Thankfully, two members of Congress, Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Penn.) and Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), are standing their ground and leading their colleagues against this bad idea.
Rep. Kelly is fighting any attempt to put limits on the Second Amendment. Though only a freshman Congressman, Kelly understands that international pacts can affect his constituents at home. In early July, he released a carefully-drafted letter to President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, co-signed by 130 members of the House, expressing a broad range of concerns with the potential impact of an ATT.
“The U.N.’s actions to date indicate that the ATT is likely to pose significant threats to our national security, foreign policy, and economic interests as well as our constitutional rights,” Kelly wrote. He urged the Administration to “establish firm red lines” for its negotiating team. One of those lines: Reject “an ATT that infringes on our constitutional rights, particularly the fundamental, individual right to keep and bear arms.” The letter also noted that the Treaty could produce significant job loss across the U.S., damage our defense industrial base, and make it harder for us to arm our allies.
Sen. Moran introduced S. 2205, the Second Amendment Sovereignty Act, in May. By blocking funding, this bill would prevent the Administration from negotiating any Arms Trade Treaty that violated the Second Amendment. Moran argued on the Senate floor that a treaty allowing international bodies to regulate civilian firearms could wind up letting those institutions “restrict the lawful private ownership of firearms in our country.” The Senate is unlikely to ratify any treaty that does this, but Moran was smart to introduce legislation to forbid the Administration from negotiating an ATT that explicitly targets the Second Amendment.
Rep. Kelly and Sen. Moran have shown good conservative leadership. Let’s hope their work, and the expression of concerns from Congress and Second Amendment defenders, limit the risks of this unwise and secretly-drafted treaty.