Skip to main content

Obama Administration Defies Will of Congress, Signs UN Arms Trade Treaty

On Sept. 22, President Obama turned a memorial service for the victims of the tragedy at the Washington Navy Yard into a platform to call for a "transformation" of federal gun laws. For his remarks, the president found inspiration for such a transformation in the example set by foreign nations. The president admonished his fellow Americans that gun violence "ought to obsess us" and invoked the United Kingdom and Australia as modeling the correct paradigm. After "just a single mass shooting occurred in those countries," he said, "they €¦ mobilized and they changed €¦."

The extent to which the president seeks international direction for American gun control became even more apparent three days later, when Secretary of State John Kerry, on behalf of the Obama administration, signed the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty despite the objections of the U.S. Congress. At the signing, Secretary Kerry remarked, "The United States is proud to have worked with our international partners in order to achieve this important step towards a €¦ more peaceful world, but a world that also lives by international standards and rules."

The broad and ambiguous language of the ATT poses a significant threat to U.S. gun owners. While it purports to focus on international trade in such items as "[b]attle tanks," "[c]ombat aircraft" and "[w]arships," its inclusion of small arms and light weapons is universally understood to encompass ordinary firearms.  This is underscored by the treaty's non-binding, preambular reference to "the legitimate trade and lawful ownership, and use of certain conventional arms for recreational, cultural, historical, and sporting activities, where such trade, ownership, and use are permitted or protected by law." Battle tanks and warships, needless to say, are rarely used for recreational or sporting activities.


Among many other measures, the treaty establishes factors a participating country would have to consider before authorizing an export of arms to another country, including whether the exported arms would contribute to or undermine peace and security.  To mitigate these supposed risks, the exporting state could extract "confidence building measures" from the importing state. To accomplish this, each importing country must ensure that relevant information is provided to the exporting country, including end use or end user documentation.


In other words, even if the Senate never ratifies the treaty, the United States could be required, as a condition of receiving firearms exported from a participating nation, to hand over lists of individual end users of such guns.  Thus, the stage is set for the United States either to be ostracized as an outlier in the global gun control community or to establish a national registry of firearms imported from other countries, as well as the Americans who own them.

A further threat is posed by the International Small Arms Control Standards (ISACS) Module 03.30, produced as part of the U.N.'s efforts to get countries to "voluntarily" adopt gun control. The standards endorsed are similar to the gun controls now in place in Australia and the UK. While not formally part of the ATT, eventually the ISACS 03.30 standards could be considered best practices to implement the treaty, and the U.S. could face international pressure to incorporate these recommendations into its own law and practices.

Fortunately, strong opposition to the ATT has come from both sides of the aisle in Congress. On October 15,  two letters were sent by 50 U.S. Senators and 181 members of the U.S. House, clearly stating Congress' opposition to the treaty. The Senate letter, led by Jerry Moran (R-Kans.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.V.), concluded by stating that "we pledge to oppose the ratification of this treaty, and we give notice that we do not regard the U.S. as bound to uphold its object and purpose."  Following these two letters, on October 22 an additional letter of opposition was sent to the president by four Democratic senators — Jon Tester, D-Mont.; Max Baucus, D-Mont., Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., and Joe Donnelly, D-Ind. — stating that "because of unaddressed concerns that this Treaty's obligations could undermine our nation's sovereignty and the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Americans, we would oppose the Treaty if it were to come before the U.S. Senate."

To ensure continued opposition in the Congress to this ongoing threat, we urge you to contact your senators and representative to express your firm opposition to this treaty and thank those members who have stood on the side of freedom. You can contact your Senators by phone at (202) 224-3121, and your Representative by phone at (202) 225-3121.


Current Magazine Cover

Enjoy articles like this?

Subscribe to the magazine.

Get access to everything Guns & Ammo has to offer.
Subscribe to the Magazine

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Red vs. Green Lasers: Visibility in Bright Light

Red vs. Green Lasers: Visibility in Bright Light

In this segment of “At The Range,” Handgunning Editor Jeremy Stafford and contributor Patrick Sweeney compare the visibility of red and green lasers in outdoor, sunny conditions.

