State Dept. says UN arms treaty won't 'handicap' Second Amendment rights

The United States will not allow the United Nations to impose any restrictions on Americans' gun rights, the Obama administration declared Friday, as the first week of negotiations on an international arms trade treaty came to a close.


“The Arms Trade Treaty will not in any way handicap the legitimate right of self-defense,” Acting Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Rose Gottemoeller said in a tweet.

The tweet links to a list of “redlines” the administration has established for the treaty, which aims to “establish common international standards for the import, export, and transfer of conventional arms to help prevent the acquisition of arms by terrorists, criminals, and those who violate human rights or are subject to UN arms embargoes.” The United Nations is scheduled to spend all month trying to devise a treaty that all its members can agree to.

Some 130 lawmakers sent President Obama a letter last week expressing opposition to the pending treaty if it impinges on gun rights and U.S. sovereignty in any way. The administration's “redlines,” as published on the State Department web site, aim to assuage those concerns:

                                        Key U.S. redlines

• The Second Amendment to the Constitution must be upheld.

• There will be no restrictions on civilian possession or trade of firearms otherwise permitted by law or protected by the U.S. Constitution.

• There will be no dilution or diminishing of sovereign control over issues involving the private acquisition, ownership, or possession of firearms, which must remain matters of domestic law.

• The U.S. will oppose provisions inconsistent with existing U.S. law or that would unduly interfere with our ability to import, export, or transfer arms in support of our national security and foreign policy interests.

• The international arms trade is a legitimate commercial activity, and otherwise lawful commercial trade in arms must not be unduly hindered.

• There will be no requirement for reporting on or marking and tracing of ammunition or explosives.

• There will be no lowering of current international standards.

• Existing nonproliferation and export control regimes must not be undermined.

• The ATT negotiations must have consensus decision making to allow us to protect U.S. equities.

• There will be no mandate for an international body to enforce an ATT.