“The United States is steadfast in its commitment to achieve a strong and effective Arms Trade Treaty that helps address the adverse effects of the international arms trade on global peace and stability,” read the statement.
With obvious awareness of potential objections to any agreement entered into by the United States that would limit access to arms, Kerry’s statement carefully made a distinction between international and domestic arms exchanges:
The United States could only be party to an Arms Trade Treaty that addresses international transfers of conventional arms solely and does not impose any new requirements on the U.S. domestic trade in firearms or on U.S. exporters. We will not support any treaty that would be inconsistent with U.S. law and the rights of American citizens under our Constitution, including the Second Amendment.
Kerry’s statement was issued in advance of the UN Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), which opened March 18 at UN headquarters in New York and will run through March 28. A statement posted on the conference website noted that this current event was called to conclude the work begun at the UN last July to establish an ATT. The website authors sought to reassure those who might have concerns about the ATT, saying that the treaty will not “interfere with the domestic arms trade and the way a country regulates civilian possession,” but will “aim to create a level playing field for international arms transfers by requiring all States to abide by a set of standards for transfer controls, which will ultimately benefit the safety and security of people everywhere in the world.” (Emphasis added.)
A March 15 report inThe Hill quoted a statement from Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) in opposition to the ATT. “The United Nations’s Arms Trade Treaty contains unnecessarily harsh treatment of civilian-owned small arms, and I urge President Obama to reverse course and block any further negotiations,” Cornyn said on March 15. “Not only would it violate Texans’ Second Amendment rights, including the right to self-defense, it also raises U.S. sovereignty and national security concerns.”
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