Nemo Me Impune Lacessit

Saturday, 24 August 2013

How did we ever survive . . . ?

How did we ever survive with such death machines available to the general public through the mail, with the only paperwork involved being the sales slip?

Why were there no rivers of blood and gore flowing through the streets on a daily basis?

Up until 1934, subguns could be purchased without any mandatory paperwork from any level of government – no required background checks, no mandatory fingerprinting or photographs, no 200 transfer tax, no requirement that you get your police chief or sheriff to sign off on your purchase.

In fact, the STEN gun advertised in the picture was made AFTER the National Firearms Act of 1934 had been passed and signed into “law” – the STEN was first developed in 1941, as World War II was getting started. You see, the Brits had dumped truckloads of military-pattern rifles and subguns into the North Sea after WWI, rather than let their private citizens have them. The fact that quite a few weapons had to be left behind during the Dunkirk evacuation compounded the matter.

In this case, Cadmus Industries’ advert uses the phrases “airdropped to Maquis” and “used in ill-fated Rommel HQ raid.”

And after the War, plenty of American soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines brought weapons home in their duffel bags – not only war prizes such as specimens of the MG 42, FG 42, MG 34, Luger, MP 40, StG 44, Nambu pistol, etc., but they also brought home American and Allied weapons such as BREN guns, M1 rifles, M1 carbines and Browning Automatic rifles. Quite a few of those returning service members didn’t bother to fill out any NFA paperwork, and quite properly so – the federal rules requiring such paperwork are quasi-Constitutional at best in the letter of the Constitution, the Declaration and the Bull of Rights. Where the spirit of the Founding Documents is concerned, the NFA-1934 is flat-out ANTI–Constitutional.

Yet there didn’t seem to be many if any “active shooter” type of spree killers, of the kinds we saw at Virginia Tech, Fort Hood, Sandy Hook Elementary, Columbine High School, etc. Never mind that all of those locations had been legislatively designated as “gun free zones” since 1990 (thank you, (REPUBLICAN) George H. W. Bush!) where no one but law-enforcement personnel are permitted to carry weapons.


FOR FURTHER REFERENCE

  1. STEN submachine gun – Wikipedia page / Modern Firearms page
  2. MG 42 machine gun – Wikipedia page / Modern Firearms page
  3. FG 42 rifle – Wikipedia page / Modern Firearms page
  4. MG 34 machine gun – Wikipedia page / Modern Firearms page
  5. MP 40 submachine gun – Wikipedia page / Modern Firearms page
  6. Sturmgewehr 44 – Wikipedia page / Modern Firearms page

NOTES

  1. Approximate reading level – 15.0
  2. Reposted –
    1. Personal blogs and micro-blogs – Blogspot / Facebook / Google Plus / Tumblr / Twitter / Xanga
    2. LPUSA / LPNMLPNM Blog / LPBCNM Blog / LPNM Official Facebook page / LPNM Official Facebook group / LPBCNM Official Facebook group / New Mexico Libertarians Facebook group
    3. The Weekly SeditionFacebook / Google Plus / Twitter / WordPress

Copyright © 2013 Libertarian Party of New Mexico, Libertarian Party of Bernalillo County, New Mexico and Mike Blessing. All rights reserved.
Produced by KCUF Media, a division of Extropy Enterprises.
This blog entry created with Notepad++.

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Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Dear Starbucks

My recent email to the head honchoes at Starbucks, sent via a hoplophobe website:

Dear Starbucks,

Thank you for allowing private civilians to exercise the right to own and carry weapons for self-defense in your locations. Because of this, I will go to Starbucks whenever possible over your competition.

Your support for the Second Amendment IS appreciated.

Again, thank you.

Here’s the link, for those wanting to send their own:

http://action.momsdemandaction.org/page/speakout/dear-starbucks

H/T Jospeh L. Roberts

This is almost as good as when I sent Jeff Bingaman a check for 1 back in 1994 – he’s been sending me holiday-season cards ever since.


NOTES

  1. Reposted –
    1. Personal blogs and micro-blogs – Blogspot / Facebook / Google Plus / Tumblr / Twitter / Xanga
    2. The Weekly SeditionFacebook / Twitter / WordPress

Copyright © 2013 Mike Blessing. All rights reserved.
Produced by KCUF Media, a division of Extropy Enterprises.
This blog entry created with Notepad++.

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Sunday, 30 June 2013

One Reason Why I Will NEVER Convert to Bahá’ísm

Here are the gory details, straight from the Bahais themselves.

Abstract:

Whether Baha’is may practice self-defense in times of danger, and whether American Baha’is should purchase firearms.