Cameras Don

Cameras Don't Lie: Subsonic 9mm vs. .300 Blackout

In this segment of "Cameras Don't Lie," a subsonic-ammo showdown, 9mm vs. .300 Blackout fired from AR rifles.

Trijicon

Trijicon's New Specialized Reflex Optics (SRO)

The Trijicon SRO is specifically designed for pistol use. The wide field of view and clean, crisp dot makes it easy for users to find and track the dot in both target and competitive shooting applications.

Shooting 600 Yards with .300 Blackout

Shooting 600 Yards with .300 Blackout

The .300 Blackout cartridge was developed to provide greater effectiveness than a 9mm at short and medium ranges when fired from a short-barreled suppressed firearm. Just because the cartridge wasn't designed to go long doesn't mean Rifles & Optics Editor Tom Beckstrand won't take it there, using a large-format pistol, no less. Armed with SIG Sauer's 9-inch-barreled MCX Virtus Pistol loaded with Black Hills' 125-grain TMK ammunition, Beckstrand attempts to ring steel at 600 yards with help from Hornady's 4DOF ballistic calculator in this segment of “Long Range Tech.”

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

Browning's new Citori 725 Trap Max is a purpose-built competition gun with all the adjustments needed to be competitive right out of the box. With well-figured walnut and polished steel, it looks great, too.Browning Citori 725 Trap Max Shotgun Review Reviews

Browning Citori 725 Trap Max Shotgun Review

Robert W. Hunnicutt - December 29, 2020

Browning's new Citori 725 Trap Max is a purpose-built competition gun with all the adjustments...

The one glaring weakness in the .30-­caliber magnum cartridge lineup is best highlighted by examining the requirement around which Hornady designed the .300 PRC; the requirement came from the U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM). .300 PRC Review Rifle

.300 PRC Review

Tom Beckstrand - March 12, 2019

The one glaring weakness in the .30-­caliber magnum cartridge lineup is best highlighted by...

You might be surprised how many Americans (even gun owners) think machine guns are illegal.Machine Guns — Can You Own One? Rifles

Machine Guns — Can You Own One?

Eric R. Poole - December 15, 2020

You might be surprised how many Americans (even gun owners) think machine guns are illegal.

The Taurus TX22 rimfire shoots like no other.Taurus TX22 Rimfire Review Reviews

Taurus TX22 Rimfire Review

Eric Poole - May 23, 2019

The Taurus TX22 rimfire shoots like no other.

See More Trending Articles

More Industry

Founding Publisher Robert The Star System: Joe Kurtenbach Joins G&A Industry

The Star System: Joe Kurtenbach Joins G&A

Eric R. Poole - November 04, 2020

Founding Publisher Robert "Pete" Petersen believed in the Star System. We still believe in...

Smith & Wesson announced the launch of its new multi-media marketing campaign: Smith & Wesson Gunsmarts.Smith & Wesson Gunsmarts Campaign Industry

Smith & Wesson Gunsmarts Campaign

Guns & Ammo Staff - August 18, 2020

Smith & Wesson announced the launch of its new multi-media marketing campaign: Smith & Wesson...

Perspective from the National Shooting Sports Foundation.NSSF Survey: Broad Demographic Appeal for Firearms Purchases

NSSF Survey: Broad Demographic Appeal for Firearms Purchases

Jim Curcuruto, NSSF Director of Research and Market Development - July 22, 2020

Perspective from the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

We all have mentors in life, but for many of us the most influential among them are our dads. As Father's Day approached, I found myself reflecting on my own.Father's Day Thoughts Industry

Father's Day Thoughts

Keith Wood - August 20, 2020

We all have mentors in life, but for many of us the most influential among them are our dads....

See More Industry

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE Arrow

Buy Digital Single Issues

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Guns & Ammo App

Other Magazines

See All Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Guns and Ammo subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now