prey not only for our known enemies, but any Chicago thug style politician. I guess in the liberal mind, pryor to the invention of the firearm, people only died naturally of old age. Comrade Koh, gun control is a steady grip & a clear shot. Have a nice day!!!

    18. markelder texarkanaT says:

      Abortion is easy and gruesome partial birth abortion is a gruesome hideous abomination also. Why is it that they can get away with abortion? Perhaps its because the babies can not defend themselves. We keep guns to protect our freedoms and selves against intruders and tyranny. If we give up our guns we will be subject to abortion just as those helpless babies are… It is not my objective to fight to keep a gun for the sake of having a gun it is my objective to fight to keep my gun to protect the freedoms and God given rights that I possess. "Liberty or Death Dont Tread on Me!"

    19. Lawrence Kimpell, El says:

      Using the UN's or any other international organization's charter and provisions to make an end run around the United States Constitution is already recognized as being forbidden.

      International treaties between the United States and foreign powers must conform to the strictures of the United States Constitution:

      [Article VI, the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution, declares:

      "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;... ."

      There is nothing in this language which intimates that treaties and laws enacted pursuant to them do not have to comply with the provisions of the Constitution. Nor is there anything in the debates which accompanied the drafting and ratification of the Constitution which even suggests such a result. These debates as well as the history that surrounds the adoption of the treaty provision in Article VI make it clear that the reason treaties were not limited to those made in "pursuance" of the Constitution was so that agreements made by the United States under the Articles of Confederation, including the important peace treaties which concluded the Revolutionary [354 U.S. 1, 17] War, would remain in effect. 31 It would be manifestly contrary to the objectives of those who created the Constitution, as well as those who were responsible for the Bill of Rights — let alone alien to our entire constitutional history and tradition — to construe Article VI as permitting the United States to exercise power under an international agreement without observing constitutional prohibitions. 32 In effect, such construction would permit amendment of that document in a manner not sanctioned by Article V. The prohibitions of the Constitution were designed to apply to all branches of the National Government and they cannot be nullified by the Executive or by the Executive and the Senate combined.]

      AND

      [There is nothing new or unique about what we say here. This Court has regularly and uniformly recognized the supremacy of the Constitution over a treaty. 33 For example, in Geofroy v. Riggs, 133 U.S. 258, 267 , it declared:

      "The treaty power, as expressed in the Constitution, is in terms unlimited except by those restraints which are found in that instrument against the action of the government or of its departments, and those arising from the nature of the government itself and of that of the States. It would not be contended that it extends so far as to authorize what the Constitution forbids, or a change in the character of the [354 U.S. 1, 18] government or in that of one of the States, or a cession of any portion of the territory of the latter, without its consent."

      This Court has also repeatedly taken the position that an Act of Congress, which must comply with the Constitution, is on a full parity with a treaty, and that when a statute which is subsequent in time is inconsistent with a treaty, the statute to the extent of conflict renders the treaty null. 34 It would be completely anomalous to say that a treaty need not comply with the Constitution when such an agreement can be overridden by a statute that must conform to that instrument.]

      Bracketed text from:

      U.S. Supreme Court

      Reid v. Covert, 354 U.S. 1 (1957)

      354 U.S. 1

    20. jimj, nc says:

      absolutely, the reason for the sceond ammendment is to protect the first ammendment.

    21. Charles Ross, Rio N says:

      If conservatives are so worried about the U.S. Constitution, why did a Republican President and congress gut the 1st, 4th, 5th, via the "patriot act" etc.

      I note that our "HOPE FOR CHANGE" shows no inclination to return right to attorneys, trial, freedom from warrantless wiretaps, etc.

    22. RAH, East Lansing, M says:

      You all make me laugh. I wonder what all of you were saying when W started spying on US citizens (against the US constitution); when he started watching and listening to our communications (against the US constitution); when he started imprisoning US citizens in Guantanamo (against the US citizen); when he lied to start a war (okay, maybe not technically against the US Constitution, but pretty low).

      You didn't stand up for MY rights then, the ones that meant something to me, the ones that I cared about, so I will not stand up for what you claim to care about. At least Obama does much of what he does in the open. Bush had to coerce Congress into giving immunity to private telecommunications corporations that violated federal law while helping W and his cronies violate our Constitutional rights, and all of this in the darkness, hidden and secret in the interests of "Cheney's Power" (sorry, I meant to say, "national security").