From the texts you already have available it is clear that Bahá’u’lláh has stated that it is preferable to be killed in the path of God’s service than to kill, and that organized religious attack against Bahá’ís should never turn into any kind of warfare, as this is strictly prohibited in our Writings.

So a Bahá’í is expected to “take one for the team” in the name of the faith? If a group of whacko Islamofascists were to set upon a Bahá’í temple with physical violence in mind, the Bahá’ís are supposed to simply stand by and let it happen?

A hitherto untranslated Tablet from ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, however, points out that in the case of attack by robbers and highwaymen, a Bahá’í should not surrender himself, but should try, as far as circumstances permit, to defend himself, and later on lodge a complaint with the government authorities. In a letter written on behalf of the Guardian, he also indicates that in an emergency when there is no legal force at hand to appeal to, a Bahá’í is justified in defending his life. In another letter the Guardian has further point out that the assault of an irresponsible assailant upon a Bahá’í should be resisted by the Bahá’í, who would be justified, under such circumstances, in protecting his life.

How exactly is a Bahá’í (or anyone else, for that matter) to tell if the assailant is a responsible one versus an irresponsible one?

If the assailant is a responsible attacker, is then the Bahá’í adherent supposed to refrain from resisting?

What if the Bahá’í deems the attacker to be irresponsible, and later it’s determined that the thug was indeed a responsible thug?

The House of Justice does not wish at the present time to go beyond the guidelines given in the above-mentioned statements. The question is basically a matter of conscience, and in each case the Bahá’í involved must use his judgment in determining when to stop in self-defense lest his action deteriorate into retaliation.

Oh no, the horrors of retaliation!

Of course the above principles apply also in cases when a Bahá’í finds himself involved in situations of civil disorder. We have, however, advised the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States that under the present circumstances in that country it is preferable that Bahá’ís do not buy nor own arms for their protection or the protection of their families.

Here we have it – an explicit proclamation from Bahá’í officialdom that firearms ownership is discouraged.

With that, I can safely say that I am not joining and will not join the Bahá’í faith.


FOR FURTHER REFERENCE

  1. Self-Defense, Guidance on by Universal House of Justice, first written or published 1969-05-26

NOTES

  1. Reposted –
    1. Personal blogs, micro-blogs, etc. – Blogspot / Facebook / Google Plus / Twitter / Xanga
    2. The Weekly SeditionFacebook / Twitter / WordPress / Yahoo!
    3. Tea Party Nation

Copyright © 2013 Mike Blessing. All rights reserved.
Produced by KCUF Media, a division of Extropy Enterprises.
This blog entry created with Notepad++.

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Saturday, 11 August 2012

Krueger Lacks True Common Sense (and Balance)

Filed under: Politics, Self-Defense — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , — mikewb1971 @ 12:53 AM (00:53)

Current mood: cynical

This was originally posted as a letter to the editor to The Albuquerque Journal on Monday, 30 July 2012.

In her “Up Front” column “Add Common Sense to Gun Law Arsenal” from 27 July, Joline Gutierrez Krueger attempts to stand atop the dead and injured of the Aurora movie shooting. The sad part is that in attempting just that, she stumbles from lack of balance – and common sense.

For example, she insinuates that higher crime rates in New Mexico are due to lenient gun laws (no supporting data was provided) – what does she say to those of us who say that the crime rate is due more to the something-for-nothing welfare state and Drug Prohibition?

What about Vermont, Alaska, Arizona and Wyoming, where people can carry concealed weapons without a permit? Why is it that crime rates per capita are lower in those states than in states with more restrictive gun laws?

She goes on to parrot a comment from Obama, who never understood the true purpose of the Second Amendment:

“I – like most Americans – believe that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual the right to bear arms . . . . But I also believe that a lot of gun owners would agree that AK-47s belong in the hands of soldiers and not in the hands of crooks. They belong on the battlefield of war, not on the streets of our cities.”

Remember that when Obama refers to guns “on the streets of our cities,” he’s really talking about the ones in your private possession. In the end, it doesn’t matter to him whether you’ve committed any sort of violent act or not.

When they wrote the Constitution and Bill of rights, both the Federalists and Anti-Federalists commented explicitly that they wanted the civilian population to have access to the military arms of the day. Back then, that was muzzle-loading flintlocks. Now it’s the Glock pistol, the AK-47, the M4 carbine, the MP-5 subgun and the MP7A1 PDW.

In much the same sense, the Founders never envisioned radio, television and the internet when they wrote the First Amendment, allegedly guaranteeing our rights to free speech and freedom of the press that Krueger uses for these columns. Should Krueger surrender her “assault keyboard” lest she write something that incites someone to commit a violent act? After all, the pen is mightier than the sword.

