House Targets Trade Treaty’s Gun-Grab - IBD OpED 11/26/2013
Second Amendment: A House resolution, as futile as it may be, represents growing opposition to another administration bow to the U.N. encroachment on U.S. sovereignty at the expense of its laws and even our Constitution.
Treaties are ratified by a two-thirds majority of the Senate, and the final version of the U.N.’s Arms Trade Treaty ( ATT ) may likely be signed by this president and ratified by this Senate, especially if presented as a “sensible restriction” on international arms trafficking with no impact on our Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.
But some House members are not going to let it happen without a justified protest. Before the House left for the Thanksgiving break, Rep. Mike Kelly, R-Pa., unveiled a resolution to make the treaty not binding and let no federal funds implement it unless the Senate consents and Congress passes implementing legislation. The resolution is co-sponsored by 76 other House members, including some Democrats. “There is considerable cause for alarm regarding the U.N.’s renewed efforts to forge an Arms Trade Treaty that could trample the constitutional rights of Americans and seriously compromise our national security and the security of our allies, whom we will be less able to arm and less quick to defend due to the restrictions placed on us by the ATT,” Kelly said.
One of their key objections is with the requirement in the July draft of the treaty — which will be the starting point for final negotiations — for each member state to keep records on “end users,” or gun purchasers, for a minimum of 10 years. Hence, Americans who purchase an imported firearm may have to be registered in the country of origin. Ammunition could also be tracked and logged the same way. We have argued, as do Kelly and his colleagues, that even if it applied only to transfers of small arms between nations, would that mean restrictions on our ability to aid allies such as Israel and Taiwan?
Would we be forbidden from aiding resistance movements around the world rising up against the very dictators who support this treaty? The treaty establishes a bizarre moral equivalence between countries that trade arms to defend freedom and those that do so to suppress and extinguish it.
In June, 150 members of Congress sent a letter to President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warning that the treaty is “likely to pose significant threats to our national security, foreign policy and economic interests as well as our constitutional rights.” We have noted that a paper by the U.N.’s Coordinating Action on Small Arms ( CASA ) says that arms have been “misused by lawful owners” and that the “arms trade therefore be regulated in ways that would . . . minimize the misuse of legally owned weapons.”
Is defending your home against intruders a “misuse”? Could our Second Amendment rights be eroded under this treaty? U.S. courts that would settle such cases have increasingly cited international treaties, laws and precedents in their decisions.
This resolution, which asks the president to not sign the treaty and the Senate to not ratify may indeed be all bark and no bite.
It adds that if the ATT were signed but not ratified by the Senate, an unlikely prospect, “no federal funds should be appropriated or authorized to implement the Arms Trade Treaty, or any similar agreement, or to conduct activities relevant to the Arms Trade Treaty, or any similar agreement.”
Perhaps the only hope is that enough freedom-minded Americans contact their senators to say their Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms will have to be pried from their cold, dead hands.