(PolitiFact) -- 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 the full text:
"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.
"Within the discussion framework, we have identified several problem areas that must be addressed, they are:
"1. Classification of military grade weapons to be made illegal for possession.
"2. Creation of programs to provide reasonable compensation for voluntary surrender of said arms.
"3. Codification of laws to begin the restricting and strict licensing of concealable firearms.
"4. Codification of laws to begin the restricting and strict licensing of hunting grade firearms.
"5. Codification of laws to restrict the sale of, and possession of ammunition and components to manufacture ammunition.
"6. Finally, codification of laws to completely makes (sic) any and all firearms illegal to own, possess or use outside of military and law enforcement usage.
"7. Creation of a United Nations Police Taskforce with the specific mission of assisting member nations with the collection of weaponry from civilian hands.
"The CWCSG will submit its findings and final recommendations once we have created the codification framework for member nations for a full review by the Office of the Secretary General."
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 spokesperson 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."
A document found on the Internet and circulating via email and social media says that a United Nations working group has "adopted a proposed agenda" to enable member nations to "disarm civilians within their borders." If the document were real, it would confirm the worst fears of those who fear a mass confiscation of handguns, hunting rifles and ammunition in the U.S. -- but a United Nations spokesman cited several reasons for concluding that the document is a fake, including the fact that the study group referenced in the document does not exist. We rate the document Pants on Fire.