U.S. Representative Mike Kelly (R-PA) hosted a joint press conference yesterday to introduce a bipartisan concurrent resolution, H. Con. Res. 23, in the House of Representatives to oppose the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), which enters final negotiations at the U.N. on Monday, March 18, 2013. The identical companion resolution, S. Con. Res. 7, was introduced in the U.S. Senate by Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS).
Below are highlights of Rep. Kelly's remarks to the American people:
"As we go through the last couple days of winter and get into early spring, this is a great day for America because we are actually protecting two of our most treasured amendments: the First Amendment and the Second Amendment.
"In the First Amendment, [I] have proposed -- as a private citizen -- the ATTpetition.com. I hear people all the time, when I'm back home in Western Pennsylvania, say, "What can I do? Washington doesn't listen to me.' You can go online and sign this petition, anywhere in the United States. You can voice your opposition to what's going on right now up in New York.
"I want you to look at our Capitol any policies that are going to be forged are going to be forged in these two buildings -- not the U.N. in New York. And certainly, we are not going to sit at the table with Syria and Iran and come up with a new policy for the United States -- that is absolutely insane.
"We are trying to champion this and we're trying to get this message out to the American people: this is your time; this is your day; this is your time to voice your opposition to something that I think is an egregious over-step.
"This [ATT] agreement will take away our sovereignty for our own policies. As the greatest defender of liberty and freedom in the world -- and we have been for the last 236 years -- why would we ever sit down with bad actors and let them decide what our policy will be going forward? [It is a] bad, bad idea. It doesn't make sense.
"I have colleagues with me today from both chambers. This is your House of Representatives. These are your Senators. These are your representatives asking you to weigh in on a subject that is very sensitive.
"We do have the right, to peaceably assemble, to petition the government, for a redress of grievances. We also have the right to our Second Amendment, which was enshrined by the Founders. Why would we put that up now for debate with people who don't feel the same way we do?
"First Amendment rights, Second Amendment rights: those are two things we will never give up on."
Earlier statement from Senator Moran:
"We must avoid a situation where the Administration, due to its continued willingness to negotiate, feels pressured to sign a treaty that violates our constitutional rights. It is now clear that Congress must reiterate its concerns with the latest draft of the treaty, and I am pleased to be leading this effort once again with Congressman Kelly."
The U.N. Arms Trade Treaty has elicited warnings from numerous legal and foreign policy experts who agree that the treaty, as drafted, poses significant threats to the Second Amendment rights of U.S. citizens, the nation's domestic defense manufacturing base, and America's ability to protect and assist our allies including the Republic of China (Taiwan) and the State of Israel.
In July 2012, Rep. Kelly sent a bipartisan letter, signed by 130 House members, to the president and the Secretary of State, opposing the ATT. Rep. Kelly authored H. Res. 814, introduced in November 2012, with 89 bipartisan co-sponsors. On March 13, 2013, he re-introduced it as a concurrent resolution with 122 bipartisan original co-sponsors in the House; Sen. Moran introduced the companion resolution with 28 original co-sponsors in the Senate.
Sponsor: Mike Kelly; Original Co-Sponsors (122): Lynn Westmoreland, Sam Graves, H. Morgan Griffith, Jeff Duncan, Paul Broun, Tom Marino, John Carter, Tim Huelskamp, Randy Hultgren, Vicky Hartzler, Mike Michaud, Doug Lamborn, Nick Rahall, Glenn Thompson, Tim Griffin, Walter Jones, John Duncan, Don Young, Rob Bishop, Paul Gosar, Tom Reed, Lou Barletta, Blaine Luetkemeyer , Robert Pittenger, Pete Olson, Adrian Smith, Bill Huizenga, Jeff Miller, Joe Barton, Steve Stivers, Bill Johnson, Phil Gingrey, Mike Pompeo, David Schweikert, Mike Conaway, Michael Burgess, Chuck Fleischmann, Randy Weber, Mike Rogers, Alan Nunnelee, Andy Harris, Markwayne Mullin, Kevin Yoder, David "Phil" Roe, Steve Stockman, Trent Franks, Pat Tiberi, Scott Perry, Shelley Moore Capito, Mac Thornberry, Kevin Brady, Kenny Marchant, Marsha Blackburn, John Fleming, Bill Posey, John Culberson, Doug LaMalfa, Steve Chabot, Chris Stewart, Jim Jordan, Mick Mulvaney, David McKinley, Joe Wilson, Cory Gardner, Rich Nugent, Austin Scott, Matt Salmon, Bill Flores, Rob Wittman, Robert Latta, Renee Ellmers, Lynn Jenkins, Mark Meadows, Steve Southerland, Michele Bachmann, Ed Whitfield, Mo Brooks, Dan Benishek, Steve Pearce, Larry Bucshon, Jim Bridentine, Ken Calvert, John Shimkus, Tom Cotton, Steve Daines, Louie Gohmert, Dennis Ross, Mark Amodei, John Kline, Gus Bilirakis, Randy Forbes, Kerry Bentivolio, Tim Walberg, Stephen Fincher, Charles Boustany, Rick Crawford, Steven Palazzo, Ted Poe, Steve Scalise, Scott DesJarlais, Michael McCaul, Scott Garrett, Steve Womack, Ted Yoho, Bill Young, Luke Messer, Trey Radel, James Lankford, Marlin Stutzman, Brad Wenstrup, Tom McClintock, Ann Wagner, Pete Sessions, Blake Farenthold, Billy Long, Ron DeSantis, Randy Neugebauer, Keith Rothfus, Kristi Noem, George Holding, Steve King, and Duncan Hunter.
Senate Sponsor: Jerry Moran; Original Co-Sponsors (28): Alexander, Ayotte, Barrasso, Boozman, Burr, Chambliss, Coburn, Cornyn, Crapo, Cruz, Enzi, Flake, Grassley, Hatch, Heller, Hoeven, Inhofe, Isakson, Johanns, Paul, Portman, Risch, Roberts, Rubio, Thune, Toomey, Vitter, and Wicker.