Montana's Congressman, Denny Rehberg, today sent a letter to House Speaker John Boehner requesting floor consideration of the Second Amendment Sovereignty Act which he introduced with Ben Quayle. The legislation would prevent the United States from participating in the crafting of a United Nations (UN) Arms Trade Treaty, which many see as an international threat to the Second Amendment.
"President Obama and his allies in the Senate swore to uphold the United States Constitution, including the Second Amendment," said Rehberg, a member of the Second Amendment Task Force with an A+ Rating from the National Rifle Association. "The Constitution is not subject to the United Nations, and the rights it contains are not contingent on the whims of an unelected international body. The Senate and the White House simply can't be trusted to stand up for the Second Amendment, so it's up to the House to lead the way."
The UN is currently in negotiations over an international Arms Trade Treaty that would provide a standard for regulating arms sales internationally. For advocates of the Second Amendment, this poses a number of problems from actual gun rights to a question of sovereignty.
While the previous administration was reliably opposed to entering into talks on a UN Arms Trade Treaty, the anti-gun Obama Administration reversed that position and on October 30, 2009, the US voted in the General Assembly to support UN-sponsored talks on a treaty to regulate the $55 billion-a-year trade in conventional weapons.
Earlier this year, Rehberg successfully included language in the Fiscal Year 2013 State and Foreign Operations Appropriations bill to block funding to advocate for or agree to any provision of a United Nations (UN) small arms treaty that would restrict the Second Amendment rights of American citizens or further regulate U.S. firearms users or manufacturers. However, that provision is part of a larger package that is not likely to pass in time to prevent the US from agreeing to this treaty.
The full letter is below:
Dear Speaker Boehner:
I am writing to request consideration of H.R. 5846, the Second Amendment Sovereignty Act, which I introduced with Congressman Ben Quayle on May 18, 2012. The United Nations is currently negotiating an Arms Trade Treaty that could have negative consequences for the Second Amendment rights of all Americans. My bill would prevent the US from using its voice, vote, or influence in connection to this treaty to in any way restrict the fundamental right to bear arms.
I am pleased that the House Appropriations Committee accepted my amendment to the State and Foreign Operations Appropriations bill to prohibit funds to agree or advocate for the UN Arms Trade Treaty. However, I am concerned that because this language will not take effect until this fall at the earliest we need to act now to ensure that President Obama does not sign away our Constitutional rights in the name of international cooperation. Nothing is more important than the rights enshrined in our Constitution, and we cannot blindly trust that an agreement coming out of this conference will respect those rights.
Thank you for your consideration of this important issue, and please don't hesitate to contact me if you have further questions.