While the vote may only be symbolic, it’s still important. In case you missed it in my brief rundown of amendments to the budget, it’s worth mentioning once more.
Early Saturday morning, Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) presented an amendment to the budget that would prevent the United States from entering into the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty, which opponents say could put Second Amendment rights at risk:
In the pre-dawn hours Saturday, the Senate approved a measure “to uphold Second Amendment rights and prevent the United States from entering into the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty.”
By a vote of 53-46, the Senate passed the amendment to the budget bill sponsored by Senator Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.).
“We’re negotiating a treaty that cedes our authority to have trade agreements with our allies in terms of trading arms,” Inhofe before the vote on his amendment. “This is probably the last time this year that you’ll be able to vote for your Second Amendment rights.”
According to a story in The Hill, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) proposed his own amendment “that clarified that under current U.S. law, treaties don’t trump the Constitution and that the United States should not agree to any arms treaty that violates the Second Amendment rights.” Leahy’s amendment also passed.
Click here to see how your senators voted.
The United Nations is currently holding negotiations on the treaty in New York City. The most recent draft document has some concerning stuff, particularly a requirement for countries to track gun ownership:
Article 11 of conference president Peter Woolcott’s latest draft proposal of the ATT requires state parties to “maintain national records” of the small arms located within their national borders.
Section 3 of Article 11 sets out the data these registries should contain. “Each state party is encouraged to include in those records the quantity, value, model/type” of small arms owned in the nation, as well as the name of the “end user.”
This list will be kept for 10 years, according to another section of Article 11.
The prospect of such a registration being carried out in the United States should offend every American who believes that the right to keep and bear arms is crucial to the defense of all other rights, and that the forced disclosure to the federal government (or any local government acting under the authority of the federal government) of the amount and type of weapons one owns is the first step toward banning of personal ownership of firearms.
If the Obama Administration does agree to the treaty, it would still have to be ratified by the Senate. Based on Saturday’s vote, there next to no chance that would happen.