The highly disputed US Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), regulating the international trade in conventional arms from small arms to battle tanks, combat aircraft and warships will enter into force on 24 December 2014. The Arms Trade Treaty was approved by the UN General Assembly on 2 April 2013.
For those unfamiliar with the text of the UN’s Arms Trade Treaty, here’s a brief outlook of the most threatening provisions:
• Article 2 of the treaty defines the scope of the treaty’s prohibitions. The right to own, buy, sell, trade, or transfer all means of armed resistance, including handguns, is denied to civilians by this section of the Arms Trade Treaty.
• Article 3 places the “ammunition/munitions fired, launched or delivered by the conventional arms covered under Article 2” within the scope of the treaty’s prohibitions, as well.
• Article 4 rounds out the regulations, also placing all “parts and components” of weapons within the scheme.
• Perhaps the most immediate threat to the rights of gun owners in the Arms Trade Treaty is found in Article 5. Under the title of “General Implementation,” Article 5 mandates that all countries participating in the treaty “shall establish and maintain a national control system, including a national control list.” This list should “apply the provisions of this Treaty to the broadest range of conventional arms.”
• Article 12 adds to the record-keeping requirement, mandating that the list include “the quantity, value, model/type, authorized international transfers of conventional arms,” as well as the identity of the “end users” of these items.
• Finally, the agreement demands that national governments take “appropriate measures” to enforce the terms of the treaty, including civilian disarmament. If these countries can’t get this done on their own, however, Article 16 provides for UN assistance, specifically including help with the enforcement of “stockpile management, disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programs.” In fact, a “voluntary trust fund” will be established to assist those countries that need help from UN peacekeepers or other regional forces to disarm their citizens.
Arguably, the Arms Trade Treaty would become the law of the United States if the Senate were to ratify the treaty.
While that is the process that the Constitution establishes for the implementation of treaties, fundamental principles of construction and constitutional law dictate that no treaty that violates the Constitution can become the supreme law of the land. In the case of the UN’s Arms Trade Treaty, there is no doubt that regardless of presidential signatures or congressional consent, this treaty cannot pass constitutional muster and therefore will never be the valid law of the land.
As reported by New America, the UN gun grab “fails to expressly recognize the fundamental, individual right to keep and to bear arms and the individual right of personal self-defense, as well as the legitimacy of hunting, sports shooting, and other lawful activities pertaining to the private ownership of firearms and related materials, and thus risks infringing on freedoms protected by the Second Amendment.”
Regardless of presidential fervor for the disarmament of law-abiding Americans or the number of votes he and his backers can buy in the Senate, no treaty that violates the Constitution could ever become the law of the land.
To put a finer point on it, Article VI of the Constitution says:
This Constitution, and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the Constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding.
States can sign and ratify the Treaty until it enters into force. After entry-into-force of the Treaty, States can still accede to the Treaty.
How to sign / ratify: a step-by-step guide: How to sign / ratify: a step-by-step guide:
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