April Fools: UN gun ban for old folks

US website Guns.com appears to have pulled off the best April Fool’s joke of 2013 with a story stating the UN wants worldwide disarmament of anyone over 55 years of age.

The story has gone viral on gun forums and other websites as outraged gun owners react to the UN ‘agenda’, which Guns.com said was part of the UN Arms Trade Treaty – an already controversial topic.

Guns.com said the UN had hinted at the policy, which was then confirmed by a spokesman for Amnesty International.

“Simply put, the UN believes guns don’t belong in the hands of the elderly,” the spokesman is reported to have said.

Guns.com included credible quotes from other supposedly credible sources, and had references to the Washington Post, but none are factual.

The most obvious clue to the April Fool ruse was in the bizarre suggestion put forward by a Dr Michael Betti “that seniors find other, non-violent and non-lethal options for self-defense” including “a cellular telephone with a large display, morphine injections, neon or glow-in-the-dark armbands, a mesh vest, a pith helmet with flashing headgear and a solar-powered radio”.

Thousands of people have not twigged to the subtlety of the joke and, as time goes on, a web search for the phrases in the story turns up increasing numbers of websites – usually gun-related – that are posting it.

Meanwhile, the UN is continuing to search for consensus on the Arms Trade Treaty during meetings in the US.

The 193 member nations did not settle it last week when Iran, North Korea and Syria refused to support the treaty, which aims to halt the illicit trade of weapons around the world.

However, another vote is expected to be taken tonight, Australian time, with the ATT’s supporters aiming for a simple majority vote, which they should easily achieve.

While the treaty purports to prevent military weapons falling into the hands of terrorists, dictators and others who may harm civilians and abuse human rights, it has been criticised for both not going far enough in its restrictions and going too far by potentially restricting legitimate sporting shooters from having access to firearms.

It was blocked last year when the US refused to approve it, but America is now backing the treaty after deciding it will not hurt the rights of civilian gun owners, nor hinder domestic gun ownership.

The National Rifle Association in the US disagrees with that view, though, and continues to oppose the ATT, but it can do nothing about it until such time as the US Senate legislates domestically in line with the treaty’s requirements.




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Mick Matheson

Mick grew up with guns and journalism, and has included both in his career. A life-long hunter, he has long-distant military experience and holds licence categories A, B and H. In the glory days of print media, he edited six national magazines in total, and has written about, photographed and filmed firearms and hunting for more than 15 years.