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House Committee Passes Appropriations Bill That Bans Funding to Implement Arms Trade Treaty

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

On June 24 of this year, the U.S. House Appropriations Committee passed the State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs Appropriations Bill. Among its provisions is language prohibiting funds to be used for implementing the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) prior to full ratification of the treaty by the U.S. Senate. Specifically, section 7061 states: “None of the funds appropriated by this Act may be obligated or expended to implement the Arms Trade Treaty until the Senate approves a resolution of ratification for the Treaty.”

Last September, the U.N. adopted the ATT, and President Obama directed Secretary of State John Kerry to sign it. The treaty does not exclude civilian arms from its scope and therefore potentially threatens civilian gun ownership in the United States. Similar concerns have led to Canada’s continued refusal to sign the treaty, and its national gun control is already far more restrictive than that of the United States. 

NRA-ILA is working to ensure that the Senate does not ratify the ATT. Last October, a total of 54 members of the U.S. Senate and 181 members of the U.S. House of Representative sent letters to the White House indicating that the treaty will not be ratified. Nevertheless, the Obama administration could take action to implement some elements of the treaty in advance of its ratification. This appropriations provision will prohibit such unilateral actions.

As this story went to press, the State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs Appropriations Bill was awaiting action by the whole House, after which it would have to be passed by the Senate. NRA will continue to work with our allies to deny any funding for the implementation of any part of the ATT.

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Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.