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House Aims to Block UN Arms Trade Treaty Implementation

Members are fearful that Obama's post-election amenability to the treaty puts Americans' Second Amendment rights in danger.

by
Bridget Johnson

Bio

November 20, 2012 - 3:58 pm
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It comes on the heels of Kelly’s letter before the July treaty conference to Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, signed by 130 members of the House, outlining concerns that the document would not only violate personal freedom but compromise national security and America’s economic interests.

“The ATT must not accept that free democracies and totalitarian regimes have the same right to conduct arms transfers: this is a dangerous piece of moral equivalence,” stated the letter. “…Specifically, the ATT must not hinder the U.S. from fulfilling strategic, legal, and moral commitments to provide arms to allies such as the Republic of China (Taiwan) and the State of Israel.”

“…The ATT should not contain any language that legitimizes the arming of terrorists — for example, by recognizing any right of resistance to ‘foreign occupation’ — or implies that signatories must recognized the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court.”

The lawmakers also expressed opposition to the creation of any international agency to “to administer, interpret, or add to the ATT regime because it might represent the delegation of federal legal authority to a bureaucracy that is not accountable to the American people.”

The resolution strikes many similar points, including that the treaty would open the floodgates for countries to use “lawfare” against the U.S. via the misuse of the treaty’s criteria in foreign tribunals and risks imposing “costly regulatory burdens on United States businesses, for example, by creating onerous reporting requirements that could damage the domestic defense manufacturing base and related firms.”

It resolves that “the President should not sign the Arms Trade Treaty, and that, if he transmits the treaty with his signature to the Senate, the Senate should not ratify the Arms Trade Treaty.”

“Until the Arms Trade Treaty has been signed by the President, received the advice and consent of the Senate, and has been the subject of implementing legislation by the Congress, no Federal funds should be appropriated or authorized to implement the Arms Trade Treaty, or any similar agreement, or to conduct activities relevant to the Arms Trade Treaty, or any similar agreement.”

The resolution has been referred to the House Foreign Affairs Committee. It should get traction there as chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) was a top signatory on the June letter to Obama and Clinton.

Groups supporting the resolution include the National Rifle Association, Heritage Action, and the Endowment for Middle East Truth.

“The right to bear arms is guaranteed by the Constitution,” said Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas). “I will oppose any measure that would infringe on the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Americans – that includes this arms treaty. I will continue to oppose efforts by the UN or any other person, organization, or country to fracture or supersede our Constitution.”

“My colleagues and I stand committed to fighting this threat to our sovereignty and to standing up for the U.S. Constitution, which we are all sworn to support and defend,” Kelly said.

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Bridget Johnson is a veteran journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She is an NPR contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.
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