The United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday finally achieved its goal — with the support and assistance of President Barack Obama — of getting an approval for its first treaty on the global arms trade. The new treaty seeks to basically police the multi-billion dollar business in conventional arms and keep small weapons out of the hands of human rights abusers, since included in the treaty’s list of weapons covered are semiautomatic rifles and handguns.
The National Rifle Association, a powerful U.S. pro-gun-rights, citizens group that had attempted to protect Americans’ Second Amendment rights from the treaty, said it was a sad day for the United States which under President Barack Obama’s command, joined the vast majority of U.N. member states by voting for the pact.
The official United Nations tally showed 155 votes in favor, three against, and 22 abstentions. The treaty will be open for signatures beginning on June 3 and will enter into full force three months after the 50th signatory ratifies it. Mexico’s U.N. Ambassador Luis Alfonso de Alba told reporters it normally takes two to three years for a treaty to come into force, but said he hoped it would happen sooner in this case.
The United States, the world’s top arms exporter, voted for the treaty despite strong opposition from the NRA and several other organizations that protect the rights of gun owners.
“This treaty disregards the Second Amendment to our Constitution and threatens individual firearm ownership,” said Chris Cox, head of the NRA-ILA. “It is a sad, yet telling, day when the president of the United States and his administration refuse to defend America’s Constitution on the world stage.”
U.S. lawmakers from both houses of the U.S. Congress had composed an official letter and sent it to President Barack Obama. The letter detailed their strong opposition to the United States being a signatory of the United Nations’ proposed arms trade treaty stating that they believe it imposes restrictions on American citizens’ Second Amendment gun rights as well as U.S. sovereignty.
“While many within the Obama White House and Democrats on Capitol Hill deny it would impact on Americans’ gun ownership rights, the fact is there far too many U.S. judges — including some on the U.S. Supreme Court — who believe in imposing international law into their court decisions especially on matters involving the U.S. Constitution,” said political strategist and attorney Michael S. Baker.
“Also, let’s remember that truth coming from this White House is a rare commodity such as when Obama claimed Obamacare wouldn’t add one dime in taxes. Obama, Hillary Clinton, John McCain and other well-respected leaders are ‘internationalists’ who believe in a new world order,” said Baker.
“The UN’s actions to date indicate that the ATT [United Nations Arms Trade Treaty] is likely to pose significant threats to our national security, foreign policy, and economic interests as well as our constitutional rights,” reads the letter, which was authored by Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Pa.).
“The U.S. must establish firm red lines for the ATT and state unequivocally that it will oppose the ATT if it infringes on our rights or threatens our ability to defend our interests,” stated Kelly.
Specifically, the lawmakers’ letter demanded that the U.N. treaty exclude small arms and ammunition — which it didn’t — and recognize an individual right to personal self-defense. The U.S. government already enforces laws regarding weapons sales to foreign nations and regularly prosecutes those who fail to comply with certain sanctions.