Moran rallies 50 senators to oppose arms treaty

The U.N.’s 193 members have until Friday to reach an agreement to the treaty to regulate weapons exports. A first draft released Tuesday angered advocacy groups who want the treaty’s provisions strengthened before the treaty is finalized.

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Moran’s letter, sent to President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonClinton trolls Trump with mock letter from JFK to Khrushchev Trump-Graham relationship tested by week of public sparring Sunday shows — Mulvaney seeks to tamp down firestorm over quid pro quo comments, Doral decision MORE, said the draft treaty implies an expansion of federal firearms controls that would be “unacceptable” by Second Amendment grounds.

“Today, the Senate sends a powerful message to the Obama Administration: an Arms Trade Treaty that does not protect ownership of civilian firearms will fail in the Senate,” Moran writes. “Our firearm freedoms are not negotiable.”

Moran’s letter is signed by all but four Republicans, and eight Democrats are also on board.

The Republicans not on the letter are Sens. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainCummings to lie in state at the Capitol Elizabeth Warren should concern Donald Trump 'bigly' Lawmakers toast Greta Van Susteren's new show MORE (Ariz.), Richard Lugar (Ind.), Scott Brown (Mass.) and Mark KirkMark Steven Kirk10 top Republicans who continue to deny the undeniable GOP senator says he doesn't remember signing 2016 letter urging 'reform' of Ukraine prosecutor's office The 13 Republicans needed to pass gun-control legislation MORE (Ill.).

When asked about not being on Moran’s letter, McCain, Lugar and Brown all told The Hill they were not familiar with Moran’s letter opposing the treaty. Kirk has been away from the Senate after suffering a stroke.

While not signing on with Moran’s letter does not mean the senators won’t eventually oppose the treaty — as the details have not been finalized yet — the NRA could try to make it a political problem for senators on the fence.

The CEO of the powerful gun lobby, Wayne LaPierre, said in his speech at the arms treaty conference that 58 senators were lined up to oppose the treaty, based on a Senate letter from 2011.

If the 51 senators on Moran’s letter remain opposed to the treaty’s final language, it will effectively kill any chance of ratification, which would need a two-thirds vote.

Supporters of the treaty have argued that the Second Amendment concerns being raised are invalid, because the Constitution would already trump any international law.

They argue that the treaty would bring much of the world in line with U.S. standards without affecting laws that govern domestic sales, and that removing civilian arms from the treaty would leave it gutted.

The Bush administration was opposed to the treaty, but the Obama administration reversed the U.S. position and signed onto the effort.