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Bill McCarthy
By Bill McCarthy July 10, 2018

Conservative website wrong on effects, purpose of UN conference

A conservative website falsely claimed that U.S. representatives to the United Nations promised to push for gun-control policies at home.

"US representatives promise implement of UN gun-control plans," said a July 5, 2018, headline from the Conservative Daily Post website. The report cited a similar story from the New American, a bimonthly magazine for "freedom-loving Americans" who support "limited government under the Constitution," according to its about page.

Facebook flagged this story as part of its efforts to combat false news and misinformation on Facebook’s News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)

This is not the first time we have encountered falsehoods concerning the U.N. and gun control. We previously looked at the claim that a U.N. treaty would mandate a "new international gun registry" and a chain email that wrongly accused the Obama administration of planning to use international treaties to ban all weapons.

As with these past statements, there is also a lot wrong with this new report about the U.N. conference.

The report said U.S. representatives attending the Third Review Conference for the June 2018 U.N. Program of Action on Small Arms and Light Weapons agreed "to begin developing ‘legal frameworks’ … that will enforce ‘proper management’ of ‘small arms and light weapons’ stockpiles."

The report went on to say, misleadingly, that the United States pledged to help the U.N. track and confiscate firearms, including stockpiles owned by private citizens.

"In other words, the United States government is expected to help push an absurdly anti-Second Amendment set of demands on the American people," the story said. "If they don’t push that set of rules upon the people swiftly enough, then the U.N. will decide if it wants to send armed peacekeepers to the nation or not. This agreement is wildly unconstitutional."

Citing six points spelled out in the "implementation at the national level" section of the conference’s outcome document, the story said the meeting resulted in the United States’ willing violation of Second and Tenth Amendment rights.

But the story erred in its understanding of the conference. In reality, the conference provided an opportunity for participating countries to review their progress and reaffirm a commitment made in 2001 to limit the illicit trade of small arms and light weapons.

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According to the website for the U.N. Office of Disarmament Affairs, the original meeting in 2001 saw governments agree "to improve national small arms laws, import/export controls, and stockpile management — and to engage in cooperation and assistance."

Nikki Haley, the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., attended this year's conference along with several advisers, according to the U.N.'s list of participants. The State Department and the U.N. Office for Disarmament Affairs did not respond to requests for comment on the role of U.S. representatives at the conference.

Caroline Dorminey, a policy analyst with the Cato Institute and an expert with the Forum on the Arms Trade, explained that the U.N. program focuses on the illegal flow of small arms and light weapons, meaning any subsequent measures enacted by the United States would not violate Second or Tenth Amendment rights.

"The purpose of the Third Review Conference is to make progress on stopping the illicit trade of small arms and light weapons," Dorminey wrote in an email. "The trade being targeted in particular is dispersion/diversion — especially across borders — that fuels black markets and conflict in unstable regions."

"Any measures enacted by the UN program would not infringe on Second or Tenth Amendment rights because they are inherently focused on illicit trade — not the legal trade within American borders that those amendments provide the basis for."

Conservative Daily Post did not respond to a request for comment submitted via its contact page.

Our ruling

A headline stated, "US representatives promise implement of UN gun-control plans."

The story said U.S. representatives at a U.N. conference pledged to adopt new gun-control measures that would threaten Second and Tenth Amendment rights.

U.S. representatives at the conference did reaffirm the nation’s agreement in 2001 to work toward limiting the illicit international trade of small arms and light weapons. But the United States’ continued participation in such an agreement should have no effect on its citizens’ constitutional rights, given the focus on illegal actions in global trade.

We rate this statement Mostly False.

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Mostly False
"US representatives promise implement of UN gun-control plans"
in a blog
Thursday, July 5, 2018

Our Sources

Conservative Daily Post, "US Representatives Promise Implement Of UN Gun-Control Plans," July 5, 2018

The New American, "U.S. Promises a ‘Full Implementation’ of UN Gun-control Agreement," July 2, 2018

United Nations General Assembly, Third United Nations Conference to Review Progress Made in the Implementation of the Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects, Draft Outcome Document, June 29, 2018

United Nations Office of Disarmament Affairs, "Programme of Action on small arms and its International Tracing Instrument," accessed July 6, 2018

United Nations Programme of Action Implementation Support System, accessed July 6, 2018

Email interview with Caroline Dorminey, policy analyst in defense and foreign policy studies at the CATO Institute, July 6, 2018

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Conservative website wrong on effects, purpose of UN conference

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