When the Obama administration voted to approve a small arms trade treaty in the United Nations Tuesday, it challenged a majority of the Senate — including members of the president’s own party.
The treaty, opposed by the National Rifle Association as well as the Senate, would require that member nations take whatever steps are necessary to assure that weapons that are exported “aren’t likely to be used to harm civilians or violate human rights laws,” according to The Hill.
Although the president is expected to sign the treaty sometime in the next several months, doing so is likely to be an exercise in futility — it would still require approval by at least 67 Senators. Fifty-three already said in a March budget amendment that’s not going to happen.
“The U.N. Arms Trade Treaty that passed in the General Assembly today would require the United States to implement gun-control legislation as required by the treaty, which could supersede the laws our elected officials have already put into place,” said Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), who sponsored the budget amendment.
“It’s time the Obama administration recognizes it is already a non-starter, and Americans will not stand for internationalists limiting and infringing upon their Constitutional rights.”
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, a Republican, warned Obama not to sign it.
“If you sign it, and if the U.S. Senate ratifies the treaty, Texas will lead the charge to have the treaty overturned in court as a violation of the U.S. Constitution,” Abbott wrote to the president.
Secretary of State John Kerry denies that the treaty contains any language that would violate Second Amendment rights. He claims it would apply mainly to those countries that have lax standards for arms exportation.
“The treaty adopted today will establish a common international standard for the national regulation of the international trade in conventional arms and require all states to develop and implement the kind of systems that the United States already has in place,” Kerry said. “It will help reduce the risk that international transfers of conventional arms will be used to carry out the world’s worst crimes, including terrorism, genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes.”
Kerry added that “nothing in this treaty could ever infringe on the rights of American citizens,” The Hill reported.
Meanwhile, the NRA is asking that Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., who has long criticized the treaty, introduce a resolution in opposition to it.
Sen. Mike Kelly, R-Pa., is expected to submit a concurring resolution, posted on his Facebook page late Tuesday, “I am deeply disappointed with the Obama administration’s vote today in support of forcing the ominous Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) through the UN General Assembly. For the sake of our national interests and Constitutional freedom, I strongly urge President Obama to reject the ATT.”
Read more at The Hill.