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Gun Owners of America
Senator Moran Circulates Letter to Repudiate
the UN Small Arms Treaty

"[GOA's Larry] Pratt also contends that the U.N. has a terrible track record in protecting human life. He said the horrors in Rwanda are a perfect example of why the U.N. has no business deciding who should and should not have access to guns." -- WorldNetDaily, June 2013

When you're dealing with an adversary who hates the 2nd Amendment as much as Barack Obama, you have to fight attacks coming from several different directions.

We know we've thrown a lot at you lately. But there's one other issue we'd like to bring to your attention.

As you know, the Obama administration recently signed the virulently anti-gun UN Arms Trade Treaty (ATT).

Although purporting to regulate international trade in arms, the treaty empowers anti-gun administrations (such as Barack Obama's) to institute internal gun control, including gun bans, gun registration, and more. In fact, the drafters of the treaty made no secret of their goal of imposing measures such as microstamping on countries like the United States.

GOA's legislative counsel has done a word-by-word analysis of the treaty, which can be seen here. If left unchecked, the treaty language will give rise a wide ranging series of gun control restrictions, as mentioned above.

Plus, it is entirely possible that, under the Supreme Court cases of Missouri v. Holland and Reid v. Covert, Obama could implement these restrictions without further legislation. After all, we've already seen the President do an end-around Congress by issuing over 20 executive actions this year.

Gun owners will rightfully counter that the UN -- or the Congress or President for that matter -- has NO AUTHORITY to impose any of these gun restrictions upon us. And those gun owners would be absolutely correct!

But if the President begins illegally implementing the UN treaty "by executive fiat" -- just as he has done through other executive actions -- then good people will go to jail for resisting these efforts and will have to defend their rights in court for simply exercising rights that were given to them by God.

This is why we have to raise a holy fuss right now, and thankfully, there are efforts underway in the Senate to do just that.

Earlier this year, with our support, an amendment offered by Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) to defund the ATT passed the Senate by a vote of 53-46. But that vote never became law.

Now, Senator Moran (R-KS) is circulating a letter calling upon the administration to withdraw its support of the treaty. A copy of that letter can be seen here.

The Moran letter raises six problems with the treaty that should be alarming, even to Senators who are not strongly pro-gun. These include the fact that the ATT was slammed through without consensus … it's ambiguous … and it can be amended (and made even more restrictive) by the other nations which are parties to the treaty.
 

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Analysis of the UN Arms Trade Treaty (ATT)

by Mike Hammond

The United Nations Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) was scheduled for approval in the UN last year, in July, but was suddenly pulled off the table because Barack Obama thought (correctly) that it would destroy his reelection prospects. Interestingly, in considering Obama's honesty and motives, the treaty was resurrected within a day or so after the November election.

Given Obama's record of expansively interpreting statutes -- and even ignoring them -- we have to assume that the ATT would be implemented in the broadest possible manner. And, because under cases interpreting Article I and the Supremacy Clause, a treaty has the force of law, no further congressional action would be necessary for the ATT gun bans and registration to be put into effect.

With this in mind, briefly, the ATT would:

- ban large categories of firearms, including semi-automatics and handguns;

- require universal gun registration and licensure;

- require microstamping and, through that requirement, effectively ban most guns and ammunition.

Preliminary Observations: Preambles are not legally binding

The administration's primary means of political "cover" consists of items in the preamble that supposedly gives a nod to the existence of the Second Amendment. These items talk about "the sovereign right of any State to regulate and control conventional arms exclusively within its territory [emphasis added]" and "use of certain conventional arms for recreational, cultural, historical, and sporting activities…"

If anything, these statements, because of their omissions, make things worse than if they hadn't been included at all. The gun control advocates crafting this treaty, for example, fail, in their finding, to acknowledge the legitimate use of firearms for self-defense. And they understand, but don't admit, that they will argue that no firearms sales in America are "exclusively" within our territory, given the bleeding of arms across the border to Mexican drug cartels.

But even if the preamble were perfect, as a general rule preambles and findings are meaningless and do not have the force of law. True, a judge intent on reaching a particular outcome can draw from any source that suits his fancy. That said, findings and preambles which are not echoed in the binding language of the text are not worth the paper they're written on.

