I read this fact check article in the AP concerning the controversial Arms Trade Treaty. It would seem that we have nothing to worry about. If the US signs this treaty, it absolutely will not be used to enact gun control here.
Negotiators at the United Nations are working to put final touches on a treaty cracking down on the global, $60 billion business of illicit trading in small arms, a move aimed at curbing violence in some of the most troubled corners of the world. In the United States, gun activists denounce it as an end run around their constitutional right to bear arms.
“Without apology, the NRA wants no part of any treaty that infringes on the precious right of lawful Americans to keep and bear arms,” National Rifle Association Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre told the U.N. this month. “Any treaty that includes civilian firearms ownership in its scope will be met with the NRA’s greatest force of opposition.”
The Constitution’s Second Amendment offers broad protection for weapons ownership by civilians. As recently as 2008, the Supreme Court affirmed this when it struck down a ban on handguns in the District of Columbia, ruling that individuals have a constitutional right to keep guns for self-defense and other purposes. Period.
The court also has ruled separately that treaty obligations may not infringe on individual constitutional protections and rights within U.S. borders. This goes back at least to a 1920 ruling that a migratory bird treaty with Canada, which prohibited the hunting or capturing of certain birds, was an unconstitutional interference with states’ rights under the 10th Amendment.
Treaties are government-to-government agreements and do not subject citizens of one nation to laws of another or to those of an outside body.
Also, the U.N. resolution that authorized drafting of the small arms treaty recognizes the clear-cut right of nations “to regulate internal transfers of arms” and says nothing in the treaty that emerges will affect “constitutional protections on private ownership” of firearms.
Beyond that, there are many court rulings spelling out the limits of treaties. And if an act of Congress is inconsistent with a treaty obligation, the law passed by Congress prevails. Legal scholars say this has been well-established, including a long history of cases involving Indian treaties. Various international treaties with Indian tribes were abrogated by Congress – and courts ruled in favor of Congress, much to the displeasure of the tribes.
They are right, in that no treaty can override any law enacted by Congress and still less the constitution. Somehow, given the Obama administration’s penchant for simply ignoring the law and the constitution, I feel less than reassured, especially when some Supreme Court Justices believe that foreign laws may be used to establish precedents here.
I actually have not paid very much attention to this issue and I can’t comment very much on it. I suspect that the fears of the NRA and others may be exaggerated. I have a feeling, though, that this treaty will be as effective at reducing the international trade in small arms as the Kellog-Briand treaty was in outlawing war.
- FACT CHECK: Treaty unlikely to curb US gun rights (hosted.ap.org)
- Hillary & Barack will BAN GUNS during the UN GUN TREATY on JULY 27, 2012!!!! (askmarion.wordpress.com)
- LaPierre blows whistle on U.N. gun grab (wnd.com)
- Will the NRA kill a global arms trade treaty? (blogs.reuters.com)