As Americans argue over Obamacare, illegal immigration and a variety of other important issues, the very real threat of Second Amendment infringements continues to creep as anti-gun rights advocates seek to approve the United Nations’ Arms Trade Treaty (ATT).
The United Nations General Assembly approved the ATT earlier this year, which has been designed to regulate the traffic and possession of weapons between countries. The treaty has been signed by Secretary of State John Kerry, however the international treaty must be approved by the Senate in order to be recognized.
While Kerry and others try to gain support for the treaty, Tea Party Senator Ted Cruz warns that the Obama Administration is already making the argument that an international treaty supersedes the rights outlined in the Constitution.
Justice Department attorneys are arguing before the Supreme Court a position that undermines American sovereignty. Obama’s Department of Justice is arguing that a law that abides by an international treaty adopted by the U.S. would allow the federal government to prosecute a case that would otherwise be handled by state or local authorities.
The case in question is Bond v. United States, where a woman allegedly used chemical agents for revenge against a woman with whom her husband had an affair. While the use of a weapon would normally fall under the state’s jurisdiction to prosecute, the federal government has gotten involved and seeks to undermine state sovereignty by claiming that the woman is in violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention Implementation Act, the international agreement that Syrian dictator Bashar Assad has been accused of violating.
While the woman’s actions may be heinous, the DOJ’s position, if affirmed, would place the federal government in a position to use international treaties to prosecute American citizens.
“The Constitution created a limited federal government with only specific enumerated powers,” Cruz told said in an interview. “The Supreme Court should not interpret the treaty power in a manner that undermines this bedrock protection of individual liberty.”
Bond’s lawyer similarly agrees, stating,
“The problem here is precisely that Congress, rather than implementing the treaty consistent with our constitutional system of federalism, enacted a statute that, if construed to apply to petitioner’s conduct, would violate basic structural guarantees and exceed Congress’s enumerated powers.”
The issue is much larger than who gets to prosecute the defendant. If this position is allowed to stand, then the federal government is in a position to invoke treaties that run contrary to our constitiuional protections.
If anti-gun rights supporters can garner the necessary votes in the Senate to pass the ATT, then the ATT can be used to restrict American Second Amendment liberties under the authority of the international treaty.
The treaty calls for regulation of firearms and while it’s supporters have claimed that the treaty does not violate our Constitutional rights, the very nature of the treaty’s enforcement suggests otherwise as a registry would be necessary to enforce the provisions of the treaty to crack down on gun trafficking. As the U.N. is largely concerned with where the firearms ultimately end up, it would be impossible to track firearm usage without noting who bought each firearm and when.
Further, the treaty would afford the international community greater powers to regulate arms imports and exports, conceivably allowing for the barring of import or export of certain classes of firearms to and from the U.S. that “endanger women and children.”
With such broad, overreaching outlines as to what the treaty does and does not do, it quite naturally has gun rights advocates worried. The international community is largely unfriendly to the uniquely American concept that firearm ownership is a right and that government is not only allowed to permit such a right, it is duty-bound to uphold and protect that right.
“The Obama administration is once again demonstrating its contempt for our fundamental, individual Right to Keep and Bear Arms,” said Chris W. Cox, executive director of the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action. “This treaty threatens individual firearm ownership with an invasive registration scheme. The NRA will continue working with the United States Senate to oppose ratification of the ATT.”