Finally, if Krueger’s point – “guns cause crime” – were true, then why don’t we hear about bloodbaths of the kind we saw in Aurora, at Fort Hood and Virginia Tech at gun shows and shooting ranges? Why don’t we see hunters killing each other over that perfect tree stand or duck blind?



Mike Blessing
State Chair, Libertarian Party of New Mexico
505-515-7015 / http://lpnm.us


Who owns you? Who runs your life? Who should – you or someone else?
Freedom is the answer – what’s the question?


NOTES

  1. Original article
  2. Reposted —
    1. Personal blogs – Xanga
    2. The Weekly SeditionWordPress


Copyright © 2012 Libertarian Party of New Mexico and Mike Blessing. All rights reserved.

Produced by KCUF Media, a division of Extropy Enterprises.

This blog entry created with gedit and Notepad++.


Friday, 10 August 2012

Krueger Lacks True Common Sense (and Balance)

Current mood: cynical

This was originally posted as a letter to the editor to The Albuquerque Journal on Monday, 30 July 2012.

In her “Up Front” column “Add Common Sense to Gun Law Arsenal” from 27 July, Joline Gutierrez Krueger attempts to stand atop the dead and injured of the Aurora movie shooting. The sad part is that in attempting just that, she stumbles from lack of balance – and common sense.

For example, she insinuates that higher crime rates in New Mexico are due to lenient gun laws (no supporting data was provided) – what does she say to those of us who say that the crime rate is due more to the something-for-nothing welfare state and Drug Prohibition?

What about Vermont, Alaska, Arizona and Wyoming, where people can carry concealed weapons without a permit? Why is it that crime rates per capita are lower in those states than in states with more restrictive gun laws?

She goes on to parrot a comment from Obama, who never understood the true purpose of the Second Amendment:

“I – like most Americans – believe that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual the right to bear arms . . . . But I also believe that a lot of gun owners would agree that AK-47s belong in the hands of soldiers and not in the hands of crooks. They belong on the battlefield of war, not on the streets of our cities.”

Remember that when Obama refers to guns “on the streets of our cities,” he’s really talking about the ones in your private possession. In the end, it doesn’t matter to him whether you’ve committed any sort of violent act or not.

When they wrote the Constitution and Bill of rights, both the Federalists and Anti-Federalists commented explicitly that they wanted the civilian population to have access to the military arms of the day. Back then, that was muzzle-loading flintlocks. Now it’s the Glock pistol, the AK-47, the M4 carbine, the MP-5 subgun and the MP7A1 PDW.

In much the same sense, the Founders never envisioned radio, television and the internet when they wrote the First Amendment, allegedly guaranteeing our rights to free speech and freedom of the press that Krueger uses for these columns. Should Krueger surrender her “assault keyboard” lest she write something that incites someone to commit a violent act? After all, the pen is mightier than the sword.

Finally, if Krueger’s point – “guns cause crime” – were true, then why don’t we hear about bloodbaths of the kind we saw in Aurora, at Fort Hood and Virginia Tech at gun shows and shooting ranges? Why don’t we see hunters killing each other over that perfect tree stand or duck blind?


Mike Blessing
State Chair, Libertarian Party of New Mexico
505-515-7015 / http://lpnm.us

Who owns you? Who runs your life? Who should – you or someone else?
Freedom is the answer – what’s the question?


NOTES

  1. Original article
  2. Reposted —
    1. Personal blogs – WordPress
    2. The Weekly SeditionWordPress

Copyright © 2012 Libertarian Party of New Mexico and Mike Blessing. All rights reserved.

Produced by KCUF Media, a division of Extropy Enterprises.
This blog entry created with gedit and Notepad++.

Friday, 26 March 2010

Random Commentary for 25 March 2010

Filed under: Random Shots — Tags: , , , — mikewb1971 @ 1:38 PM (13:38)

Today in history

Comments I’ve posted

  1. Posted as a comment on MyYearbook in response to a thread about banning firearms —–

    Even if they did pass such a law, consider:

    The United States has 12,000 miles of basically unpoliceable borders – cocaine, heroin, marijuana, etc., are smuggled in routinely.
    The United States probably has about a billion guns in private hands at the present.
    The United States has the world’s largest supply of precision machine tools.

    Regardless of the laws Congress passes, those who want guns will be able to steal, import or make them. Deal with it, Obama.


Copyright © 2010 Mike Blessing. All rights reserved.
Produced by KCUF Media, a division of Extropy Enterprises.
This blog entry created with Notepad++ and KWrite.

