More than 130 congressmen, led by Rep. Mike Kelly, R-Pa., signed a letter sent to President Barack Obama Monday expressing their opposition to a U.N. arms trade treaty if it violates U.S. gun owner rights and sovereignty.
The United Nations is starting a month-long negotiation for a long-delayed treaty on international standards for importing and exporting conventional weapons.
Proponents say the treaty will simply replicate U.S. standards in much of the rest of the world without affecting domestic gun sales, The Hill
reports. But gun rights activities are concerned.
“The UN's actions to date indicate that the ATT [United Nations Arms Trade Treaty] is likely to pose significant threats to our national security, foreign policy, and economic interests as well as our constitutional rights,” the letter states. “The U.S. must establish firm red lines for the ATT and state unequivocally that it will oppose the ATT if it infringes on our rights or threatens our ability to defend our interests.”
The letter includes specific demands — that the treaty leave out small arms and ammunition and recognize an individual’s right to self-defense.
The National Rifle Association (NRA) applauded the letter. “Any international ATT that in any way, shape or form affects the constitutional rights of American gun owners is unacceptable,” Chris Cox, executive director of the NRA's Institute for Legislative Action, said in a statement. “International organizations and foreign governments do not have the right to restrict the fundamental freedoms handed down to us from our Founding Fathers.”
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