Secretary of State John Kerry signed the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty on behalf of the Obama administration Wednesday. Although Kerry claims the UN treaty will not limit the Second Amendment rights of Americans, the National Rifle Association (NRA) and gun rights supporters are not so sure.
The NRA has reportedly been fighting against the UN Arms Trade Treaty for several years, and now will oppose it in the Senate, where it must be ratified for it to take effect. The gun rights organization feels the signing of the treaty is another demonstration of the Obama administration’s “contempt for our fundamental, individual right to keep and bear arms.”
“This treaty threatens individual firearm ownership with an invasive registration scheme,” said Chris W. Cox, the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action executive director. “The NRA will continue working with the United States Senate to oppose ratification of the ATT. These are blatant attacks on the constitutional rights and liberties of every law-abiding American. The NRA will continue to fight this assault on our fundamental freedom.”
Cox went on to state that the NRA will continue efforts to oppose the treaty when it ultimately reaches the floor of the US Senate. The treaty undermines American sovereignty, he said.
The treaty reportedly governs only cross-border gun trade. The stated mission of the United Nations treaty is to keep firearms out of the hands of criminals and human rights abusers. The NRA and Second Amendment advocates, though, feel the treaty with the United Nations essentially undermines the sovereignty of the United States and disregards the right to bear arms rights guaranteed by the Constitution.
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A bipartisan majority of the Senate opposes the treaty, the NRA said.
When John Kerry signed the UN arms treaty on behalf of America, he was the 91st government official from around the globe to do so. Although it is often extremely difficult to find a “Made in America” label when shopping for electronics, clothing, toys, or virtually any of the other offerings at the local mall, the United States remains the top arms exporter in the entire world.
“Make no mistake,” Kerry said, “we would never think about supporting a treaty that is inconsistent with the rights of Americans, the rights of American citizens to be able to exercise their guaranteed rights under our Constitution. This treaty will not diminish anyone’s freedom, in fact the treaty recognizes the freedom of both individuals and states to obtain, possess and use arms for legitimate purposes.”
Gun control advocacy groups are applauding the ATT. According to Reuters, such individuals and groups claim one person dies every minute due to gun violence and the UN treaty is a necessary tool to halt the flow of uncontrolled weapons and ammo that.
“The ATT,” the NRA said, “includes ‘small arms and light weapons’ within its scope, which covers firearms owned by law-abiding citizens. Further, the treaty urges recordkeeping of end users, directing importing countries to provide information to an exporting country regarding arms transfers, including ‘end use or end user documentation’ for a minimum of ten years. Data kept on the end users of imported firearms is a de-facto registry of law-abiding firearms owners, which is a violation of federal law. Even worse, the ATT could be construed to require such a registry to be made available to foreign governments.”
Amnesty International reportedly hopes that Secretary Kerry’s signature on the United Nations ATT will prompt uncommitted nations to do the same. A release from the group said, “The Obama administration is politically committed to ending the unscrupulous trade in deadly weapons used by dictators, war lords, and criminal gangs.”