Sunday, 7 June 2009

Nukes and the Second Amendment

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — mikewb1971 @ 5:54 PM (17:54)

I’m sure that we’ve all heard it before when discussing the right to own and carry weapons (especially handguns) with hoplophobes and fence-sitters —

C’mon now, let’s be reasonable here — when they wrote the Second Amendment, they weren’t talking about nuclear weapons. Why would anyone want one of those?

FIRST, this argument is a way for the prosepctive hoplophobe to hook you, the advocate of an armed citizenry, over to his side. After all, who doesn’t want to be “reasonable,” right?

NOW for the purposes of discussion, let’s assume that my next-door neighbor actually has a fully-functional 20-kiloton fission device in his garage.

SECOND, if he doesn’t set it off, who is harmed? If he does decide to detonate, I won’t even know it if I’m home — the fireball will vaporize the nerves before the signal has time to register in the brain, and I’ll never feel it. And who will the survivors prosecute and/or sue? Certainly not him!

THIRD, I’d like to know who his investment broker is — nukes aren’t something you pick up at the flea market for Ø4.99, or at a gun show, despite Brady Campaign agitprop — they generally run a few million FRNs a pop on the black market, and that’s for the fully-assembled ones. If you can afford to blow that much cash on a one-use item like that, more power to you.

FOURTH, assuming he decided to go the DIY route to building his membership card in the Don’t Fuck With Me Club, it’s true that you can get the general theory and some of the specifics from the internet. Still, assembling the parts will be rather expensive — plutonium or yellowcake aren’t things that you pick up at Home Depot for pocket change — they’re in short supply, as they have peaceful uses in the power-generation field as well as being useful in making nuclear explosives. The deuterium and tritium used in fusion devices is likewise quite rare. Add to this the fact that there’s quite a bit of electronics and chemical explosives needed to make the thing work right, as well. Not only does the prospective protege to Dr. Khan need to acquire this stuff, but he also has to know how to handle the yellowcake or plutonium safely (from what I understand, it’s rather toxic stuff, chemically speaking, in addition to any radioactivity), as well as making the electronics and chemical explosives all WORK TOGETHER PROPERLY — you’ll need at least a bachelor’s degree in physics to make this happen — a masters is more likely. If the chemical explosives aren’t PRECISELY aligned and centered, they might still go off and vaporize the radioactive core, but you won’t get the fireball, flash, shock wave and distinctive mushroom cloud — and that’s what the Suburbian Mad Bomber wants, right?

FIFTH, even with just the “physics package” (the part that goes “BOOM!”), you’re looking at something at least the size of a basketball, if not a beach ball. And about the weight of a medium-sized anvil. This isn’t something that you’ll fit in your pocket or on your belt, like a handgun that the hoplophobe is trying to talk you out of carrying and owning.

FINALLY, who says that there are not PEACEFUL uses for nuclear explosives? We’ve had chemical explosives used for over a century for peaceful purposes in these fields —

  • mining
  • road-building
  • tunnel-building
  • demolition to remove old buildings, bridges, etc.

In fact, there HAVE been efforts to use nukes for peaceful purposes —


NOTES

  1. Micah 4:3 — And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.
  2. A FAR BETTER use of the name “Orion” than George Worthless’ attempt to rebuild the Apollo program — “Long live Nixon!” and all that.
  3. This article was, in part, inspired by an article in The Libertarian EnterpriseRadically Decentralized Defense, by L. Neil Smith
  4. Repostings— by me
    1. Round 1 — KCUF Media, New Mexico Liberty, Fringe Elements, Bureaucrash, and [lpnm-discuss]
    2. Round 2 — The Libertarian Enterprise

A Continent-Wide Switzerland?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — mikewb1971 @ 4:53 PM (16:53)

Reading this week’s edition of The Libertarian Enterprise, I took notice of an resurrected article by long-time friend L. Neil Smith

What he’s proposing in in his reposted article Radically Decentralized Defense is nothing morethan a continent-wide version of the Swiss Confederation, commonly known as Switzerland.

I don’t say this to disparage his article, but to support it by showing that YES there IS historical precedent on hand for his idea. In fact, I wholeheartedly endorse it, and further note that a significant number of America’s Founders would have supported it, as well.

An addition, though — current (OK, government-sponsored) laser research is expanding to levels you’re only hinting at in this article. At present, they’re working on truck-mountable units capable of shooting down artillery shells and mortar rounds in flight [1]. Where I say “working on,” I don’t mean developing the technology, I mean getting ready for field deployment. Add to that the fact that they’ve already deployed laser units (again, mounted on a truck) for use in destroying IEDs from a distance [2].