      It all depends whose ox is getting gored, my friends, and right now that ox is yours. Get over it.

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    24. RDB - AL says:

      The U.S. is unique. More law abiding people own firearms than any other nation. This is not Great Britain, Australia,or South Africa. Does Obama rally think people will surrender their gun without a fight? He's a fool if he does. People will not give up their God given and Constitutional rights. Obama has no respect for the Constitution, our security and individual rights. He is a naive amoral socialists who wants to control our everyday lives.

    25. Dan Clark, Miamisbur says:

      I am 60 + years of age I have been a Policeman, Cab Driver, Short order cook, Tool Maker, and certified master gunsmith. I have never been arrested for anything in my life. I was born here and from the age of 8 years old I have lived here with a gun in my hand. If anybody wants my guns they are going to have to take them. They had better be prepared for the consequences of their actions.

    26. Barry WV says:

      When the president took office he was sworn in to UPHOLD the CONSTITUTION of the UNITED STATES of AMREICA. now he is against it. Sounds like TREASON against the USA. Sounds like he is against all AMERICANS.

      HE should be IMPEACHED!!!!!

    27. CLARENCE LEE CLINE TEXAS says:

      WHAT? ANOTHER ONE? WHAT CAN BE SAID THAT I ALREADY HAVE SAID? OH YES, HAVE YOU PEOPLE SEEN ENOUGH OF GOVERNMENT TAKING OVER BIG BUSINESS? HAVE YOU NOT READ HISTORY? YOU WANNA GET TO WHERE YOU ARE TAKING US QUICKLY? JUST MOVE TO RUSSIA AND BECOME A CITIZEN. YOU SHOULD BE VERY HAPPY THERE. AND I CANNOT BELIEVE THAT THE GERMANS ARE GETTING STUPID AGAIN ALREADY. TRY GOING TO ITALY OR FRANCE OR RUSSIA OR CHINA FOR HEALTH CARE. OR EVEN ENGLAND FOR THAT MATTER. IF SOCIALISM IS SO GREAT WHY IS IT THAT SO MANY PEOPLE TRY TO LEAVE SOCIALIST COUNTRYS? THERE ARE MANY TRANSLATIONS OF THE KORAN AVAILABLE. JUST GO TO THE LIBRARY AND CHECK ONE OUT. I HAVE READ MUCH OF IT AND I NEVER SAW SO MUCH HATE AND BULLSHIT IN MY LIFE. THERE IS NO LOVE IN IT ANYWHERE. THERE ISN’T EVEN ANY HONESTY OR INTEGRITY IN IT ANYWHERE. GIVE ME MY BELOVED BIBLE ANY TIME. ANOTHER THING, THERE ARE STATISTICS AVAILABLE ABOUT JUST ABOUT ANYTHING. EASY TO FIND ON THE INTERNET ALSO SO LONG AS YOU STAY AWAY FROM THE STATICIANS WITH AN AGENDA. THOSE PEOPLE ARE LIARS AND THE TRUTH IS NOT IN THEM. EVEN A LITTLE FROM THE GUYS SUPPOSEDLY ON THE GOOD SIDE. SHAME ON YOU GUYS. THE GOOD SIDE DOES NOT NEED LIES. TRUTH ALWAYS OUTS NO MATTER WHAT. IT IS JUST MY OPINION BUT IT IS BACKED BY TRUTH AND COMMON SENSE BUT THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY IN GENERAL IS ANTI-AMERICAN. THEY WILL TELL YOU THAT RIGHT WING EXTREMESTS ARE POTENTIAL TERRORISTS. I ASK YOU WHAT IS THE HEAD OF ACCORN BUT AN UNREPENTANT TERRORIST. WHAT ARE MANY ACORN PEOPLE BUT UNREPENTANT TERRORISTS OR WANNABE’S. THEY ARE DEMOCRATS. THEY ARE LEFT WING EXTREMISTS AND OUR ILLEGAL PRESIDENT IS ONE WITH THEM. THEY CALL ME, A 74 YEAR OLD PATRIOT WHO HAS SERVED MY COUNTRY AND LOVES MY COUNTRY AND WHOSE ANCESTORS HAVE DONE THE SAME, A RIGHT WING EXTREMIST AND A POSSIBLE TERRORIST. PERHAPS THAT IS BECAUSE THE JACKLES WHO HAVE BEEN HIRED BY THE DUPED PEOPLE OF THIS COUNTRY ARE AFRAID OF ME. ABOUT ALL THEY CAN DO TO ME IS ILLEGALLY DEPRIVE ME OF MY FREEDOM OF SPEECH, OR ASSASSINATE ME. OR BY SOME OTHER ILLEGAL MEANS DEPRIVE ME OF MY RIGHTS AS A FREE CITIZEN OF MY COUNTRY. DO YOU ADVOCATE OUR HIRED HANDS (elected officials) violating my civil rights? Is this true? i cannot believe my country would give up the best government in the world for utopia in hell! However it is beginning to look that way. think about it buttholes

