America’s incredibly deficient leadership has exposed itself again. That anyone holding a high position within our government would advocate ceding the people’s rights to the United Nations may be hard to believe. Yet, President Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry, and a sizable number of senators and representatives fit that description regarding the people’s right to keep and bear arms.
When President Obama offered himself for reelection in 2012, he objected to the UN Arms Trade Treaty. But he promptly reversed himself after winning the election, and then appointed John Kerry, a treaty proponent, as secretary of state. As The New American’s Joe Wolverton has stated, “there would be no treaty” if Obama’s previous objections had not been withdrawn.
Now backed by America’s president, the UN produced its Arms Trade Treaty that, among other outrages, mandates that all nations create: 1) a registry of gun owners, manufacturers and traders; and 2) a mechanism that would prevent private individuals from purchasing ammunition. Does this amount to a proposed cancellation of the Second Amendment? You bet it does!
Actually, it’s even more than that. It’s a direct attack on the fundamental premise of our nation, the acknowledgement that rights are God-given, not the gift of some government. Our Declaration of Independence states that “Men are endowed by their Creator” with rights. The UN’s 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights turns that on its head and proclaims that rights “are granted [by a] constitution or by law.” And the UN’s 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights repeats the outrage when it lists numerous rights without mentioning God as their source, and then discusses “restrictions ... provided by law.” The contrast between the UN’s attitude and the attitude of our nation regarding rights becomes even more clear when one considers the first few words of the Bill of Rights: “Congress shall make no law....” If the United States submits to this UN Arms Trade Treaty, Americans will soon have no rights.
Back in July 2012, negotiators at a UN meeting failed to complete a UN Arms Trade Treaty when the United States said more time was needed to finalize an agreement. However, on November 7, the very next day after Obama was reelected, the Obama administration cast a vote at the UN calling for a “Final United Nations Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty” to be held in New York City March 18-28, 2013.
Nonetheless, even with the support of the U.S. delegation, this “final” conference on the Arms Trade Treaty failed to adopt its newly negotiated treaty at the close of the conference on March 28 due to a requirement for adoption by consensus and the refusal of three nations — Iran, Syria, and North Korea — to join the consensus.
Next, with the full support of the U.S. delegation to the UN Conference on the ATT, the treaty was sent on to the UN General Assembly, which approved it by 154 to 3 on April 2. The United States voted for approval of the treaty. There were 23 abstentions including Russia and China. Only a majority vote was needed for adoption by the General Assembly.
Earlier, on March 23, the U.S. Senate approved an amendment to its budget bill (S. Con. Res. 8) sponsored by Senator Inhofe (R-Okla.). The amendment’s purpose was to “uphold the Second Amendment rights and prevent the United States from entering into the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty.” The tally was 53 to 46 with Lautenberg (D-N.J.) not voting. This is hardly an overwhelming indication of support for the most important portion of our nation’s Bill of Rights. However, should the treaty eventually come before the Senate, approval by two-thirds would be needed for ratification. Below, we list the 46 senators who cast a negative vote on the Inhofe measure (Amendment 39 to S. Con. Res. 8) and suggest that constituents of these 46 send them messages telling them to reverse their attitude and vote against approval if and when the UN Arms Trade Treaty is considered.
The 46 senators who refused to support Senator Inhofe’s amendment to the budget bill (all Democrats except for Independents King of Maine and Sanders of Vermont) are:
Baldwin (Wis.), Baucus (Mont.), Bennet (Colo.), Blumenthal (Conn.), Boxer (Calif.), Brown (Ohio), Cantwell (Wash.), Cardin (Md.), Carper (Del.), Casey (Pa.), Coons (Del.), Cowan (Mass.), Durbin (Ill.), Feinstein (Calif.), Franken (Minn.), Gillibrand (N.Y.), Harkin (Iowa), Hirono (Hawaii), Johnson (S.D.), Kaine (Va.), Klobuchar (Minn.), Landrieu (La.), Leahy (Vt.), Levin (Mich.), McCaskill (Mo.), Menendez (N.J.), Merkley (Ore.), Mikulski (Md.), Murphy (Conn.), Murray (Wash.), Nelson (Fla.), Reed (R.I.), Reid (Nev.), Rockefeller (W.Va.), Schatz (Hawaii), Schumer (N.Y.), Shaheen (N.H.), Stabenow (Mich.), Udall (Colo.), Udall (N.M.), Warner (Va.), Warren (Mass.), Whitehouse (R.I.), and Wyden (Ore.).
Although as of April 5 President Obama has not stated whether he intends to sign the ATT and send it to the Senate for approval, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) has acknowledged that the treaty does require the Senate’s ratification.
In another indication of resistance to the treaty, Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) has already gathered 32 cosponsors on S. Con. Res. 7, which declares that: 1) the president should not sign the treaty; and 2) the Senate should not approve it if he does sign it. Also, there is a companion measure, H. Con. Res. 23, in the House offered by Representative Mike Kelly (R-Pa.). Although the House has no formal role regarding a treaty, objections to this UN-sponsored pact by House members is helpful. The Kelly measure has already gained 129 cosponsors. Messages to House members asking for support for this measure are also recommended.
There is always the danger that Mr. Obama will resort to the use of an Executive Order to saddle our nation with this treaty if the Senate refuses to ratify it. Such a move on his part would, of course, be a gross violation of the U.S. Constitution. But violations of the Constitution are occurring regularly. We will be carefully watching for developments regarding the UN Arms Trade Treaty. In the meantime, messages to members of both Houses of Congress are needed.
Contact your senators and representative regarding the UN's ATT. Urge the 46 senators (see above) who voted against the Inhofe Amendment 39 to S. Con. Res. 8 to reconsider and vote against ratification if and when the ATT is submitted to the Senate. Thank the senators who voted for the Inhofe Amendment and urge them to vote against ratification. Ask all the senators and representatives to cosponsor and vote for S. Con. 7 in the Senate and H. Con. 23 in the House.
(This article was originally published in the May 2013 issue of the JBS Bulletin.)