The United Nations declared the week of May 10-16 to be the “Global Week of Action against Gun Violence.”
According to the UN, guns destroy personal freedom:
Governments have a responsibility to ensure public safety, and a vested interest in providing human security and an environment conducive to development to their citizens. However, the excessive accumulation and universal availability of small arms negatively impact on security, human rights and social and economic development in many parts of the world.
The UN seeks a “comprehensive, legally binding instrument establishing common international standards for the import, export and transfer of conventional arms.”
Last October, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton declared the Obama administration’s support for the United Nations plan to regulate “convention arms transfers.” Brady-endorsed Congresswoman Ellen Tauscher (D, CA-10) was chosen as under secretary for arms control and international security in the State Department.
Fortunately, sufficient data exists among UN non-governmental organizations to determine if civilian firearms ownership will “negatively impact on security, human rights and social and economic development.”
The Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva, Switzerland, publishes an annual report entitled “Small Arms Survey.” This organization doesn’t support civilian firearms ownership. Its mission page illustrates its agreement with the UN’s goals:
The proliferation of small arms and light weapons represents a grave threat to human security. The unchecked spread of these weapons has exacerbated inter- and intra-state conflicts, contributed to human rights violations, undermined political and economic development, destabilized communities, and devastated the lives of millions of people.
The 2003-2005 and 2007 editions of “Small Arms Survey” contain estimates of civilian firearms ownership rates in 59 surveyed countries.
Freedom House, founded in 1941 by Eleanor Roosevelt and others “concerned with the mounting threats to peace and democracy,” is a leading international advocate for personal liberty. Their annual report, “Freedom in the World,” rates each country’s level of individual political rights and civil liberties, defined as follows:
Political rights enable people to participate freely in the political process, including the right to vote freely for distinct alternatives in legitimate elections, compete for public office, join political parties and organizations, and elect representatives who have a decisive impact on public policies and are accountable to the electorate. Civil liberties allow for the freedoms of expression and belief, associational and organizational rights, rule of law, and personal autonomy without interference from the state.
Freedom House rates countries on a scale of 1 to 7 for each category, with 1 equating with the most rights. Countries are “Free” if they attain an average score of 1 to 2.5 (for both political and civil rights). Countries averaging between 2.5 and 5 are “Partly Free;” countries over 5 are “Not Free.”
The chart below collates countries’ average political and civil rights ratings with their level of civilian firearms ownership. The overall trend line shows the general correlation between firearms ownership and freedom. As civilian firearms ownership increases, freedom ratings decrease: more guns, more political and civil rights.
According to UN rhetoric, as firearms ownership increases, people should be less free: the trend line should slope up as it travels from left to right.
The Heritage Foundation is America’s “most broadly supported public policy research institute,” promoting “public policies based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong national defense.”
Each year, the Heritage Foundation publishes the “Economic Freedom Index,” which analyzes ten economic variables for each country. The Heritage Foundation defines economic freedom as:
[I]ndividuals are free to work, produce, consume, and invest in any way they please, and that freedom is both protected by the state and unconstrained by the state.
The Heritage Foundation rates countries by the following grading scale: Economically “Free” countries have an overall score of 80-100; “Mostly Free” between 70 and 79.9; “Moderately Free” between 60 and 69.9, “Mostly Unfree” between 50 and 59.9; and economically “Repressed” countries average an overall score under 50.
The Heritage Foundation explains the difference between economic freedom and repression:
All government action involves coercion. Some minimal coercion is necessary for the citizens of a community or nation to defend themselves, promote the evolution of civil society, and enjoy the fruits of their labor…
When government coercion rises beyond the minimal level, however, it becomes corrosive to freedom—and the first freedom affected is economic freedom.
The chart below collates countries’ economic freedom with civilian firearms ownership. The overall trend line shows that as civilians firearms ownership increases, people have more economic freedom: more guns, more prosperity.
According to the UN, “excessive accumulation and universal availability of small arms negatively impact … economic development.”
Transparency International is a “politically non-partisan” global organization “leading the fight against corruption.” They publish an annual report entitled “Corruption Perceptions Index,” which evaluates “the degree to which corruption is perceived to exist among public officials and politicians.”
The index “defines corruption as the abuse of public office for private gain.” The ideal government would score a 10: organized government corruption doesn’t exist; there’s no manipulation of political and economic processes for personal gain by bureaucrats or their families and associates.
The chart below collates countries’ corruption indices with civilian firearms ownership. The overall trend line shows that as civilians firearms ownership increases, governments are less corrupt: more guns, better-behaved government.
In the face of such facts, the UN’s agenda becomes obvious: By disarming civilians, governments will have free reign to abuse public office for private gain. Moreover, people won’t be able to do anything about it, because civilian disarmament also correlates with reduced political and civil rights. Disarmament also correlates with reduced economic freedom.
When added together, the result is feudalism, which historically is the most common socio-economic system, where the elite few control the vast majority of arms, power, and resources.
Instead of bowing to the UN’s global aspirations, we should share our hard-earned lessons of liberty with the rest of the world.
(The UN plans to take the next step on their arms treaty at the meeting planned for July 12-23, 2010.)
For more in-depth analysis of this topic, see “Is There a Relationship between Guns and Freedom? Comparative Results from 59 Nations,” co-authored with Professors David B. Kopel and Carl Moody.