NOTES

  1. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tactical_high_energy_laser#Demonstrator
  2. defense-update.com/products/t/thor-IED.htm

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Removing military weapons from civilian hands (Original version)

Filed under: Philosophy, Politics, Principles, Self-Defense — Tags: , , , , , , — mikewb1971 @ 12:39 AM (00:39)

Current mood: accomplished

I’ve been looking for this version of the following document for a while — there’s a few lines of text that have been changed from it in subsequent versions, such as the one I posted previously. This one is as close to the original that I discovered and reposted back in 2000, complete with the occasional errors in the HTML coding (look for the fractions at certain points of the text).

I found this little gem of an article at the Federation of American Scientists’ site — http://www.fas.org/asmp/campaigns/smallarms/discus-1.htm. For what it’s worth, don’t look to the FAS to defend the right to keep and bear arms, either.

My previous comments stand today just as much today as during the Bush Administration when I first posted this little gem of hoplophobia to various gun-related message boards and Yahoo! lists. If not moreso, considering The Barack‘s desires for more and more victim disarmament — there’s HR 45 and his stated desire to renew the 1994 “assault weapon” ban, as well as his plan to sign and ratify and the CIFTA Treaty. Add to that Jackboot Janet II (Napolitano [1])’s reports about “right-wing extremists” and Rahm Emanuel’s suggestion to bar anyone on the “no-fly” list from owning firearms.

Here’s the line from the first version I found that went missing from following versions —

Such weapons distort societies, they make it increasingly difficult for a society to rebuild itself following a period of bloody conflict, they make it harder for the State to regain the legitimate monopoly of force, they enhance the capabilities of criminals, thus compromising the effectiveness of police forces and encouraging law-abiding civilians to arm themselves for protection, they lower the threshold for violence and they are very easy for children to obtain and use.
[Emphasis mine — see here for where that line pops up in the actual text.]

And that’s what it’s alll about for a lot of these folks — gaining (or regaining) and retaining that “legitimate monopoly of force.” Think about that phrase — “monopoly” means the following —

  1. A situation, by legal privilege or other agreement, in which solely one party (company, cartel etc.) exclusively provides a particular product or service, dominating that market and generally exerting powerful control over it.
  2. An exclusive control over the trade or production of a commodity or service through exclusive possession.
  3. The privilege granting the exlusive right to exert such control

Meaning, if you aren’t in the club that’s been granted that monopoly, you’ll have limited access at best to the commodity in question.

Since the “commodity” I’m talking about here is the use of physical force for self-defense, well, that physical force is what they want a monopoly over.

Does it matter to them if you need an AK-47 to protect your family from roving bandits, as many do in sub-Saharan Africa? Not in the slightest, and all in the name of “protecting” you from those same criminals.

Why does it not concern them if you are killed by criminals, so long as you remain unarmed?

How else are they going to use you for their purposes as a lab rat or production unit? If you’re armed, you might pose a threat when they show up at your front door, ready to put you to work, seize your assets, or enroll you in their latest social-engineering scheme.

Removing military weapons from civilian hands

A draft discussion paper circulated for comment

Christophe Carle and Patricia Lewis
UNIDIR Geneva August 2000
We look forward to receiving your comments (plewis@unog.ch and ccarle@unog.ch).

Over the recent months, a momentum has begun to build around the idea of focusing a world-wide campaign against the prime types of weapons that are killing and maiming people in conflict and post-conflict regions.

This embryonic campaign, now a collaboration between governments, NGOs and IGOs, is exciting because it stems more from the humanitarian action and health communities than it does from the disarmament sector. The focus of the campaign is on what is needed rather than what is thought to be politically possible.

We have written this discussion paper in order to assist and the growing debate on military-style weapons. There is a strong urgency associated with this process. While we dither people are dying and being in injured in large numbers. Societies are being destroyed and futures are being ruined. We realise that a serious campaign could well use the 2001 small arms conference as its springboard and urge that action is taken before then to ensure maximum support for this process.

This draft paper is intended for researchers and policy-formers working in the fields of conflict prevention resolution, humanitarian aid, refugee aid, emergency health, disaster prevention, development, post-conflict building, arms control and so on. We hope that it will stimulate discussion and we would like feedback before 31 October 2000. Please feel free to circulate this paper on an informal basis, but please do not cite it in its draft form or quote from it as it now stands. We think it likely that the paper will be extensively modified before it is published and we look forward to receiving your comments (plewis@unog.ch and ccarle @unog.ch).


The problem

Of all of the small arms that are killing and maiming people throughout the world, military and military-style automatic weapons are as terrible as landmines in their devastating effects. Like landmines, their destructive power far outlasts the conflicts they were originally designed to fight.

