This week, Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) sent a letter signed by himself and 12 of his Democratic colleagues in the Senate stating their firm opposition to any U.N. Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) that included civilian firearms. (Read the letter here.)
The letter, sent to President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton, states, “First and foremost, the Arms Trade Treaty must not in any way regulate the domestic manufacture, possession or sales of firearms or ammunition.”
That clear sentiment was bolstered by the declaration of support for the individual right to bear arms. “Firearms possession is an individual right guaranteed by the Second Amendment and that cannot be subordinated, directly or indirectly, by any international treaty.”
The signatories made it clear that they would not support any treaty that does not respect the fundamental rights of Americans.
“As members of the United States Senate, it is our constitutional responsibility to advise and consent on the ratification of the United Nations' Arms Trade Treaty. Before we could support ratification, we must have assurances that our concerns are adequately addressed and that the Treaty will not in any way impede upon the Constitutional rights of American gun owners. Anything short of this commitment would be unacceptable.”
This letter, combined with a similar letter sent last week by Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Ka.), brings the total number of U.S. Senators who have expressed solid opposition to any U.N ATT that includes civilian arms to 58. The message is unmistakable: the ATT is dead on arrival in the United States Senate if it includes civilian arms, as treaty supporters seem determined to do.
These two letters have been sent just days after NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre addressed delegates at the United Nations, where he spoke for American gun owners, saying, “It is regrettable that proposals affecting civilian firearms ownership are woven throughout the proposed ATT. That being the case, however, there is only one solution to this problem: the complete removal of civilian firearms from the scope of any ATT. I will repeat that point as it is critical and not subject to negotiation - civilian firearms must not be part of any ATT. On this there can be no compromise, as American gun owners will never surrender their Second Amendment freedom.”
NRA has been actively working to protect the Second Amendment rights of American gun owners at the U.N. for nearly 20 years. That effort will continue, because, as EVP LaPierre stated, “NRA will fight with all of its strength to oppose any ATT that includes civilian firearms within its scope.”