The U.N. Arms Trade Treaty subordinates American liberty and sovereignty
The Constitution of the United States established our government to “secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our posterity.” Government has the power to secure the rights of citizens, yet it’s limited to a republic that reflects the will of the people. For example, the Second Amendment obligates government to protect “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms”. A vast majority of Americans is consistently adamant that that right shall not be infringed upon.
Now the Obama Administration is poised to use the United Nations to chip away at the rights and will of the American people. A U.N. Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) has been finalized with the ostensible goal of stopping genocide and terrorism. Transnationalists argue this effort includes combating “powerful cultural conditioning that equates masculinity with owning and using a gun.”
Amnesty International proclaims, “the global arms trade must be regulated, and the United States – the world’s largest exporter – should lead the way.” This assertion disregards our Constitution. And it ignores regulations on American arms exports that are the most stringent in the world, governed by a Presidential Decision Directive signed by President Clinton in 1995.
The real goal of the ATT is to push the United States to adopt “international best practices” regarding gun ownership. A senior associate with the Stimson Center, a Washington-based think tank on international peace and security, noted, “after a recent legislative defeat of President Obama’s attempts to strengthen domestic gun laws, the treaty could be an opportunity for the administration.”
Nations which comply with the terms of the ATT must determine whether weapons they sell might be used to commit human rights violations, terrorism, or trans-national organized crime. Under this guise, the ATT includes a requirement for countries to keep records on the identity of the “end users” (i.e., individual owners) of imported small arms.
As written, the ATT doesn’t recognize the lawful ownership and use of firearms or the act of self-defense as inherent rights. Supporters openly acknowledge the treaty is intended to create international norms that restrain the conduct of the United States. It’s the incremental application of pressure on America to reform policy and law.
Harold Koh, legal advisor to the State Department, said international lawmaking is a process whereby norms from the international system get “downloaded elsewhere into another country’s laws.” In other words, the United States government is supposed to enforce the views of the world at large on the American people.
Mr. Koh went further, declaring the only meaningful mechanism to regulate illicit international transfers of arms is stronger domestic regulation. That opinion is in sharp contrast to that of the majority of Americans. Realizing that, the Obama Administration suspended negotiations on the ATT last summer as the Presidential election loomed closer.
No longer courting voters, the President sent the State Department back to the table. This past June, Secretary of State John Kerry said President Obama looks forward to signing the ATT. To maximize global publicity, signing will likely occur at the U.N. General Assembly meeting in New York at the end of this month. U.S. credibility is on the line according to advocacy groups like Amnesty International and the Arms Control Association.
Ratification of the ATT will require the votes of at least 67 U.S. Senators. Representative Mike Kelly (R-PA) and Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS) introduced a bipartisan resolution in the House and Senate opposing subordination of our sovereignty and the Constitution. Representative Kelly said, “Any policies that are going to be forged are going to be forged in our Capitol, not the U.N. in New York.”
Forcing Americans to give up liberties and adopt international norms will not stop Iran from arming the Assad regime in Syria for instance. Sacrificing sovereignty will not turn dictators, rouge nations, and state sponsors into champions of peace and human rights. Truth is that ATT proponents don’t really expect such results.
The Arms Trade Treaty is simply relentless coercion from abroad, pushing Americans to be like the rest of the world. It lays the ground work for the Obama Administration to take a back door approach to limitations on Second Amendment rights. If America strays down the path toward international norms, we’ll have few “Blessings of Liberty” left for “ourselves and our posterity” and no means to “secure” them.
This “Right Angles” column was published in the Glenwood Springs Post Independent on September 17, 2013 http://www.postindependent.com/opinion/8090714-113/international-arms-att-rights