WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS) today led 50 senators in expressing grave concern about the dangers posed to Americans’ Second Amendment rights by the United Nations’ Arms Trade Treaty. The 51 senators notified President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton of their intent to oppose ratification of an Arms Trade Treaty that in any way restricts the rights of law-abiding American gun owners. The opposition is strong enough to block the treaty from Senate passage, as treaties submitted to the U.S. Senate require approval of two-thirds of Senators present to be ratified.
In the letter, the senators wrote: “As the treaty process continues, we strongly encourage your administration not only to uphold our country’s constitutional protections of civilian firearms ownership, but to ensure – if necessary, by breaking consensus at the July conference – that the treaty will explicitly recognize the legitimacy of lawful activities associated with firearms, including but not limited to the right of self-defense. As members of the United States Senate, we will oppose the ratification of any Arms Trade Treaty that falls short of this standard.”
“Our country’s sovereignty and the rights of American citizens must not be infringed upon by the United Nations,” Sen. Moran said. “Today, the Senate sends a powerful message to the Obama Administration: an Arms Trade Treaty that does not protect ownership of civilian firearms will fail in the Senate. Our firearm freedoms are not negotiable.”
“The NRA, our four million members and the tens of millions of law-abiding Americans who own firearms will never surrender our right to keep and bear arms to the United Nations,” said Chris Cox, executive director of NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action. “That is why the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty has been met with the full opposition of the NRA. We are grateful for the efforts of these senators, led by Senator Jerry Moran, to oppose this encroachment of international tyranny.”
The U.N. conference on the Arms Trade Treaty is taking place this week in New York City. In October of 2009 at the U.N. General Assembly, the Obama Administration reversed the positions of the two previous Administrations and voted for the U.S. to participate in negotiating the Arms Trade Treaty, purportedly to establish “common international standards for the import, export, and transfer of conventional arms.” However, by threatening to include civilian firearms within its scope, the Arms Trade Treaty could restrict the lawful private ownership of firearms in the United States.
The letter was signed by U.S. Senators Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Max Baucus (D-MT), John Barrasso (R-WY), Mark Begich (D-AK), Roy Blunt (R-MO), John Boozman (R-AR), Richard Burr (R-NC), Bob Casey (D-PA), Dan Coats (R-IN), Tom Coburn (R-OK), Thad Cochran (R-MS), Susan Collins (R-ME), Bob Corker (R-TN), John Cornyn (R-TX), Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Jim DeMint (R-SC), Mike Enzi (R-WY), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Dean Heller (R-NV), John Hoeven (R-ND), Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), James Inhofe (R-OK), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Mike Johanns (R-NE), Ron Johnson (R-WI), Jon Kyl (R-AZ), Mike Lee (R-UT), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Ben Nelson (D-NE), Rand Paul (R-KY), Rob Portman (R-OH), Mark Pryor (D-AR), Jim Risch (R-ID), Pat Roberts (R-KS), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Richard Shelby (R-AL), Olympia Snowe (R-ME), Jon Tester (D-MT), John Thune (R-SD), Pat Toomey (R-PA), David Vitter (R-LA), Jim Webb (D-VA), and Roger Wicker (R-MS).
The full text of the signed letter is below and the PDF version can be found here.