April 2, 2013
The United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday signed off on a sweeping, first-of-its-kind treaty to regulate the international arms trade, brushing aside worries from U.S. gun rights advocates that the pact could lead to a national firearms registry and disrupt the American gun market.
The long-debated U.N. Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) requires countries to regulate and control the export of weaponry such as battle tanks, combat vehicles and aircraft and attack helicopters, as well as parts and ammunition for such weapons. It also provides that signatories will not violate arms embargoes, international treaties regarding illicit trafficking, or sell weaponry to countries for genocide, crimes against humanity or other war crimes.
American gun rights activists, though, insist the treaty is riddled with loopholes and is unworkable in part because it includes “small arms and light weapons” in its list of weaponry subject to international regulations. They do not trust U.N. assertions that the pact is meant to regulate only cross-border trade and would have no impact on domestic U.S. laws and markets.
Critics of the treaty were heartened by the U.S. Senate’s resistance to ratifying the document, assuming President Obama sent it to the chamber for ratification. In its budget debate late last month, the Senate approved a non-binding amendment opposing the treaty offered by Sen. James M. Inhofe, Oklahoma Republican, with eight Democrats joining all 45 Republicans backing the amendment.
“The U.S. Senate is united in strong opposition to a treaty that puts us on level ground with dictatorships who abuse human rights and arm terrorists, but there is real concern that the Administration feels pressured to sign a treaty that violates our Constitutional rights,” Mr. Moran said. “Given the apparent support of the Obama Administration for the ATT, members of the U.S. Senate must continue to make clear that any treaty that violates our Second Amendment freedoms will be an absolute nonstarter for ratification.”
“It’s time the Obama Administration recognizes [the treaty] is already a non-starter, and Americans will not stand for internationalists limiting and infringing upon their Constitutional rights,” the Oklahoma Republican said. “Furthermore, this treaty could also disrupt diplomatic and national security efforts by preventing our government from assisting allies like Taiwan, South Korea or Israel when they require assistance.”