Moving crews have packed up desks, lamps, chairs, office supplies and other personal items of numerous Democrat Senate and House offices now vacated after November’s election. But in a suite of offices located directly across from the Senate Floor, there were relics from the list of bills that passed the U.S. House and sat without action inside Harry Reid’s office. Somewhere in that stack likely sits an anti-gun treaty signed by Secretary of State John Kerry.
To his credit, outgoing-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid likely knew the United Nation’s Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) (full text here) would never meet the two-thirds majority requirement for ratification. But as of Christmas Eve, the treaty has gone into effect internationally.
The UN General Assembly first approved the ATT in April 2013 and Kerry signed it on Sept. 24, 2013, amid criticism from the Republican side of the upper chamber’s aisle.
No action has been taken to move the treaty to a vote for U.S. Senate ratification, but 61 nations have ratified the treaty and 69 additional nations have signed without ratification by their own governments. The ATT is legally binding only to the 61 nations whose governments have procedurally embraced the global legislation.
Likely, Reid avoided the self-inflicted damage to Democrats in an election cycle that would result with a recorded vote on a UN arms control effort. Then again, Democrats didn’t fair all that well as it was.
According to Kerry and Barack Obama – of “bitter clingers” fame – the ATT will protect Americans and other global citizens from the dangers of illicit small arms trade (smaller munitions, sea and land mines, rockets). They assure us that the treaty’s jurisdiction would apply only to international trade and not infringe upon domestic gun rights.
Kerry trumpeted, “Make no mistake, we would never think about supporting a treaty that is inconsistent with … the rights of American citizens to be able to exercise their guaranteed rights under our Constitution.” Spare us the idea that Democrats have anything but contempt for gun rights.
Why would any American who values the Constitution and the Second Amendment have concerns about the negative implications on our national security and the right to bear arms?
First, on a foreign policy level, Obama and Kerry have essentially signaled their willingness for an international body made up of rogue and terrorist nations to define the appropriate movement and utilization of certain weapons and munitions. It’s foreign policy for dummies … and on purpose.
The treaty permits post-ratification amendments by a three-quarters majority vote of the UN General Assembly that would completely circumvent the power of our legislative involvement. Nothing says “Smart Foreign Policy” like allowing your potential enemies to amend an agreement to their advantage.
Second, on the domestic front, the ATT would mandate export/import controls requiring the importing country to collect information of the “end user” of a firearm, retain that information for 20 years, and provide that information to the exporting county. So if you purchased, say, a Beretta shotgun, you would be deemed an end user and the treaty would obligate the U.S. government to provide the Italian government with the record of your purchase and your contact information. If the U.S. should fail to do so, exports could be banned to the U.S.
In January 2013, Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS) put forward an omnibus appropriations bill that prevented funding of any types of implementation of the ATT. The legislation received 53 votes for passage, with 46 opposed – all Democrats.
Our North American brethren, the Canadians, rejected the ATT outright. Yes, even Canada. Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird included in his remarks these direct statements: “It is important that such a treaty should not affect lawful and responsible firearms owners nor discourage the transfer of firearms for recreational uses such as sport shooting and hunting. We’ll make sure that any treaty we sign onto is good for Canada, and good for Canadians.”
Sounds like bitter clingers are not limited to the GOP, eh?
In a twist that sounds more like supporting what your enemy opposes, Israel signed the treaty just before the deadline. Iran and other terrorist states determined to eliminate Israel’s existence openly oppose the ATT. Israel can do no right in the eyes of the United Nations, so if its strategy is to remove one criticism from the table it’s unlikely to achieve much.
With a Republican majority now in the U.S. Senate, this treaty won’t see a vote and will not legally bind the U.S. But that may not stop the Obama administration, which had no problem trafficking guns to Mexican drug cartels, from infringing on the Second Amendment anyway.