Canada’s National Firearms Association was the only Canadian pro-firearms group represented during the non-governmental organization presentations at the Second Review Conference of the Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons. (PoA)
According to NFA President Sheldon Clare, “It was important for the NFA to be present at this conference for four main reasons. First, the PoA is alive and potentially dangerous – this was a well-attended conference and vigilance is critical. Second, it was necessary for us to make sure that there was no attempt to make this the Arms Trade Treaty consolation round, or in any way broaden the scope of the PoA. Third, we needed to make our concerns known about the aims of some to include firearms components and ammunition, and to make it clear that we are speaking out strongly in support of civilian rights of self-defense – the only Canadian organization to do so. The fourth reason we were there was to use our strong voice to support our friends.”
According to Clare, “The government seems to be headed in the right direction. I was pleased to hear the concise and clear presentation by Senior Policy Advisor Kim Joslin of the Canadian Delegation which was in strong support of firearms owners. In particular, Canada supported the US position which opposes including any aspect of components or ammunition being included in the PoA.
Government representatives Habib Massoud and Steve Torino will be attending the second week of the conference. It was clear to me in listening to the speeches from delegates that it will be difficult to achieve consensus on several aspects of the PoA‘s implementation plan in the two weeks allotted.”
The NFA and other World Forum (WFSA) members, presented to the UN Conference during the NGO session on Wednesday, August 29 and the text of the speech given by NFA President Sheldon Clare is reproduced below:
NATIONAL FIREARMS ASSOCIATION STATEMENT TO UNITED NATIONS ON PROGRAMME OF ACTION ON SMALL ARMSS and LIGHT WEAPONS
Madame President, I am Sheldon Clare, President of Canada’s National Firearms Association.
The NFA is Canada’s largest advocacy organization representing the rights of Canadian firearms owners. Our members are concerned that UN attempts to regulate small arms and light weapons are misdirected and will have an unjustifiably harmful effect upon the ability of free people to have access to firearms and ammunition for perfectly legitimate purposes. The NFA rejects as false that civilian access to small arms is the problem.
Canada’s National Firearms Association (NFA) recommends that controls on small arms and light weapons be limited solely to major crew-served weapon systems possessed or sold by nation states – not individually operated firearms owned or desired to be owned by civilians, also called non-state actors. The rights and property of Canadians, and our firearms businesses engaged in the lawful trade in firearms and ammunition, including surplus firearms and ammunition, must not be subject to UN edict or control. Quite simply, firearms ownership and use are matters of national sovereignty, civil freedoms, property rights, and are related to national culture. Also, control of ammunition, including marking beyond caliber, date, and manufacturer would be excessive; it is unreasonable, unnecessary, and fiscally impossible to uniquely mark ammunition.
Small arms in civilian hands allow people to defend themselves from aggression. Self-defense is a natural right of all individuals. This is especially important in the event of unrest and disorder, or in case of state-mandated crimes against humanity. Civilian ownership of arms is an important factor in preventing and limiting the effect of government-encouraged murders such as what occurred in Srebrenica and Rwanda. Disarmed in Srebrenica by UN peacekeepers and in Rwanda by their own government, these people were helpless in the face of organized aggression, especially when in both cases the UN was powerless to provide protection. While governments need to act against terrorism, disarming civilians violates fundamental democratic principles. Perhaps Governments should deal with unrest by addressing the economic situations, political differences, and human rights issues that contribute to people agitating for change rather than engaging in one size fits all solutions affecting the rights of free people to own and use firearms.
Thank you for your consideration Madame President.”
Clare concluded: “Other matters to be watchful of are the UN International Small Arms Control Standards, (see http://www.smallarmsstandards.org/isacs/) and what happens with the Arms Trade Treaty talks (ATT) which broke up without consensus in July. There will need to be a vote at the General Assembly if it is to come back next year, which may not be possible due to the UN’s two year budgetary cycle. Simply put, there may not be much support to reopen the ATT so soon in the face of no consensus. Nonetheless, strange things happen at the UN and the NFA has been present to protect the civil and property rights of Canadian Firearms Owners.”