The United Nations’ overwhelming approval Tuesday of an arms trade treaty sets up a showdown between President Obama, the U.S. Constitution, citizens, elected officials and independent organizations supporting the Second Amendment. Member-states voted 154 votes to three, with 23 abstentions, to control trade in guns.
The Senate, however, has vowed to block ratification, which requires a two-thirds majority and is needed for the treaty to be legally binding on the United States.
Despite Constitutional restraint, President Obama supported the treaty and White House spokesman Jay Carney said the administration was pleased. “As is the case with all treaties of this nature, we will follow the normal procedures to conduct a through review of the treaty text to determine whether to sign the treaty,” Carney said. “What that timeline is, I cannot predict to you now, we are just beginning the review process, so I wouldn’t want to speculate when it would end.”
“The United States is pleased that the United Nations General Assembly has approved a strong, effective and implementable Arms Trade Treaty that can strengthen global security while protecting the sovereign right of states to conduct legitimate arms trade,” Secretary of State John Kerry said Tuesday.
The National Rifle Association (NRA) argues that the treaty violates the Second Amendment because it regulates small arms, such as rifles and handguns, and calls for the creation of an “end-user registry.”
In one of the amendments to the Senate Budget passed last month, lawmakers voted 53-46 to stop “the United States from entering into the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty.”
“The Senate has already gone on record in stating that an Arms Trade Treaty has no hope, especially if it does not specifically protect the individual right to bear arms and American sovereignty,” Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., who backed the amendment, said, The Washington Times reported. “It would be pointless for the president to sign such a treaty and expect the Senate to go along. We won’t ratify it.”
Fox News reports Greg Abbott, the Texas attorney general, urged Obama not to sign the treaty. He said it could “draw law-abiding gun owners and gun store operators into a complex web of bureaucratic red tape created by a new department at the UN devoted to overseeing the treaty.”
Abbot writes, “when the Constitution says, “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed,” it means no one—including the UN—can infringe that right.”