These weapons are made for war. They have been designed to be used by trained military personnel. However they have spread well beyond their intended clientele, into the hands of the illicit arms traders. Their abundance and firepower can exacerbate violent conflict, prolong the fighting, increase the participation of civilians and make conflict resolution even more difficult.

This is a humanitarian issue of the first order. Bringing to bear a humanitarian/human rights focus on the small arms efforts in the international arena ¾ and thus concentrating on the spread, use and individual solutions to the problem of military style weapons in civilian hands ¾ may succeed in removing one of the most deadly threats to people in the world today.

The legacy of military style weapons is seen on the streets of countries in Africa, Latin America, South Asia, Central Asia, Europe, the Middle East and South East Asia where they can prolong conflicts, and propagate the interests of organized and opportunistic criminals. In other regions, such as North America, Western Europe or Oceania, their widespread availability has landed them onto the streets of cities to serve the purposes of organized crime and the drug barons. In some cases they have found their way into the hands of unstable individuals with tragic consequences. They have played a central role in destabilising civil law and order where its grip is often tenuous.

They are used in small and large-scale conflicts throughout the world.  They include arms such as Kalashnikovs, G-3s, M-16s and FN FALs.  What makes them so dangerous is that they are highly destructive, with a rapid rate of fire, powerful, easy to use, inexpensive and in abundance. For example, it is estimated that more than 70 million assault rifles have been produced since World War II and used in well over 90 countries

Their ease of use and widespread availability makes it more likely that civilians will be drawn into war-fighting. This is particularly true for young people because these weapons require very little skill and training to use and their small size means that they can be carried and used even by children.

Following a conflict, a number of paths lie open to the spread of civilian-held military-style weapons:

  • They can be sold and transferred on to other conflict regions;
  • They can be kept by the civilians and used for protection in the absence of state controlled law and order;
  • They can be sold to the criminal fraternity in the region;
  • Their possession and use can make ex-combatants into criminals;
  • They can be collected and destroyed (along with constraints placed on importing other weapons into the region).

Such weapons distort societies, they make it increasingly difficult for a society to rebuild itself following a period of bloody conflict, they make it harder for the State to regain the legitimate monopoly of force, they enhance the capabilities of criminals, thus compromising the effectiveness of police forces and encouraging law-abiding civilians to arm themselves for protection, they lower the threshold for violence and they are very easy for children to obtain and use.

Military-style weapons are a threat to people in war-ravaged societies. When they remain in the hands of ex-combatants following a conflict they continue to keep the violence-threshold low and increase the likelihood of a return to full-scale violence, thus perpetuating conflicts.

Not only do these weapons find their way into conflict zones and into the hands of civilian combatants, but they also turn up in weak or failed states, in states with permissive legislation (where they can be legally-held) or poorly-enforced legislation and in states with paramilitary forces, terrorist groups and uncontrolled reserve militia.

The presence of military-style weapons in the hands of civilians not only has an impact in terms of the direct humanitarian effects (deaths, terrible injuries, long-term disabilities and so on) but this situation can severely undermine the delivery of humanitarian assistance in conflict zones and in refugee camps by compromising the security of personnel who are working in vital humanitarian assistance.

They are transferred through both licit and illicit means, through brokers, through the illegal sale of legal military equipment by the armed forces, police and corrupt officials.  Once in the illegal market they can be bought at very low prices or they are stolen ¾ such crimes going unreported. Primarily, they are bought or stolen because of a perceived need – a need to fight or protect, a need to gain status, provide food and security, a need to dominate in the face of scarce resources.

Solutions

This is such a complex and widespread problem that there is no one solution or approach. There have to be regional, subregional, national, unilateral, multilateral, bilateral, global approaches working in tandem in the hope of making some dent in the problem.

It has to be acknowledged at the outset that none of these approaches can be fool-proof or leak-proof. Most solutions to these problems can only be significant in the long run, and success will vary according to context, but fewer people will die, fewer people will be maimed and, where conflict-prevention fails, societies will more easily rebuild themselves after violent conflicts.

1. Banning sales to non-State actors?

One solution would be to have national, international and regional agreements or codes-of-conduct on selling military weapons to regular armed forces only.

The big problem with this idea is that there are sometimes strong reasons for non-state actors to require such weapons in order, for example, to overthrow an illegitimate, cruel and corrupt government when non-violent means have been exhausted etc.  In addition, there are many concerns as to who would impose such bans and who would monitor them.

