Thomas Gallatin / April 29, 2019

Trump Pulls U.S. Signature From UN Arms Trade Treaty

Citing national sovereignty and the Second Amendment, the president reverses another Obama policy.

“Under my administration we will never surrender American sovereignty to anyone. We will never allow foreign bureaucrats to trample on your Second Amendment freedom. And that is why my administration will never ratify the UN trade treaty,” President Donald Trump said to the crowd at the National Rifle Association’s annual convention in Indianapolis last Friday. He added, “I am officially announcing today that the United States will be revoking the effect of America’s signature from this badly misguided treaty. We’re taking our signature back.”

The UN Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), which Barack Obama signed in 2013 but the Republican controlled Senate never ratified, presented a serious threat to Americans’ Second Amendment rights. The ATT requires governments to keep national records on gun owners and to share those records with the world body, which the NRA observed would mean that U.S. gun policy “could become the rest of the world’s business and subject to its approval, on the pain of trade restrictions if it doesn’t meet ‘international norms.’”

There are two major reasons for objecting to the ATT. First, the UN’s blatant attempted intrusion on U.S. sovereignty — our nation’s cherished right to self-governance. As Trump forcefully declared, “We will never surrender America’s sovereignty to an unelected, unaccountable, global bureaucracy.”

Second, the treaty stood in opposition to Americans’ Second Amendment rights. The purported purpose of the treaty was to prevent the illegal flow of arms from one nation to another. However, the U.S. is not the problem, as the White House statement makes clear: “The United States export controls have long been considered the gold standard for engaging in responsible arms trading and we will continue to use them under our own laws. The ATT is simply not needed for the United States to engage in responsible arms trade.”

Similar to the misguided Paris Accord on climate change, the ATT seeks to blame and hold to account those who are not the offenders, while doing nothing to address those nations that are actually engaging in the irresponsible transfer of arms. It’s the UN looking to exert more control over the law-abiding while ignoring the flippant disregard for international law by the worst offenders. It’s the equivalent to the anti-gun lobby demanding ever-increasing limits to Americans’ Second Amendment rights every time a criminal uses a gun. Thankfully, Trump sees through the ruse and is standing firmly on U.S. sovereignty and Americans’ constitutional rights.

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