01 Sep 2006

UN Report Mandates Gun Control, Denies Right to Self Defense

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According to Special Rapporteur Barbara A. Frey (an ultra-liberal law professor at the University of Minnesota with a conspicuous feminist grievances bee in her bonnet), there is a human rights obligation requiring Gun Control, but no individual right to self defense.

Frey was given the assignment by the UN of preparing a comprehensive study on the “Human Rights Issue” of the “prevention of human rights violations committed with small arms and light weapons.”

The key portions of Frey’s Final Report state:

Article 2, paragraph 1, of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights imposes positive obligations upon States parties to prevent acts by private persons that impair fundamental rights, including the right to life.

Minimum effective measures that States must adopt to comply with their due diligence obligations to prevent small arms violence must go beyond mere criminalization of acts of armed violence. States must also enforce a minimum licensing requirement designed to keep small arms out of the hands of persons who are most likely to misuse them. Other effective measures should also be enforced to protect the right to life, as suggested by the draft principles on the prevention of human rights violations committed with small arms that have been proposed by the Special Rapporteur.

Self-defence as an exemption to criminal responsibility, not a human right.

The measures which “core human rights obligations” require include:

a) The prohibition of civilian possession of weapons designed for military use (automatic and semi-automatic assault rifles, machine guns and light weapons);

(b) Organization and promotion of amnesties to encourage the retiring of weapons from active use;

(c) Requirement of marking and tracing information by manufacturers;

(d) Incorporation of a gender perspective in public awareness efforts to ensure that the special needs and human rights of women and children are met, especially in post-conflict situations.

Frey’s claim that “No international human right of self-defence is expressly set forth in the primary sources of international law: treaties, customary law, or general principles” fails to treat the entire history of Western philosophy and legal theory as a “primary source of international law.”

No man is supposed, at the making of a commonwealth, to have abandoned the defense of his life and his limbs, where the law cannot arrive time enough to his assistance.

–Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan, XXVII, 1651.

Self-defense is nature’s oldest law.

–John Dryden, Absalom and Achitophel, I, 1682.

No man was ever yet so void of sense
As to debate the right of self-defense.

–Daniel Defoe, The True-Born Englishman, II, 1701.

But female law professors, well….

Hat tips to David Hardy, Glenn Reynolds, Richard Samuelson.


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