Despite strong opposition from Congress and their constituents, Secretary of State John Kerry has vowed the United States will sign the United Nations Small Arms Trade Treaty, giving the international body unprecedented reach into gun regulation. Sixty countries have already added signatures to the treaty and Kerry plans to do the same.
Kerry, releasing a written statement as the U.N. treaty opened for signature Monday, said the U.S. "welcomes" the next phase for the treaty, which the U.N. General Assembly approved on April 2.
"We look forward to signing it as soon as the process of conforming the official translations is completed satisfactorily," he said. Kerry called the treaty "an important contribution to efforts to stem the illicit trade in conventional weapons, which fuels conflict, empowers violent extremists, and contributes to violations of human rights."
There is good news, however. The chances of this thing getting ratified are pretty much zero.
Last week, 130 members of Congress signed a letter to Obama and Kerry urging them to reject the measure for this and other reasons.
"As your review of the treaty continues, we strongly encourage your administration to recognize its textual, inherent and procedural flaws, to uphold our country's constitutional protections of civilian firearms ownership, and to defend the sovereignty of the United States, and thus to decide not to sign this treaty," the lawmakers wrote.
The chance of adoption by the U.S. is slim, even if Obama goes ahead and signs it -- as early as Monday, or possibly months down the road. A majority of Senate members have come out against the treaty. A two-thirds majority would be needed in the Senate to ratify.