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PolitiFact.com | Tampa Bay Times
Sorting out the truth in politics

PolitiFact: U.N. is not trying to ban civilian gun ownership

EDITOR'S NOTE: This version of this story has been edited for length. Read the full version at PolitiFact.com.

The statement

A United Nations working group has "adopted a proposed agenda" to enable member nations to "disarm civilians within their borders."

Chain email

The ruling

A reader recently sent us a realistic-looking document from the United Nations with a pretty explosive claim — that the world body is moving forward with plans to help member nations disarm their civilian populations of "military grade," "concealable" and "hunting grade" firearms, and even "ammunition and components to manufacture ammunition."

Americans who support the right to bear arms have long expressed worry that the U.S. government is on the verge of taking away lawful citizens' guns, and that concern has only increased when a U.N. body is believed to play a supporting role.

The document sent to us by the reader would seem to be (pardon the expression) a smoking gun.

Superficially, the document has the trappings of officialdom — a blue U.N. logo at the top, along with the name of the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs, a real office. It's dated Aug. 5, 2013, and labeled "restricted." The headline reads "Disarmament Commission — Civilian Weapons Confiscation Study Group." And it's filled with believable bureaucratic jargon, such as creation of a "codification framework" and the need to undergo a "full review by the Office of the Secretary General."

Here's an excerpt:

The issue of military grade weaponry in the hands of civilians looms ever larger in the face of the global implementation of 22/Agenda 21 by member nations. In particular, the United States of America has an estimated 500 million weapons in the hands of its civilian population. This is not just a static problem, it is a massive dynamic problem for the process of confiscation as there will be those who refuse to surrender their firearms.

The conclusion of discussions by the CWCSG led to the adoption of a proposed agenda to begin the process for introducing to member nations a framework by which they can begin codification of national laws to disarm civilians within their borders through a graduated process.

The document is persuasive enough to have been picked up by pro-gun advocates on a few message boards and Facebook pages. But is it real?

When we checked with the United Nations, a spokesman declared it a fake.

"I checked the document number on our internal document system, and the reply I got back now was simply, 'There is no document matching your request,' " said Farhan Haq, associate spokesman for the secretary-general. "The document number (A/CN.11/L.72) doesn't conform to our standard system, in any case."

In addition, Haq said, "there is no such body as a 'Civilian Weapons Confiscation Study Group.' Nor does the United Nations involve itself in confiscating weapons from member states."

Finally, Haq said, "the use of blue ink, some of the type font and the scanner icon in the bottom right-hand corner are not found in real U.N. documents. So, in several different ways, this document is fake."

We rate the claim Pants on Fire.

PolitiFact: U.N. is not trying to ban civilian gun ownership 08/16/13 [Last modified: Saturday, August 17, 2013 5:40pm]
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