U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS) today introduced a concurrent resolution co-sponsored by 28 of his Senate colleagues which outlines specific criteria that must be met for a United Nations Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) to be ratified by the U.S. Senate and recognized as customary international law. On Monday, March 18, 2013, the Obama Administration will continue its reversal of the policies of both President Bill Clinton and President George W. Bush and engage in a new round of negotiations of the U.N. ATT in New York. The companion resolution was introduced today in the U.S. House of Representatives by Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA).
"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," Sen. Moran said. "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 current ATT treaty text undermines the Constitutional freedoms of American gun owners and does not exempt civilian firearms from its scope or recognize the inherent right to self-defense. If the ATT is supposed to be concerned only with the international trade in conventional weapons, Sen. Moran believes it needs to exempt domestic, civilian firearm ownership and use from its scope, as governed by national laws and constitutions.
Additionally, a near-universal treaty like the ATT will reward dictatorships with privileges that should be reserved for sovereign democracies. Because the U.N. includes every nation in the world, it is not a suitable instrument for negotiating substantive treaties on a subject as profoundly divisive as control over the means of national defense.
"If the ATT could work, it would not be necessary," Sen. Moran said. "There is no reason to believe the ATT will succeed where past U.N. Security Council Arms Embargoes have failed. Smothering the world with law will not affect nations who choose not to respect the treaty, or are too ill-governed to enforce it."
Last July, the U.N. Conference on the ATT dissolved without a consensus treaty text. This was in part thanks to the U.S. delegation asking for additional time after receiving a letter from Sen. Moran and 50 of his Senate colleagues expressing intent to oppose ratification of any treaty that infringes upon our Second Amendment freedoms. On November 7, 2012, the day after President Obama's reelection, his administration announced its intent to reengage in treaty negotiations which will begin Monday.
Sen. Moran's concurrent resolution is cosponsored by 28 U.S. Senators including: Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), John Barrasso (R-WY), John Boozman (R-AR), Richard Burr (R-NC), Tom Coburn (R-OK), John Cornyn (R-TX), Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Mike Enzi (R-WY), Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Dean Heller (R-NV), John Hoeven (R-ND), James Inhofe (R-OK), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Mike Johanns (R-NE), Rand Paul (R-KY), Rob Portman (R-OH), Jim Risch (R-ID), Pat Roberts (R-KS), Marco Rubio (R-FL), John Thune (R-SD), Pat Toomey (R-PA), David Vitter (R-LA) and Roger Wicker (R-MS).
The concurrent resolution has been endorsed by the National Rifle Association, Heritage Action, and the Endowment for Middle East Truth.