Standing up for Montanans' Second Amendment rights, Senator Jon Tester today successfully blocked government funding from being used to advance the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty.
Tester's bipartisan amendment, which unanimously passed the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee, prevents spending to advocate for or agree to any treaty provision that would that would restrict Americans' gun rights.
"Firearms possession is guaranteed by the Second Amendment and cannot be surrendered to an international treaty," said Tester, chairman of the Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus and a lifelong champion of gun rights. "As a staunch defender of the U.S. Constitution, I won't let any treaty impede our Constitutional rights and infringe on our way of life."
Tester first laid out his opposition to the treaty last July, saying "I want the Obama Administration to understand loud and clear that no foreign treaty will dictate America's gun rights, or the privacy of the firearms and ammo we own."
The U.N. Arms Trade Treaty, which must be ratified by the Senate, aims to improve regulation of the international trade of conventional weapons and set standards to ensure that arms are only transferred for appropriate use. Negotiators may finalize the treaty's language as early as July.
Tester said that keeping weapons out of the hands of terrorists will increase global security, but noted that the United States has already adopted a rigorous system of arms export controls that other nations should follow.
The NRA today praised Tester's leadership.
"The United Nations must be prevented from interfering with our constitutional freedoms. Equally important, American taxpayers should not be forced to foot the bill for the U.N.'s efforts to restrict our Right to Keep and Bear Arms," said Chris W. Cox, executive director for NRA's Institute for Legislative Action. "The NRA would like to thank Senator Tester and Senator Moran for their leadership in offering this amendment to protect American freedom."
Tester's bipartisan provision is cosponsored by Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.).
Tester also supported a provision in the overall bill that significantly reduces aid to Pakistan in the wake of that country sentencing the doctor who helped the CIA capture Osama bin Laden to prison for 33 years for treason. Overall, the bill cuts nearly $3 billion from the President's foreign aid budget request.