House resolution calls on Obama to reject UN arms trade treaty

Several dozen members of the House have introduced a resolution that calls on President Obama not to sign the United Nations's Arms Trade Treaty (ATT). It also demands that if Obama does sign it, the government should not spend any time or money on implementation until the Senate approves it.


The resolution, whose main sponsor is Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Pa.), argues that the ATT does not recognize the right of American citizens to keep and bear arms, and thus threatens to undermine the Second Amendment of the Constitution. The ATT aims to regulate international trade in conventional arms.

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"There is considerable cause for alarm regarding the UN's renewed efforts to forge an Arms Trade Treaty that could trample the constitutional rights of Americans, and could seriously compromise our national security and the security of our allies, whom we will be less able to arm and less quick to defend due to the restrictions placed on us by the ATT," Kelly said Friday. "My colleagues and I stand committed to fighting this threat to our sovereignty and to standing up for the U.S. Constitution, which we are all sworn to support and defend."

Opponents of the treaty noted with alarm that soon after the November election, the U.S. government voted with other nations to advance the ATT at the U.N., and could finalize its contents early next year.

The five-page resolution, H.Res. 814, says the treaty would threaten the rights of U.S. gun owners, and rejects the idea that conventional arms trade needs to be regulated equally in the United States and other countries. The resolution says the treaty "places free democracies and totalitarian regimes on a basis of equality, recognizing their equal right to transfer arms, and is thereby dangerous to the security of the United States."

It says further the treaty could have other consequences, including limiting the right of the United States to offer aid to Taiwan or Israel. And, it argues that the ATT could hurt the U.S. defense manufacturing base, and require costly implementation assistance to other signatory nations.

The resolution concludes by resolving that the president "should not sign the Arms Trade Treaty, and that, if he transmits the treaty with his signature to the Senate, the Senate should not ratify the Arms Trade Treaty."

It adds that if the ATT were signed but not ratified by the Senate, "no Federal funds should be appropriated or authorized to implement the Arms Trade Treaty, or any similar agreement, or to conduct activities relevant to the Arms Trade Treaty, or any similar agreement."

The resolution is co-sponsored by 76 other House members, including some Democrats and key Republicans, such as Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (Mich.), Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (Texas) and Small Business Committee Chairman Sam Graves (Mo.).