By now, every gun owner concerned about the future of our right to keep and bear arms is aware that the international gun eradication movement has been working for more than a decade to achieve a U.N. Arms Trade Treaty that would cover not only tanks, helicopters, and other heavy weapons, but also rifles, shotguns and handguns.
As called for by a resolution adopted by the U.N. General Assembly in 2009, a conference will be held in July 2012, in New York City, to draft the treaty's language. On a parallel track, the ridiculously named Preparatory Committee for the United Nations Conference to Review Progress Made in the Implementation of the Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects--held its most recent Preparatory Conference in New York earlier this year.
NRA has tracked the Programme and the Arms Trade Treaty process since their inceptions, with NRA's Institute for Legislative Action even acquiring "non-governmental organization" status to give it greater ability to monitor the progress and direction of these insidious efforts.
In March of this year, U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kans.) introduced legislation to prevent any arms treaty from infringing the right to keep and bear arms in the United States. The "Second Amendment Sovereignty Act," S. 2205, would prohibit the administration from using "the voice, vote, and influence of the United States, in connection with negotiations for a United Nations Arms Trade Treaty, to restrict in any way the rights of United States citizens under the second amendment to the Constitution of the United States, or to otherwise regulate domestic manufacture, assembly, possession, use, transfer, or purchase of firearms, ammunition, or related items, including small arms, light weapons, or related materials."
Last year, Sen. Moran and 57 other senators signed a letter to President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reminding them that the Senate has final say on treaties, and stating their unequivocal opposition to any treaty that would affect civilian ownership of firearms, challenge the authority of Congress to regulate firearms within the United States, or call for an international gun registry.
This week, Sen. Moran spoke to his colleagues in the Senate about S. 2205, saying:
"More than two centuries ago, our founding fathers wisely amended the United States Constitution to guarantee a Bill of Rights for its citizens. Since then, our democracy has stood strong as Americans have enjoyed liberties unparalleled in the world – including the fundamental right to keep and bear arms."
"Today, our freedoms and our country's sovereignty are in danger of being undermined by the United Nations. To ensure our liberties remain for our generation and future generations, I am offering legislation to protect the rights of American gun owners from the effects of a U.N. arms treaty."
"Given where the process stands today, I am gravely concerned this treaty will infringe upon the Second Amendment rights of American gun owners. I am also concerned it will be used by other countries who do not share our freedoms, to wrongly place the burden of controlling international crime and terrorism on law-abiding American citizens."
"Mr. President, I urge my colleagues in the Senate to adopt this commonsense legislation. On July 22 of last year, fifty-seven U.S. Senators joined me in reminding the Obama Administration that our firearm freedoms are not negotiable. We notified President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton of our intent to oppose ratification of a treaty that in any way restricts Americans' Second Amendment rights. Our opposition is strong enough to block the treaty from passage, as treaties submitted to the U.S. Senate require two-thirds approval to be ratified."
"As the treaty process continues, the Second Amendment Sovereignty Act seeks to further reinforce to the Administration that our country's sovereignty and firearm freedoms must not be infringed upon by an international organization made up of many countries with little respect for gun rights. America leads the world in export standards to ensure arms are transferred for legitimate purposes and my bill will make certain that law-abiding Americans are not wrongfully punished."
"In the days ahead, I will continue to work with my colleagues to ensure an Arms Trade Treaty that undermines the Constitutional rights of American gun owners is dead on arrival in the Senate."
To listen to the full speech, please click here.
The purpose of the Programme's most recent PrepCom was to lay the groundwork for a "Review Conference" scheduled to begin in August, by which time we should know what will have come out of the treaty drafting conference to be held in July. In the meantime, please contact your U.S. Senators and urge them to sponsor and support Sen. Moran's bill.
You can find contact information for your U.S. Senators by using the "Write Your Representatives" tool at www.NRAILA.org. You may also contact your Senators by phone at (202) 224-3121.
Restriction on Funding U.N. Gun Ban Treaty
In a related and very significant development this week, U.S. Rep. Denny Rehberg's (R-Mont.) amendment to restrict the use of federal funds for advocating or lobbying for a United Nations Arms Trade Treaty passed the U.S. House Committee on Appropriations by a bi-partisan vote of 30 to 20. This important amendment mandates that no taxpayer funds may be used to negotiate a United Nations Arms Trade Treaty that would restrict the Second Amendment rights of any United States citizen or regulate firearms or ammunition.
"Taxpayer funds should not be used to lobby against our constitutional rights. Law-abiding Americans have the right to keep and bear arms. The scope of the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty could drastically undermine this constitutional right. The NRA firmly believes that the U.N. should never be allowed to be the arbiter of American freedom," said NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris W. Cox. "The NRA would like to thank Congressman Rehberg for his leadership and for offering this vital amendment in support of the Second Amendment."