Undersecretary of State
John R. Bolton of Washington,
D. C. is the recipient of the
CCRKBA Gun Rights Defender
of the Month Award for September.
Bolton is undersecretary for
Arms Control and International
Security who stood up to the
United Nations for the Bush
Administration in July when
the UN tried to pass a sweeping
resolution that would have undermined
the Second Amendment.
In nominating Bolton for
the award, CCRKBA Public Affairs
Director John Michael Snyder
said he deserved the distinction
because “he had the
courage, forthrightness, and determination
to tell the United
Nations in New York City in
July that the American government
would not tolerate UN attempts
to undermine the Second
Amendment to the United
States Constitution.”
Selected by the Bush Administration
to present our
countryÂ’s position to the UN
Conference on Illicit Trade in
Small Arms and Light Weapons
in All its Aspects, Secretary Bolton
stated clearly that “the
United States will not join consensus
on a final document that
contains measures abrogating
the Constitutional right to bear
Before the Conference concluded
a couple of weeks later,
it had complied with BoltonÂ’s
request that “proposed restrictions
on the civilian possession
of arms… be eliminated from
the Program of Action,” and
that “provisions which purport to
require national regulation of the
lawful possession of firearmsÂ… be
modified to confine their reach to
illicit international activities.”
Prior to his diplomatic appointment
earlier this year, Bolton
spent several years in public service.
He has served as assistant
Secretary of State for International
Organization Affairs at the Department
of State, assistant Attorney
General, Department of Justice, assistant
administrator for Program
and Policy Coordination, U.S.
Agency for International Development
(AID), and General Counsel,
Bolton has worked in the law
firms of Lerner, Reed, Bolton &
McManus, and also Covington &
Under Secretary Bolton was
born in Baltimore, Maryland. He
graduated with a B.A., summa cum
laude, from Yale University and
received his J.D. from Yale Law
School. He married Gretchen
Brainerd. The couple has one child,
Jennifer Sarah.
In his July UN speech, Bolton
insisted that small arms and light
weapons are strictly military.
“We separate these military
arms from firearms such as hunting
rifles and pistols, which are
commonly owned and used by citizens
in many countries,” Bolton
stated. “As U.S. Attorney General
John Ashcroft has said: ‘just as the
First and Fourth Amendments secure
rights of speech and security
respectively, the Second Amendment
protects an individual right
to keep and bear arms.Â’ The
United States believes that the responsible
use of firearms is a legitimate
aspect of national life.”
He called attention to America
’s “cultural tradition of hunting
and sport shooting.” Because of
that, Bolton said, the Bush Administration
does not consider all
“small arms” to be the same, nor
do they all present a problem.
A few days after Bolton delivered
his speech, delegates to the
conference fell in line behind U.S.
demands, saying they would
rather have what they considered
a weak agreement that the
United States could support that
risk confrontation with the
worldÂ’s largest arms producer.
Delegates and advocacy
groups attending the conference
were aware of the U.S. “red
lines,” as they are termed in diplomatic
jargon, but, according to
The Washington Times, many
said they were jarred to hear
them so plainly enumerated.
“What a cowboy,” said one
Asian envoy.
Bolton shrugged off the criticism.
“I think clarity is a good
thing,” he told reporters.
Bolton told the conference
that the United States does “not
support measures that would
constrain legal trade and legal
manufacturing of small arms and
light weapons. The vast majority
of arms transfers in the world are
routine and not problematic.
Each member state of the United
Nations has the right to manufacture
and export arms for purposes
of national defense. Diversions
of the legal arms trade that
become ‘illicit’ are best dealt with
through effective export controls