There are arguments, however, that such concerns are over-emphasised. Certainly, with a handful of significant exceptions, violent overthrows of corrupt regimes often end up with equally corrupt and inhumane successor regimes. Non-violent pressure is often far more successful in achieving the long-term progress of a country than armed struggle. In addition, the atrocities committed by paramilitaries, particularly those that have recruited children as combatants, have been so horrific that curbs on sales of military weapons to non-state actors may have to be considered as one of the approaches to be taken, with some provision for an exemption clause depending on agreement within the international community.

2. Breaking the chain

Destroying surplus weapons and stockpile management

Dealing with surplus weapons has two main aspects. The first is for governments to destroy weapons deemed obsolete or in excess to national needs, rather than sell them. This may not always be easy, particularly in countries in which governments themselves do not keep precise accounts of their own inventories or in countries where sales or surplus weapons are used to fund purchase of new weapons. Some countries may also lack the means for effective and environmentally friendly means of destroying surplus weapons and their associated ammunition. Both inventories and destruction techniques and equipment may sometimes require the provision of specialised assistance from states and companies (often the major arms manufacturers themselves) with more experience in these matters. This applies particularly to ammunition.  However, for the weapons themselves, simple destruction by crushing and burning by local factories and foundries may well suffice. Indeed, experience shows that the political process of obtaining agreement to begin a weapons-collection programme and the organization of the programme itself is the most difficult part. However, a weapons collection programme that doesn’t include a destruction phase, is vulnerable to becoming a focal point for the illicit redistribution of the weapons once collected.

The only way of ensuring that military small arms do not fall into the wrong hands is to make sure that they are securely held and accounted for by legitimate state authorities, and better still, that they are destroyed if and when the state no longer requires them. International or regional standards and regulations could be developed to assist in proper stockpile management. South Africa’s initiative to destroy its redundant stockpile of weapons, and the assistance provided by Norway to that end, are recent experiences from which lessons and inspiration should be derived in other national and regional settings.

The second aspect is more difficult. It would involve the mopping up of automatic weapons currently in the hands of civilians, as a prelude to their destruction. Cash for weapons is an option that raises well-known problems. Weapons for goods and services, in particular “weapons for development” seem more promising. Such an approach requires the collective approval of a community, individuals are not rewarded ¾ rather the village or region obtains something for the collective good. Those handing in the weapons are then seen as contributing to the community, whereas before they may have been seen as people bringing terror and crime into the area. This option presupposes an accurate identification of genuine and practical development needs in order to offer useful and attractive incentives for civilians to hand in their weapons and that these needs will contribute to genuinely permanent solutions. Above all, it also presupposes the ability of the State to provide adequate protection for civilians and for the development projects themselves.

National, regional and international attempts to increase transparency and to develop transnational systems for tracing military style weapons transfers, along with legal measures to prohibit civilian possession could be developed. Multilateral, bilateral and unilateral measures could all work in parallel on the different regional levels, depending on the requirements of the varying situations.

3. Brokering

Brokers trading in weapons, as they would in any other commodities, commonly act as legal and illegal purveyors of small arms to regions, countries and factions in conflict. Customers desperate for weapons can be expected to pay a premium for arms provided in this way. Such brokering is unregulated and difficult to trace because most countries lack legislation covering such activities by their own nationals, and because fake documentation (especially end-user certificates) is easily obtained from corruptible officials. Transactions typically involve several countries as transit points both for the weapons and for funds, without the weapons transiting through the country from which the broker operates.

Adequate national legislation should require the registration and licensing of brokers, whether operating from their own country or from abroad. This will require international cooperation and information exchange.  They should be held responsible for any unlicensed activity, or for contravening export-control laws and international embargoes. Such strictures should apply equally to brokering in weapons and in ammunition. The development of an international agreement to increase transparency and to regulate the activities of arms brokers, agents and transport companies, could be seriously considered – ¾ including the concerns over the use of brokers by governments in order to cover-up illegal sales.

4. Ammunition control

The 7.62 or 5.56 calibre ammunition for military-style automatic rifles is widely produced and traded. In conflict situations, it is used in large quantities. Regulating its supply from both domestic and foreign suppliers could therefore assist in reducing the incidence of violence and the duration and destructiveness of conflicts. Where weapons are widespread and offer no immediate hope for successful mopping up, and where combatants require resupplies in ammunition, restricting ammunition supplies can be the only significant option. Reducing the ease with which ammunition can be acquired can also make it less attractive for former combatants and civilians to retain their weapons in post-conflict situations. As with the weapons themselves, legal governmental stockpiles of ammunition need to be properly managed and accounted for so as to increase the legitimate control of stocks. Ammunition stocks need to be regularly monitored and surplus and obsolete along with unusable and unstable stocks need to be destroyed rather then sold off.

