As we recently reported, on April 2, the United Nations General Assembly voted 153-4 to pass the Arms Trade Treaty, with the United States voting in favor and several countries abstaining. The vote in the General Assembly pushed the treaty process forward after negotiations twice failed to deliver on the goal of developing the treaty by consensus.
The Obama Administration is expected to sign the treaty soon after it is opened for signature on Monday, June 3--just days from now.
The ATT threatens the rights and privacy of American gun owners. Signatories will be encouraged to keep information on the "end users" of arms imported into their territory and supply such information to the exporting country. Exporting nations, nearly all of which have civilian firearm control regimes far harsher than the U.S., will be encouraged to take the firearm control laws of an importing country into account before approving a transfer of arms. And the treaty also encourages states to adopt domestic legislation to carry out the treaty's mandates.
The only way to stop the Obama-U.N. collusion from trampling our Second Amendment freedoms is through the U.S. Congress. A majority of senators have already made clear their opposition to ratifying the ATT. On March 23, 53 senators voted for an amendment to the Senate budget resolution for Fiscal Year 2014, "establish[ing] a deficit neutral fund" to oppose United States entrance into the treaty. Additionally, Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kans.), along with 32 cosponsors, has put forth a concurrent resolution expressing the Senate's opposition to the ATT, as it "fails to expressly recognize the fundamental, individual right to keep and to bear arms and the individual right of personal self-defense... and thus risks infringing on freedoms protected by the Second Amendment."
And in a press release this week, U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Pa.) issued the following statement regarding a bipartisan letter he authored and submitted to President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry petitioning the administration not to sign the ATT. The letter was signed by a total of 130 members of Congress – including Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon (R-Calif.), and Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions (R-Texas)--and declares all of the signatories' opposition to "both the ratification of the Arms Trade Treaty and any effort to treat it as internationally or domestically binding upon the United States."
As Rep. Kelly said in his press release: "As the signing period for the ATT gets underway next week, President Obama has an opportunity to take a monumental stand for our national sovereignty and our Constitutional rights. The ATT threatens both of these things and should be fully rejected. Any treaty that would put the United States--the world's defender of peace and freedom--on equal footing with the world's worst dictatorships and terror-sponsors ought to be condemned, dismissed, and ultimately denied our country's signature. I sincerely hope the administration will listen to the very real objections my colleagues from both parties in Congress share and rightly decide that joining the ATT is not at all in America's interest."
Once a treaty has been signed, it normally remains available for the Senate to ratify in perpetuity, unless a later president withdraws from it. This means that American gun owners must remain vigilant in ensuring this treaty is never ratified. The NRA will continue to keep gun owners up to date on any movement toward ratification, and will work with our allies in the Senate to ensure the treaty remains unratified.