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United Nations Arms Trade Treaty

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. COLLINS of Georgia. I thank my colleague from Pennsylvania.

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak out against the dangerous U.N. Arms Trade Treaty, which was signed this morning by Secretary Kerry. This treaty will impact the United States' sovereignty, encroach upon Second Amendment rights, and drastically affect U.S. foreign and export policies.

It is common for a treaty of this kind to give definitions directly so member states can understand the treaty's meanings and implications. Instead, this agreement uses vague terms that are open for reinterpretation later. It leaves open the opportunity for current restrictions to be tightened at a later time. This has the potential of heavily influencing our Nation's future policy without congressional consideration or approval.

Our Second Amendment liberties, articulated in the Bill of Rights, are put at significant risk by this treaty. Approximately one-third of the domestic gun market is composed of imported firearms. The Arms Trade Treaty encourages nations to collect the identities of the owners of imported firearms. This could be the beginning of a national gun registry, which would violate current U.S. law. The treaty would also impose administrative burdens on the import and export of small arms.

This treaty would directly affect how the U.S. handles foreign policy. The United States should be able to look into potential arms sales by weighing the risks, potential outcomes, and goals of each trade. Under the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty, the U.S. would have to complete a checklist of items before exporting arms, regardless of their destination--even if that destination is Israel or Taiwan.

It will come as no surprise that the Arms Trade Treaty is not being backed by Russia, China, India, Iran, North Korea, and numerous other nations--many of whom do not have our best interests in mind.

In February 2010, this was called ``less than useless'' if not supported by all nations. Why is this administration now locking the United States into a treaty that other world powers have rejected? Their unilateral decision to sign the treaty allows other nations to trade arms knowing that the U.S. will be bound by a specific set of rules.

Like the majority of the folks in Georgia's Ninth District, I cannot understand why this administration would sign a treaty with such drastic implications for our Nation's sovereignty and the right to bear arms at home. The United States should not join treaties outside the constitutionally prescribed process, which involves ratification by the Senate--this is a concept this administration just amazingly seems to not understand, especially from a constitutional law professor.

There is a reason the Constitution dictates the method and manner by which the United States may enter into treaties: it is to ensure that the treaties so harmful to our freedoms, such as this Arms Trade Treaty, are never signed or ratified.

I strongly oppose this administration's endorsement of the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty and will work with my colleagues to prevent this agreement from affecting the rights of our citizens. The executive branch does not and should not possess a blank check to legislate domestically via international treaties.

There is no treaty so important that it should be allowed to restrict the rights of Americans to exercise those freedoms enshrined in the Constitution. The right to keep and bear arms is not dependent on a global agreement. We don't need Russia and China giving their stamp of approval in order to speak freely in our homes and in our churches. We certainly don't need Iran and North Korea dictating our due process rights.

I strongly oppose the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty and everything it stands for. I do not and will not support the decision made by Secretary Kerry to sign the treaty.

I thank the gentleman from Pennsylvania for his tireless leadership on this issue and hosting this Special Order tonight.


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