Sen. Moran and 28 Senators: Second Amendment Rights Are Not Negotiable, US Gov Says It’s Committed to Strong Arms Trade Treaty

Mar 13, 2013. Sen. Moran and 28 Senators: Second Amendment Rights Are Not Negotiable. 

Resolution makes clear U.N. Arms Trade Treaty that undermines Constitutional freedoms of American gun owners will not be ratified by Senate. 

U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS) introduced a concurrent resolution co-sponsored by 28 of his Senate colleagues which outlines specific criteria that must be met for a United Nations Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) to be ratified by the U.S. Senate and recognized as customary international law. On Monday, March 18, 2013, the Obama Administration will continue its reversal of the policies of both President Bill Clinton and President George W. Bush and engage in a new round of negotiations of the U.N. ATT in New York. The companion resolution was introduced today in the U.S. House of Representatives by Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA).

“We must avoid a situation where the Administration, due to its continued willingness to negotiate, feels pressured to sign a treaty that violates our constitutional rights,” Sen. Moran said. “It is now clear that Congress must reiterate its concerns with the latest draft of the treaty, and I am pleased to be leading this effort once again with Congressman Kelly.”

The current ATT treaty text undermines the Constitutional freedoms of American gun owners and does not exempt civilian firearms from its scope or recognize the inherent right to self-defense. If the ATT is supposed to be concerned only with the international trade in conventional weapons, Sen. Moran believes it needs to exempt domestic, civilian firearm ownership and use from its scope, as governed by national laws and constitutions.

Additionally, a near-universal treaty like the ATT will reward dictatorships with privileges that should be reserved for sovereign democracies. Because the U.N. includes every nation in the world, it is not a suitable instrument for negotiating substantive treaties on a subject as profoundly divisive as control over the means of national defense.

“If the ATT could work, it would not be necessary,” Sen. Moran said. “There is no reason to believe the ATT will succeed where past U.N. Security Council Arms Embargoes have failed. Smothering the world with law will not affect nations who choose not to respect the treaty, or are too ill-governed to enforce it.”

Last July, the U.N. Conference on the ATT dissolved without a consensus treaty text. This was in part thanks to the U.S. delegation asking for additional time after receiving a letter from Sen. Moran and 50 of his Senate colleagues expressing intent to oppose ratification of any treaty that infringes upon our Second Amendment freedoms. On November 7, 2012, the day after President Obama’s reelection, his administration announced its intent to reengage in treaty negotiations which will begin Monday.

Sen. Moran’s concurrent resolution is cosponsored by 28 U.S. Senators including: Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), John Barrasso (R-WY), John Boozman (R-AR), Richard Burr (R-NC), Tom Coburn (R-OK), John Cornyn (R-TX), Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Mike Enzi (R-WY), Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Dean Heller (R-NV), John Hoeven (R-ND), James Inhofe (R-OK), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Mike Johanns (R-NE), Rand Paul (R-KY), Rob Portman (R-OH), Jim Risch (R-ID), Pat Roberts (R-KS), Marco Rubio (R-FL), John Thune (R-SD), Pat Toomey (R-PA), David Vitter (R-LA) and Roger Wicker (R-MS).

The concurrent resolution has been endorsed by the National Rifle Association, Heritage Action, and the Endowment for Middle East Truth.

Attached below is Sen. Moran’s resolution outlining criteria that must be met for a U.N. ATT to be ratified by the Senate.                  

Text of U.N. ATT Concurrent ResolutionU.N. ATT Con. Res..pdf


March 16th, 2013. US Says It’s Committed to Strong Arms Trade Treaty. Edith M. Lederer, Associated Press.

“The United States is committed to reaching agreement on a strong U.N. treaty to regulate the multibillion-dollar global arms trade during a two-week conference starting Monday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said.

Hopes of reaching agreement on what would be a landmark treaty were dashed last July when the United States said it needed more time to consider the proposed accord — then Russia and China also asked for a delay.

Kerry said in a statement Friday that the United States looks forward to working with other countries to reach consensus on an Arms Trade Treaty “that helps address the adverse effects of the international arms trade on global peace and stability” by helping to stem the illicit flow of weapons across borders.

He stressed that the U.S. will not support a treaty that would be inconsistent with U.S. law and the right of Americans under the Constitution to bear firearms, or a treaty that would impose new requirements on the U.S. domestic trade in firearms and U.S. exporters.

“The United States could only be party to an Arms Trade Treaty that addresses international transfers of conventional arms solely,” Kerry said.

The draft treaty under consideration does not control the domestic use of weapons in any country, but it would require all countries to establish national regulations to control the transfer of conventional arms and to regulate arms brokers. It would prohibit states that ratify the treaty from transferring conventional weapons if they would violate arms embargoes or if they would promote acts of genocide, crimes against humanity or war crimes.

In considering whether to authorize the export of arms, the draft says a country must evaluate whether the weapon would be used to violate international human rights or humanitarian laws or be used by terrorists, organized crime or for corrupt practices.

Many countries, including the United States, control arms exports, but there has never been an international treaty regulating the estimated $60 billion global arms trade. For more than a decade, activists and some governments have been pushing for international rules to try to keep illicit weapons out of the hands of terrorists, insurgent fighters and organized crime.

Kerry said that while the international arms trade affects every country, more than 100 nations don’t have a system for controlling international arms transfers.

“We support a treaty that will bring all countries closer to existing international best practices, which we already observe, while preserving national decisions to transfer conventional arms responsibly,” he said.

Kerry said that means responsible nations should have control systems that reduce the risk that conventional arms transfers will be used “to carry out the world’s worst crimes, including those involving terrorism, and serious human rights violations.”

The National Rifle Association, the powerful gun-rights lobbying group in the U.S., portrayed the treaty last year as a threat to gun ownership rights.

Amnesty International’s Deputy Executive Director Frank Jannuzi said President Barack Obama “must not be cowed or intimidated by the U.S. gun lobby and the NRA.”

Jannuzi added: “The unfettered trade of conventional arms has contributed to the deaths of more than 500,000, the displacement of millions, widespread rape and the recruitment and exploitation of children as soldiers. The global arms trade must be regulated, and the United States — the world’s largest exporter — should lead the way.”

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he is confident that the U.N.’s 193 member states will overcome their differences during the upcoming negotiations and muster the political will to reach agreement on a treaty. The U.N. chief reiterated his support for a treaty that regulates international transfers of both weapons and ammunition and sets common standards for exporting states.

Kerry’s statement made no mention of the key issue of ammunition.

Jannuzi said the draft treaty in July had a provision that would ban the export of ammunition in cases where a country decided that the export of weapons was prohibited.”


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