In national as in individual dealings, more liberality will, perhaps, be found in voluntary regulations than in those which are measured out by the strict letter of a treaty, which, whenever it becomes onerous, is made by forced construction to mean anything or nothing, engenders disputes and brings on war. —Thomas Jefferson to Alexander, Emperor of Russia, 1804. ME 19:143
A news piece from earlier this year slipped notice in the media, but has been circulating on the Internet since. Bill Tucker did a report on the President’s visit to Mexico where he was able to dig up more legalistic dirt to heap at Americans. A little known Clinton-era treaty that was never ratified by the Senate, known as CIFTA. Now Richard Lugar, a Republican from Indiana, wants to set up this International gun registration database by ratifying this treaty. I wonder if you will now just be able to “swipe” your Real ID or Pass ID, or whatever they are going to call it next week, to pick up your gun?
Bill Tucker ended his report by saying, “Gun control is an issue that the Democrat congressional leadership has not been eager to embrace, just yet, but that is what gun rights groups concerned about this treaty. It isn’t being treated as gun control. Instead, it is being presented as an International treaty that has been ratified by twenty-nine other countries, so, therefore, it must be right that we ratify it, as well.”
I would dispute that the Communist gun-control agenda is not on target (pardon the pun) with Gun Control. here is a partial list of the legislation concerning gun control. I note that I find it telling that when you type in “arms” at Thomas.gov, you get a few benign results. If you type in “guns” or “firearms,” however, there are a whole list of items; some good, some horrible. It shows, though, that we have a Congress that does not understand the word “arms,” let alone the meaning of the Second Amendment. I would prefer that thought over the alternative that they are simply trying to usurp the Constitution, all-together, for other nefarious purpose.
H.R. 25, H.R. 45, H.R. 256, H.R. 257, H.R. 623, H.R. 675 (To add to the standing army called police when it comes time to confiscate weapons.), H.R. 1303, H.R. 1448, and H.R. 2202 to provide a partial list. You will note that very few of these bills have the famous, “…and for other purposes” clause. They are very specifically gun-grabbing measures.
H.R 25 has nothing to do with gun control, of course. I just thought that you might like to read that one.
The news is not all bleak. There is H.R. 17, H.R. 1074 and House Concurrent Resolutions 71 and 331. These pieces of legislation were obviously submitted by people who may have accidentally read a copy of the Constitution before reporting for Congress. I know the Honorable Al has. If they don’t watch out, they’ll find their names in Janet’s next book.
Be that as it may, Lou Dobbs responded to Tucker’s report with, “I don’t know who— What do you mean, ‘it must be right?’ Because twenty-nine other countries don’t have a Second Amendment or a Constitution.”
“We’re fools if we don’t pay attention to what is being done before our very eyes and that is why this is taking place. And no one can blame President Obama. We have only ourselves to blame for this. He’s made it very clear, as has his attorney general, the chief law enforcement officer in the country, they just want to do a few things,” explained Dobbs.
The key, here, is does a treaty override the Constitution and laws of the State? The second clause of Article VI of the Constitution states:
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.
That last part of the phrase …any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding, is important. Does that mean that a treaty cannot violate the Constitution or the laws of a state? Clearly an International database of gun owners does. It goes against the Fourth Amendment. It goes against the Second Amendment. And it is not the business of the President of Mexico whether or not I have a gun.
Now you might say, You are not a lawyer how can you say that? You might be right. I am not a lawyer. Let’s read, however, what lawyer’s have said about it.
It need hardly be said that a treaty cannot change the Constitution or be held valid if it be in violation of that instrument. This results from the nature and fundamental principles of our government. The effect of treaties and acts of Congress, when in conflict, is not settled by the Constitution. But the question is not involved in any doubt as to its proper solution. A treaty may supersede a prior act of Congress1, and an act of Congress may supersede a prior treaty2.
—Mr. Justice SWAYNE; 78 U.S. 616, 20 L.Ed. 227, 11 Wall. 616, The Cherokee Tobacco Case, 1870.
It is true that Chinese persons born in China cannot be naturalized, like other aliens, by proceedings under the naturalization laws. But this is for want of any statute or treaty authorizing or permitting such naturalization, as will appear by tracing the history of the statutes, treaties, and decisions upon that subject, always bearing in mind that statutes enacted by congress, as well as treaties made by the president and senate, must yield to the paramount and supreme law of the constitution.
—Mr. Justice GRAY, UNITED STATES v. WONG KIM ARK, 169 U.S. 649, 18 S.Ct. 456, 42 L.Ed. 890, March 28, 1898
I think you get the point. The Supreme Court has ruled, on several occasions, that a treaty may not violate the laws of a State, the federal government, or the Constitution. I guess that “incorporates” it to the States and the federal government.
What it really boils down to is this. It is designed to make the “Red Dawn” scenario easier to accomplish. The invading enemy does not have to take the time to go to the gun dealer to find any papers for gun ownership. They can now just look on the Internet and come in the night. “We had better have no treaty than a bad one. It will not restore friendship, but keep us in a state of constant irritation.” –Thomas Jefferson: The Anas, 1807. ME 1:467
1Foster & Elam /v./ Neilson, 2 Peters, 314.
2 Taylor /v./ Morton, 2 Curtis, 454; The Clinton Bridge, 1 Walworth, 155.