Forty-five Republican senators have raised concerns with President Barack Obama about the potential impact of a United Nations arms trade treaty on the rights of American gun owners and manufacturers.
In a recent letter to Obama, the senators threatened to oppose ratification of the treaty, which requires a two-thirds vote for Senate passage, if it restricts the Second Amendment rights of Americans regarding the purchase and sale of firearms.
“Our Second Amendment is non-negotiable,” Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah said in a statement released by his office Monday. “We don’t need a bunch of bureaucrats at the United Nations dictating our liberties and freedoms. This Treaty should not be ratified and I will fight it tooth and nail.”
The arms trade pact is currently being negotiated with U.S. participation; the goal is to create “common international standards” for the import and export of conventional weapons. A draft of the treaty has not even been completed, but the senators wanted to make their views known far in advance of an anticipated 2012 conference finalizing an agreement.
“As the treaty process continues, we strongly encourage your Administration to uphold our country’s constitutional protections of civilian firearms ownership,” the senators wrote in their letter to the president. “These freedoms are not negotiable, and we will oppose ratification of an Arms Trade Treaty presented to the Senate that in any way restricts the rights of law-abiding U.S. citizens to manufacture, assemble, possess, transfer or purchase firearms, ammunition and related items.”
Among the senators signing the letter, which has the strong backing of the National Rifle Association (NRA), was Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Jerry Moran of Kansas. The NRA has praised Moran for his “tenacious efforts” in Congress to raise concerns about the treaty negotiations.
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