Democrats condemn Trump’s ‘myopic’ decision to withdraw.
President Trump has announced that the United States will stop ratification of the multi-billion dollar United Nations Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) and withdraw from it, calling it “badly misguided” and a threat to American freedoms.
Addressing the National Rifle Association (NRA) in Indianapolis Friday, the president said the UN will soon receive “formal notice that America is rejecting this treaty,” and he would revoke America’s status as a signatory of the arms trade treaty regulating conventional weapons including small arms, battle tanks, combat aircraft and warships.
In front of the cheering crowd Trump said, “I will sign right now, in front of a lot of witnesses, a message asking the Senate to discontinue the treaty ratification process, and to return the now-rejected treaty to me, to the Oval Office, where I will dispose of it.”
Trump added: “Under my administration, we will never surrender American sovereignty to anyone. We will never allow foreign bureaucrats to trample on your second amendment freedom. I’m officially announcing today that the United States will be revoking the effect of America’s signature from this badly misguided treaty.”
The ATT is a multilateral arms control agreement that regulates the international weapons trade. It was signed by President Obama in 2013, but never ratified by the Senate to become US law.
Conservative groups such as the NRA have voiced opposition to the treaty for years, arguing that its regulations seek to bypass the Second Amendment to the Constitution and impose domestic gun bans in the US.
The ATT’s stated goal is to “reduce human suffering caused by illegal and irresponsible arms transfers” and promote “accountability and transparency by state parties concerning transfers of conventional arms.”
While its proponents say the ATT does not impact a signatory state’s domestic gun control laws or firearms ownership policies, it does require members to “establish and maintain a national control system,” run by “competent national authorities.”
Some 130 countries have signed the treaty, and it is currently force in 100 of them, according to the UN.
The Guardian reports:
The US signed the treaty in 2013 but never ratified it. The NRA has long claimed the treaty poses a threat to the second amendment. On Friday its members stood, applauded and chanted “USA! USA!” as Trump signed a letter to Congress halting the ratification process, then tossed his pen into the crowd.
A delighted Chris Cox, executive director of the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action, said: “Barack Obama and John Kerry tried to force us to accept international gun control under the power of the UN, but Donald Trump has said: ‘Not on my watch.’”
But the move drew sharp criticism.
Bob Menendez, top Democrat on the Senate foreign relations committee, said: “This is yet another myopic decision that jeopardizes US security based on false premises and fear mongering. While Americans from all walks of life have come to painfully understand the threat posed by not doing enough to prevent weapons from ending up in the wrong hands, it is disturbing to see this administration turn back the clock on the little progress we have made to prevent illicit arms transfers.”
The Senate has so far failed to approve the treaty because of Republicans’ “paralyzing fear of backlash from the NRA”, Menendez added. “This is another reminder that if we’re going to get anywhere to break the inaction on the kind of commonsense steps to stop gun violence and keep people safe, we must stop letting the NRA set the agenda in Washington.” Continue reading here.