Handgun and Semi-Auto Bans

A couple of preliminary observations:

First, Article 2 states that the treaty applies to, inter alia, "Small arms and light weapons."

Second, Article 1 states that one of the two objects of the treaty is to "[p]revent and eradicate the illicit trade in conventional arms… for the purpose of…[r]educing human suffering." (No exclusion is made for domestic sales and possession of firearms.) In judging whether or not "illicit" sales are being used as a pretext for regulation of legal sales, note that we have spent all year fighting regulation of LEGAL firearms sales being pushed by an organization which styles itself as Mayors Against Illegal Guns.

Third, Article 5 states that "[e]ach State Party is encouraged to apply the provisions of this Treaty to the broadest range of conventional arms." [Emphasis added]

Fourth, the United States, even if it withdraws from the treaty, may "not be discharged, by means of its withdrawal, from the obligations arising from this Treaty while it was a Party…" Hence, the United States could be barred from repealing its national gun registry.

Fifth, under Article 17, the treaty will be interpreted by a Conference of State Parties, and, under Article 20, after six years, can be amended by a three-fourths vote. Although the United States must accept the amendment to be bound, it appears that the acceptance can be accomplished by the unilateral action of the president.

Article 9, purporting to deal with "Transit or trans-shipment," states: "Each State Party shall take appropriate measures to regulate, where necessary and feasible, the transit…under its jurisdiction of conventional arms…through its territory…"

Note that the breadth of the language of Article 9, which far exceeds its intended purpose: Transport of a gun from California to New York (or even from your home to your place of business) is transportation "through the territory of the United States" -- and appears to be capable of being regulated in any way the Obama administration deems "appropriate."

Article 9 imposes no limitations whatsoever on the types of regulations which can be imposed, including gun bans and microstamping requirements.

Furthermore, Article 14 provides, in its entirety:

"Each State Party shall take appropriate measures to enforce national laws AND REGULATIONS that implement the provisions of this treaty." [Emphasis added]

Therefore, if, under Article 9, the government is given a carte blanche to regulate guns, under Article 14, it is authorized to regulate by administrative fiat.

Gun Registration

Article 5 states that "[e]ach State Party shall establish and maintain a national control list, in order to implement the provisions of this Treaty." The term "national control list" is nowhere defined, which means that the Obama administration will define it. (Take into consideration the effort and political capital Obama has expended in order to establish a de facto gun registry by legislation.)

The article goes on to provide that "[e]ach State Party, pursuant to its national laws, shall provide its national control list to the Secretariat, which shall make it available to other State Parties." [Emphasis added]

Finally, Article 5 states that "[e]ach State Party shall take measures necessary to implement the provisions of this Treaty and shall designate competent national authorities in order to have an effective and transparent national control system regulating the transfer of conventional arms…" [Emphasis added]

It is inconceivable that, in Obama's eyes, an "effective national control system regulating the transfer of conventional arms" would not include a universal background check and national gun registry.

Article 12 states that "[e]ach State Party is encouraged to maintain records of conventional arms…that are transferred to its territory as the final destination." These records would include, but not be limited to "the quantity, value, model/type, authorized international transfers of conventional arms covered under Article 2(1), conventional arms actually transferred, details of exporting State(s), importing State(s), transit and trans-shipment State(s), and end users…"

Article 11 requires each "State Party involved in the transfer of conventional arms," which surely includes the United States, to "take measures to prevent their diversion." Remember that, for the ostensible purpose of preventing arms from going to drug cartels in Mexico, Attorney General Eric Holder established an illegal system requiring the reporting of guns purchased in certain states.

Summary

At the beginning, I state some of the probable regulations which would be implemented by executive fiat pursuant to the ATT, if it were ratified by us.

These horror stories were chosen because these are some of the types of gun control that are being sought by Obama or are being imposed by some of the more anti-gun states.

But, in truth, there is no limit to the imposition of gun control which someone like Barack Obama could achieve, without legislative action, using this treaty as justification.
 