    28. Steve,Florida says:

      You have lost the battle! The push for everyone must register or hold a ccp is about to take away your rights. After all of these laws get passed it will be treated just as your drivers license is,a privilege. Therefore the state/government can revoke that "privilege" for whatever reason they see fit.The end run around the 2nd ammendment will have been accomplished.The next step will be a mandatory bond/insurance for your privilege,if you can not afford it you must surrender your firearms and due to past registration or a ccp "they" know who and where you are. Reason behind it : Your government will say they can raise much needed dollars from the sale of their insurance policy and reduce crime at the same time while making it safer for "our children" and lower "healthcare costs".The sheep will think how wonderful and buy into it! (Eg the tobacco products tax). Of course the reason the government needs all this money in the first place is because even after looking at the credit bubbles burst they have continued to do nothing more than build a bigger bubble (on credit) around the problem.For those of you who think the courts won't let this happen..Mr. O will be picking the the new judges he will get one this year and may get two more before his term is over.Talk about a stacked deck and they will be around for a while.

    29. Bruce, Pennsylvania says:

      I'm just about the last person you'd see wearing a 'tin foil hat', but I cannot deny that I have witnessed a dramatic erosion of the foundational ethos of the United States over the past twenty years; so severe and seemingly systematic has this 'erosion' been, that I am starting to actually believe that there might just be a conspiracy afoot.

      The final act needed to completely detach independence and liberty from our society, fully removing the founding culture in America and it's fundamental values and systems, would be to strip the citizens of their basic right to arms; eliminating the private and individual ability of self defense and self reliance. While citizens are armed, the government is the servant of the people. When the citizens are disarmed, the people become beholden to the government for everything; becoming as "peasants" – as servants to a lording rule.

      The United States is unique in the world as it's citizens started out not as "peasants" under the rule of it's government, not as "equals" to it's government, but as "lords" ourselves over our own government; we were the first country to create such a system.

      Should the individual Right to acquire, Keep and Bear Arms of the American citizens be disabled, then our once great United States will become the exact opposite of what it's founders intended.

      It is one thing to choose the path of a pacifist and appeaser for yourself, it is quite another to compel such philosophies in your neighbors. One man's noble pacifist is another man's coward; each should be free to pursue his own path. Forcefully disarming an honest man who would seek to do no malicious harm is a clear sign of either dangerous paranoia or evil intentions. When it is a government that does the disarming, I can only conclude that it is the latter case.

    30. John "The Show says:

      We need to remembwer the 2nd addmentment portects our constutition!!

    31. Lesley, NJ says:

      We all have to stand up for our rights. The only way we will be heard is if we all go to DC on the July 4 and protest in front of the White House.

    32. Unite! says:

      We should all realize that the ENTIRE U.S. Constitution needs to be protected! The 2nd Amendment right is no different. In fact, without the 2nd Amendment we would not have the means to protect ourselves from a Tyrannical Government! The U.K. and Australia have had their rights stripped away, is the United States next? Are we going to let it be next? If we are defenseless, what can a BIG government accomplish? Sure means we have to "trust" our government to not misuse this power! Hmmm, let's look back throughout history to see just how this usually works out…… History must be learned from or we are headed to the same fate!
      http://www.warnthepeople.org

    33. Ken St Louis says:

      Anyone who believes that we should follow what other countries do needs to be shown the border, preferably at the atlantic ocean, and told to get out, your not welcome here!

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