United Nations debate over the international Arms Trade Treaty is set to resume in March amid a barrage of criticism.
David Keene, president of the National Rifle Association, described the treaty as a ploy by President Barack Obama to circumnavigate Congress, federal courts and state legislatures in an effort to enforce his firearm agenda, potentially violating the Second Amendment rights of U.S. citizens.
“The president and his people will tell your viewers [the treaty] does not affect the rights of the people of the U.S. It does,” Keene said in an interview with The Daily Caller’s Ginni Thomas. “It requires an international registry of firearms. It charges all signatory countries to set up a regime of firearms ownership and registration in their country consistent with the treaty.”
Keene said Obama is using this international document to bypass congressional, judicial and state legislation in an effort to enforce his agenda on gun control.
“We’ve seen it with other areas, where people have failed to get their goal in Congress, they’ve failed to get their goal in the courts or in the states, and then they’ve said, how can we accomplish what we want to accomplish in another way? So they said, let’s go to the United Nations and try and end-run the Congress, end-run the Constitution, end-run the state legislatures and the federal courts,” Keene said.
“And that’s what the Obama administration is doing with the Arms Trade Treaty at the U.N., and we’re not going to let that happen.”
President Obama first issued a statement of U.S. support for the treaty through Secretary of State Hilary Clinton in October 2009. Even with Obama’s signature, the treaty would still require at least two-thirds of the Senate to approve its ratification to become law.
Meanwhile, supporters of the treaty have denied that it will have any significant effect on domestic gun ownership. (RELATED: Watch the full interview with Keene)
“The Arms Trade Treaty should not in any way handicap the legitimate right of self-defense,” said Thomas Countryman, Assistant Secretary of State and a member of the Bureau for International Security and Nonproliferation at the last treaty conference in New York in July 2012.
Countryman said the treaty seeks international ratification in an effort to curb illicit firearm trafficking, which arms many criminal groups and terrorist organizations while weakening existing legitimate governmental structures.
“We must acknowledge and respect that this negotiation is not an attempt to intrude, either in principle or process, into states’ internal activities, laws, or practices concerning the domestic possession, use, or movement of arms,” Countryman said in his speech. “Rather, this treaty will regulate only the international trade in arms. Any attempt to include provisions in the treaty that would interfere with each state’s sovereign control over the domestic possession, use, or movement of arms is clearly outside the scope of our mandate.”
Treaty negotiations are set to begin on March 18.