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Wednesday, 02 October 2013 19:44 Written by Senator Jerry Moran

October 10, 2013

President Barack Obama

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW

Washington, DC 20500

Dear President Obama:

We write to express our concern and regret at your decision to sign the United Nations' Arms Trade Treaty. For the following reasons, we cannot give our advice and consent to this treaty:

First, the treaty was adopted by a procedure which violates a red line laid down by your own administration. In October 2009, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stated that the U.S. supported the negotiation of the treaty only by "the rule of consensus decision-making." But in April 2013, after the treaty failed to achieve consensus, it was adopted by majority vote in the U.N. General Assembly. We fear that this capitulation has done grave damage to the diplomatic credibility of the United States.

Second, the treaty allows amendments by a three-quarters majority vote. As the treaty is amended, it will become a source of political and legal pressure on the U.S. to comply in practice with amendments it was unwilling to accept. This would circumvent the power and duty of the Senate to provide its advice and consent on treaty commitments before they are assumed by the United States.

Third, the treaty includes only a weak preambular reference to the lawful ownership and use of, and trade in firearms, and recognizes none of these activities, or individual self-defense, as fundamental individual rights. It creates a national "responsibility" to "prevent . . . [the] diversion" of firearms, a requirement that could justify the imposition of controls within the U.S. that would pose a threat to the Second Amendment and infringe on the rights protected therein.

Fourth, the State Department has acknowledged that the treaty is "ambiguous." By becoming party to the treaty, the U.S. would therefore be accepting commitments that are inherently unclear. The Senate cannot effectively provide advice on an ambiguous treaty, and it should never provide its consent to such a treaty.

Fifth, the criteria at the heart of the treaty are vague and easily politicized. They will restrict the ability of the U.S. to conduct our own foreign policy, and will steadily subject the U.S. to the influence of internationally-defined norms, a process that would impinge on our national sovereignty. We believe that treaties which allow foreign sources of authority to impose judgment or control upon the US, as this one does, violate the right of the American people, under the Constitution, to freely govern themselves.

Sixth, the State Department has acknowledged that "specific . . . country concerns, including Taiwan, China, and the Middle East, create challenges for establishing [treaty] criteria that can be applied without exception and fit U.S. national security interests. These concerns would make Senate ratification difficult." We are indeed deeply concerned that the treaty criteria as established could hinder the United States in fulfilling its strategic, legal, and moral commitments to provide arms to key allies such as the Republic of China (Taiwan) and the State of Israel.

We urge you to notify the treaty depository that the U.S. does not intend to ratify the Arms Trade Treaty, and is therefore not bound by its obligations. As members of the Senate, 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.

We appreciate your consideration on this issue and look forward to your response.

Sincerely,
 

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Dear Mr. Dunham,

Thank you for contacting me to express your opposition to the United Nations (UN) Treaty to regulate small arms. It is good to hear from you.

Like you, I am vehemently opposed to the U.S. signing any UN Treaty that would regulate small arms. I believe this is a backdoor way to chip away at every law abiding citizen's right to keep and bear arms. As you know, the Obama Administration has expressed an interest in international small arms control initiatives that were resisted previously by the Bush Administration. Even though the Obama Administration signed the U.S. as a party to the treaty, it still has to be ratified by 2/3 of the U.S. Senate. I continue to be actively involved with some of my colleagues in gathering information and educating other Senators and the general public to prove that this treaty is unnecessary and unconstitutional. Besides signing onto a letter circulated during the 112th Congress to both President Obama and then-Secretary Clinton expressing overwhelming opposition to such a treaty, I am a proud original cosponsor of S.Con.Res.7. This concurrent resolution, introduced by Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS) on March 13, 2013, states that the President should not sign the Arms Trade Treaty and that if he does in fact sign and transmit it to the Senate, the Senate should not ratify the treaty. I believe in upholding our Constitution and will not support restrictions on the Second Amendment rights and freed oms of United States citizens. Please be assured that I will continue to monitor this issue closely and I will oppose this treaty should it come to the floor of the U.S. Senate.

Again, thank you for contacting me on this very important issue. Please be sure to visit our website at www.boozman.senate.gov . I look forward to your continued correspondence.

Sincerely,
John Boozman
U.S. Senator
 
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