On March 23, President Obama nominated Harold Koh, former Dean of the Yale Law School, to be Legal Adviser at the U.S. Department of State. As Heritage U.S. Senate Relations Director Brian Darling writes in Human Events, “one of the many concerns [conservatives have] with Koh is his belief that international organizations should be empowered to regulate the Second Amendment right to own a firearm.”
Conservatives are concerned with the shift away from reliance on the Constitution as the final legal authority in the U.S. toward transnational jurisprudence favored by liberal activists. When Koh spoke at Fordham University School of Law in 2002, he advocated a U.N.-governed regime to require the U.S. “to submit information about their small arms production.” Koh believes that U.S. should “establish a national firearms control system and a register of manufacturers, traders, importers and exporters” of guns to comply with those international obligations.
Specifically, Koh is a supporter of the “Inter-American Convention Against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives, and Other Related Materials.” He argues that the Convention requires states “to standardize national laws,” that “the only meaningful mechanism to regulate illicit transfers is stronger domestic regulation,” and that “supply-side control measures within the United States” are essential. The administration has recently announced it will ask the Senate to ratify the Convention.
Conservatives have a deep concern that Koh’s ideas may become the law of the land through treaties or international agreements like the Convention. A national database of all firearm owners may be the only means to effectively trace guns consistent with Koh’s goal of “global gun control.” Read Koh’s speech for his argument on how to implement back door gun control in the face of a populace who believes that they have a Constitutional right to own a firearm.
The Heritage Foundation has crafted an excellent question to ask Harold Koh regarding the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms and Koh’s support for “global gun control”:
Do you believe the Second Amendment protects an individual right of ordinary Americans to keep and bear arms unrelated to militia service?