If one is afraid that a U.N. treaty will change the Const., then one should be afraid. Be very, very afraid. The rest of us know that the Const. can only be changed in 3 ways; A Constitutional Convention can be called (never happened), the Const. can be amended (not an easy process), or SCOTUS can re-interpret the document (judicial activism).
Please understand there is a judicial doctrine called "stare decisis" (Latin for "let the decision stand") which gives continuity to the law. It has been found useful several hundred years ago in the English courts. We thought it a good idea so we adopted it since it seems to work. Also understand that the Heller & McDonald decisions were acts of judicial activism, it changed 220+ years of const. understanding (& I'm good with that). Sometimes judical activism is a good thing.
There are presently 2 Justices on SCOTUS who are on record as saying they do not feel bound by precedent (will ignore the doctrine of stare decisis). Both are extreme right-wingers; Scalia & Thomas. Most SCOTUS Justices take their positions very seriously and don't like to make sweeping changes in the law. I'd imagine that even if a member of the right on SCOTUS were to be replaced with an uber-liberal tomorrow, that the Heller & McDonald decisions would still stand. The 2A may not get expanded, but I'd doubt they'd get over-turned. There simply wouldn't be 5 votes to do it. Justices often won't vote to overturn a law they disagree with so as to maintain continuity in the law.
I say the above as I believe it to be true. I've spent a few years studying the judicial history of SCOTUS decisions & the Const. I've read quite a few SCOTUS decisions in the process. I realize that a bit of in-depth knowledge of a subject is no match for those with an opinion based upon emotion/belief. Only the future knows for sure.
I've read through this thread again and I just don't see any expressions of fear that the UN ATT will change the Constitution. The fear most commonly expressed is that it will give pepole who have no love for guns or gun owners an excuse to further infringe our rights via disregard for, or unique interpretations of, the Constitution.
Some would argue that no new control control laws can be passed because the President lacks the votes, expecially in the House. Others have said that this is exactly the reason solutions our being sought outside our borders. Former Ambassdor to the United Nations, for example, said:
... after the treaty is approved and comes into force, you will find out that it has this implication or that implication and that it requires Congress to adopt legislation to restrict the ownership of firearms.
Bolton explains that “the administration knows that it cannot obtain this kind of legislation in purely a domestic context. They will use an international agreement to get domestically what they couldn’t get otherwise.
I'm not sure if Mr. Bolton has read the same opinions as you, but his experience as Ambassador cannot be questioned. I will grant that he might be wrong but, if wrong, we should then ask ourselves if a sitting president would be able to impose requirements contained in a treaty with no input from Congress, similar to President Obama's unilateral imposition of a requirement to regster long gun sales in the states bordering Mexico.
Looking at fact rather than conjecture, we know Mr. Obama cast some anti-gun votes while in the Senate. For example, SB2165, now known as the Hale Demar Law, passed on a vote of 38/20. Mr. Obama was one of the No votes initially and again during the vote to override the governor's veto.
Again, looking at fact, we know that law such as the so called Clinton Gun Ban can prevail without SCOTUS involvement and, freedom loving people might say, without regard to the Constitution. In fairness I will point out the the Clinton Gun Ban was a law whereby a definition of a class of firearms and firearrm accessories was concocted for the sole purpose of banning the sale of those items under Secrtery of State Hillary Clinton's husband. Ms. Clinton, however, was quite enamoured of the ban and she is the one responsible for currently barring M1 sales to collectors. I will also point out that many members of the President's poliital party continue to defend and, in some cases expand, these sorts of bans in places like Cook County and all of California. Circumstantial? Perhaps - but he chooses the people with whom he associates.
We also know that Attorney Genreal Eric Holder told Congress
"As President Obama indicated during the campaign, there are just a few gun-related changes that we would like to make, and among them would be to reinstitute the ban on the sale of assault weapons."
Since we can't read the text of the UN ATT, let's look factually at some of the wording contained in a treaty we can read - a treaty the President has proposed we ratify.
CIFTAreads, in part (with emphasis added):
"For the purposes of this Convention, the following definitions shall apply:
1. "Illicit manufacturing": the manufacture or assembly of firearms, ammunition, explosives, and other related materials:
a. from components or parts illicitly trafficked; or
b. without a license from a competent governmental authority of the State Party where the manufacture or assembly takes place; or
c. without marking the firearms that require marking at the time of manufacturing."
"1. States Parties that have not yet done so shall adopt the necessary legislative or other measures to establish as criminal offenses under their domestic law the illicit manufacturing of and trafficking in firearms, ammunition, explosives, and other related materials.
2. Subject to the respective constitutional principles and basic concepts of the legal systems of the States Parties, the criminal offenses established pursuant to the foregoing paragraph shall include participation in, association or conspiracy to commit, attempts to commit, and aiding, abetting, facilitating, and counseling the commission of said offenses."
1. States Parties undertake to confiscate or forfeit firearms, ammunition, explosives, and other related materials that have been illicitly manufactured or trafficked.
2. States Parties shall adopt the necessary measures to ensure that all firearms, ammunition, explosives, and other related materials seized, confiscated, or forfeited as the result of illicit manufacturing or trafficking do not fall into the hands of private individuals or businesses through auction, sale, or other disposal.
There is more, but even these brief quotes illustrate the implications for reloaders and persons wishing to buld a rifle.
Now, my question is three fold.
> If the President is in favor of ratifying this treaty with these provisions, why would he not be in favor of similar provosions in ATT?
> The wording "subject to the respective constituional principles..." will be interpreted and enforced by who's standards?
> If the standard is by the Heller decision, then will that standard be the interpretation so strongly promoted by members of the President's own party - that of possession of a hand gun only within one's home?
Bel, you and I disagree on most things but we always manage to respect each other. That will not change here.
I don't know how you reconcile some of these actions with respect for the Second Amendment but I will do my best to accept that you do. I, however, will continue to see these actions as reason for scepticism which I believe to part of a healty political system.
Edited by mauserme, 15 July 2012 - 10:36 AM.