5. Civil society campaign

One of the great difficulties with the debates around controlling small arms and light weapons is the large numbers of legal, about-to-become-illegal and illegal weapons in circulation and the complexities involved that are raised by increased availability ¾ not least of which is the often understandable need for such weapons in a number of situations.  This has made it easy for opponents of small arms control in any form to knock down initiatives and ideas as quickly as they spring up.  It has also meant that it has been hard to find a collective focus for a civil society-based campaign on the issue, with NGOs working on a myriad of scattered initiatives, and often seeming to be running around in circles.

In addition, it has proved extraordinarily difficult to gather reliable data on the types and quantities of small arms that are in existence and that are doing the damage.

However, both from quantitative research and strong anecdotal evidence, there is clearly a major problem with military weapons in the hands of civilians as outlined above.

If a concerted campaign were to be formed to remove such weapons from civilian hands this would have a number of distinct advantages:

  • It would strike to the heart of the humanitarian problem — their removal and control would have a significant impact on the numbers of killing and maiming during and post conflicts;
  • It would provide a clear focus and sense of purpose for NGOs and governments alike;
  • It would be hard for the anti-control lobby to argue against such an initiative — after all who could easily justify the right for civilians to bear arms built for military purposes and thus argue taking automatic and semi-automatic weapons off the streets of cities and out of schools;
  • The public is likely to readily understand and support such a campaign in both developed and developing countries;
  • It might be easier to gain cross-country support and assist like-minded (and interested parties) initiatives;
  • It might be easier to implement both nationally and sub-regionally with support at the international level than attempts to control a much wider cross-section of weapons.
  • International cooperation both at the regional and global level will be required
  • Civil society organizations could develop an education and awareness campaign for preventing the spread of military style weapons and for the collection and destruction of those in circulation.

Conclusion

The time seems to be ripe for a different approach to small arms control. This approach should be focused on the weapons that are doing most harm to people and their security. Efforts in small arms control, such as marking, tracking, ammunition control, production control could all form part of this approach, but only as part of a bigger whole, driven by humanitarian needs. Such efforts then would no longer be perceived as tinkering at the edges of the problem, rather their efficacy could be determined in the light of the larger goal. Tackling civilian-held, military-style weapons may provide an approach that could strike to the heart of the problem, obtain global and regional support, provide a focus for governmental and non-governmental action and achieve lasting good.

http://www.unog.ch/unidir/
Last updated: 21 September 2000


NOTES

  1. Janet Reno was the first, considering that she was on board with the 19 April 1993 FBI / Delta assault andmassacre at Waco, Texas — all in the name of “protecting the children.” Good job her people did, “protecting” those 27 kids by choking them with CS gas, then machinegunning them behind the building (where the press was blocked from viewing) as they tried to escape.

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Quote of the Day, 22 April 2009

Filed under: Politics, Quote of the Day, Self-Defense — Tags: , , , , — mikewb1971 @ 8:58 PM (20:58)

Current mood: content

“That the people and the States should, for a sufficient period of time, elect an uninterrupted succession of men ready to betray both; that the traitors should, throughout this period, uniformly and systematically pursue some fixed plan for the extension of the military establishment; that the governments and the people of the States should silently and patiently behold the gathering storm and continue to supply the materials until it should be prepared to burst on their own heads must appear to everyone more like the incoherent dreams of a delirious jealousy, or the misjudged exaggerations of a counterfeit zeal, than like the sober apprehensions of genuine patriotism. Extravagant as the supposition is, let it, however, be made. Let a regular army, fully equal to the resources of the country, be formed; and let it be entirely at the devotion of the federal government: still it would not be going too far to say that the State governments with the people on their side would be able to repel the danger . . . . This proportion would not yield, in the United States, an army of more than twenty-five or thirty thousand men. To these would be opposed a militia amounting to near half a million of citizens with arms in their hands . . . . It may well be doubted whether a militia thus circumstanced could ever be conquered by such a proportion of regular troops. . . . Besides the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation, the existence of subordinate governments . . . forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition, more insurmountable than any which a simple government of any form can admit of. Notwithstanding the military establishments in the severl kingdoms of Europe, which are carried as far as the public resources will bear, the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms. . . . Let us not insult the free and gallant citizens of America with the suspicion that they would be less able to defend the rights of which they would be in actual possession than the debased subjects of arbitrary power would be to rescue theirs from the hands of their oppressors. Let us rather no longer insult them with the supposition that they can ever reduce themselves to the necessity of making the experiment by a blind and tame submission to the long train of insidious measures which must precede and produce it.”
James Madison, The Federalist No. 46


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