In April 2016, rumors once again began to swirl that the United Nations planned to kill all Americans who refused to willingly surrender their guns. Readers spotted headlines stating as much on Facebook and Twitter, but were unable to learn more about the claim. The cause of the reader confusion was easily identified, because the headline was typically paired with a single sentence and a video, but no further information about the rumor:
On 13 April 2016, many social media users shared versions of the rumor posted to myriad blogs with nearly identical headlines:
No one quite seemed to be sure what the details of the purportedly imminent, bloody gun grab might be, but news of it was everywhere. Many links led to a February 2016 Patriot Crier article (“UN Troops Ordered To Kill All Americans Who Don’t Turn In Guns …”), but that post consisted only of the title, the image, and a video:
A virtually identical version was published to GOP The Daily Dose:
Most versions of this story use stock images of UN peacekeeping forces to suggest that a bloody disarmament was already underway, but the images were in no way related to any such initiative by the international body.
Both examples featured the same embedded video, and people who watched the clip probably didn’t click through to YouTube. If they had they done so, they would have seen that the 21-minute long broadcast was uploaded to in July 2012. The video itself was an accompaniment to a 16 July 2012 InfoWars piece, which at no point said or even hinted that the UN had imminent (or long-term) plans to kill all gun-owning Americans:
The UN Arms Trade Treaty that has been identified by observers as a flagrant threat to the second amendment and which Barack Obama is determined to sign has its roots in a 1961 State Department memorandum which explains how the United Nations will oversee “complete disarmament” of the American people under the ruse of preventing war.
The UN Arms Treaty has caused so much controversy because it outlines a plan to target “all types of conventional weapons, notably including small arms and light weapons,” according to Forbes’ Larry Bell.
Former US Ambassador to the UN John Bolton also warns that the agreement “is trying to act as though this is really just a treaty about international arms trade between nation states, but there is no doubt that the real agenda here is domestic firearms control.”
Using the rhetoric of the threat post by terrorists, insurgents and “international crime syndicates,” the UN is busy trying to imply that all weapons are somehow involved in illegal activity on a global scale and should therefore be controlled and regulated by a global authority … This is precisely the same language used in a 1961 U.S. State Department briefing which outlined a long term agenda to carry out a “Program for General and Complete Disarmament in a Peaceful World.”
Invoking the threat of nuclear warfare, the document spells out a plan to create a “United Nations Peace Force” that would “enforce the peace as the disarmament process proceeds.”
While the document initially focuses on scrapping nuclear weapons, it later makes it clear that the only groups allowed to own weapons of any kind would be governing authorities, “for the purpose of maintaining internal order,” and the UN “peacekeeping” force itself, which would require “agreed manpower.” … The UN Arms Trade Treaty presents an existential threat to the guns rights of American citizens and should be rejected for what it is – yet another attempt by the Obama administration, in the aftermath of the Fast and Furious scandal, to abolish the second amendment by stealth.
The 2012 item appeared to be a polemic against the UN’s Arms Trade Treaty, approved during an April 2012 UN vote. In the years since the rumor began circulating, no Americans were disarmed by UN troops, nor did the United States report attempts by the United Nations to confiscate their guns.