WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.)and Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) announced the support of 12 freshman senators in joining the Senate’s strong opposition to the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty (ATT). A group of 55 U.S. Senators have now voiced their opposition to ratification of the U.N. ATT and told President Obama that the Senate will not be bound by its obligations. The letter sent to the President today and signed by the 12 new Republican senators builds on the opposition voiced by a bipartisan group of 50 U.S. Senators in 2013 when the Administration signed the U.N. ATT in direct disregard of the Senate’s declared intent to reject ratification. Every member of the Senate Republican Conference has now voiced their opposition to the U.N. ATT.
“The entire Senate Republican Caucus in the 114th Congress is now on record as opposing the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty,” Sen. Inhofe said. “Despite this clear opposition, the president continues to mislead the U.N. by keeping the United States as a signatory nation of a treaty the Senate will not ratify. As threats to our security and that of our allies continues to grow, serious questions surround the treaty regarding its implementation and its effect on our ability to aid and arm our allies, and raises serious concerns regarding our Second Amendment rights. I will continue to work with my colleagues to prevent ratification and ensure our ability to defend ourselves and our allies.”
“Throughout this process, it has been disturbing to watch the Administration reverse U.S. policies, abandon its own ‘red line’ negotiation principles, admit publicly the treaty’s dangerous ambiguity, and hastily review the final treaty text,” Sen. Moran said.
“The Senate opposition to this Treaty in the 114th Congress remains strong and continues to grow. I am proud to lead the new Senate majority in fighting to uphold the fundamental individual rights of Americans by reiterating our rejection of the ATT.”
In the original 2013 letter to the President, the senators outlined the six reasons why they will not give advice and consent to the treaty, and are therefore not bound to uphold the treaty’s object and purpose. Today all twelve freshmen Republican senators have added their signatures to support the effort in opposition of the ATT.
“On October 15, 2013, fifty of our Senate colleagues wrote to you, summarizing the six reasons why they could not give their advice and consent to this treaty. We share their concerns, and we join with them in urging you to notify the treaty depository that the United States does not intend to ratify the Arms Trade Treaty and is therefore not bound by its obligations,” the 12 freshman Republican senators wrote to President Obama.
The six reasons for opposing ratification of the ATT include:
- The treaty failed to achieve consensus, and was adopted by majority vote in the U.N. General Assembly. This violates the red line drawn by the Obama Administration;
- The treaty allows amendments by a three-quarters majority vote, circumventing the power and duty of the U.S. Senate to provide its advice and consent on treaty commitments before they are assumed by the United States;
- The treaty includes only a weak non-binding reference to the lawful ownership, use of, and trade in firearms, and recognizes none of these activities, much less individual self-defense, as fundamental individual rights. This poses a threat to the Second Amendment;
- The State Department has acknowledged that the treaty is “ambiguous.” By becoming party to the treaty, the U.S. would therefore be accepting commitments that are inherently unclear;
- The criteria at the heart of the treaty are vague and easily politicized. They violate the right of the American people, under the Constitution, to freely govern themselves. The language restricts the ability of the United States to conduct its own foreign policy and allows foreign sources of authority to impose judgment or control upon the United States; and
- The State Department has acknowledged that the treaty includes language that could hinder the United States from fulfilling its strategic, legal and moral commitments to provide arms to key allies such as the Republic of China (Taiwan) and the State of Israel.
The letter sent to the White House today is signed by 12 freshman Republican senators, including: Shelly Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), David Perdue (R-Ga.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) and Thom Tillis (R-N.C.).
Please click here to view the letter to the president, or find the full text below:
March 2, 2015
President Barack Obama
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500
Dear President Obama:
We write to express our opposition to the Arms Trade Treaty, and to join the bipartisan majority in the United States Senate that is already committed to opposing its ratification.
On October 15, 2013, fifty of our Senate colleagues wrote to you, summarizing the six reasons why they could not give their advice and consent to this treaty. We share their concerns, and we join with them in urging you to notify the treaty depository that the United States does not intend to ratify the Arms Trade Treaty and is therefore not bound by its obligations.
As members of the Senate, we pledge to oppose the ratification of this treaty, and we give notice that we do not regard the United States as bound to uphold its object and purpose.
We appreciate your consideration on this issue and look forward to your response.