US Senate Decisively Rejects U.N. Arms Trade Treaty

By Ted R. Bromund, Ph.D.

Obama No Guns United Nations
Obama No Guns United Nations
The Foundry: Conservative Policy News from The Heritage Foundation
The Foundry: Conservative Policy News from The Heritage Foundation

Washington, DC –-(  The U.S. Senate responded decisively today to Secretary of State John Kerry’s recent signature on the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty (ATT).

In a bipartisan letter led by Senators Jerry Moran (R–KS) and Joe Manchin (D–WV), half of the Senate has officially pledged to oppose the ratification of the ATT.

The signatories include every Republican Senator except Mark Kirk (R–IL) and five Democratic Senators. The letter, with its 50 signatories, ends any prospect in the foreseeable future of Senate ratification of the ATT.

The signatories base their opposition to the treaty on six points, including the Administration’s decision to violate its own red line by backing the adoption of the treaty through a majority-rule vote in the U.N. General Assembly. They also note that, because ATT contains “only a weak non-binding reference to the lawful ownership and use of, and trade in firearms, and recognizes none of these activities, much less individual self-defense, as fundamental individual rights,” it could pose a threat to rights protected under the Second Amendment.

The signatories are also concerned about the vague standards at the heart of the treaty, which they fear will “steadily subject the U.S. to the influence of internationally-defined norms.” They therefore oppose all treaties that “allow foreign sources of authority to impose judgment or control upon the U.S.” With this letter, half of the Senate has therefore rejected the left’s strategy of using transnational norms to remake the United States and its constitutional order.

This rejection will be important in future Senate debates and public consideration of all treaties and other international commitments.

While the Senate has the lead responsibility for treaties, the House must pass any implementing legislation that is necessary to bring a treaty into effect. Because it has the power of the purse, it is also particularly responsible for funding the implementation of the ATT. A bipartisan letter, paralleling the one in the Senate and led by Representatives Mike Kelly (R–PA) and Collin Peterson (D–MN), has been signed by 181 Members—more than 40 percent of the House.

These letters are a milestone in the congressional rejection of the ATT, and the public owes a debt of gratitude to the leaders of these letters. But as vital as these letters are, they are not the end of the story. The State Department accepts under the customary international law of treaties that the U.S. is bound not to violate the “object and purpose” of a signed but unratified treaty. Both Senate and House letters reject this assertion.

The Administration has also implied that it can implement the ATT through its existing authorities and without new appropriations. It is therefore incumbent on the Senate and House to reject this claim (as both the Senate and the House have already done through previous actions), hold appropriate hearings on the treaty and the Administration’s proposed implementation of it, and prepare the way for this President or a future one to “unsign” the ATT and thereby end this dangerous and senseless experiment with a U.N. treaty and its vague standards.

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About Ted R. Bromund, Ph.D.:
Ted R. Bromund studies and writes on British foreign and security policies and Anglo-American relations as senior research fellow in The Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom. He also explains why America must defend and advance its unique leadership role in the world. Visit: to read more.

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how dare this secretary of state & president try and take our 2nd amendment away trough the back door they take a oath to up hold our constitution


Did Kerry not commit a treasonous act by signing?


I hope all will remember for generations to come, HOW we got into this situation in the first place, and more importantly, the TRAITORS that pursued this treaty, signed it, and lied to the American People as to the motives and purpose of this outrageous attempt to circumvent our elected government. Liberal or conservative leanings aside, this treaty and it’s real motives speak Volumes about the character and integrity of the interlopers directly involved. Elected or not, these actions are disgraceful abominations for the leadership of the United States of America.


Glad to see this,I have been e-mailing my Senators everyday asking them to vote against the AT&T,just glad that there still is that vision of freedom alive.Be prepared and ready.Keep your powder dry.


Now we can move on to fighting more of the
‘common sense’ gun control that our own government is forcing down our throats.


It wasn’t that the lawmakers did it for us, but we and all the gun rights groups made them stand up for our 2nd amendment rights. Just something that there should have been no question about. The gun grabber think if they make us do this enough, we will get tired and just go away. Wrong! If we have to do it 500 times a yr., or even take on the UN in a shooting war, to destroy them, we will do it. Don’t be afraid of the UN. They are nothing but paper tiger pussies. Name a war they… Read more »

David Monson

Heartening news. Thanks to all who recognize the danger of a treaty like this one. Don’t let your guard down, this administration is not likely to roll over and play dead.


I am so glad this is now filed garbage.

Ron Utley

WOW, You mean to say our Senate & Congress finally gets something right. I’m totally shocked/surprised!


It’s about time our Senators grew some balls & defied this POS in the White House!!! Too bad they couldn’t get rid of Kerry, along with the ATT !!!!




Color me surprised. In a good way.

Ryan Davenport

A thank you for what? Doing what the constitution enforces regardless? No politician saved any of us from anything… Someone has too much faith in our government, which is why we are in the shape we are now.

Dan Mercer

I too want to thank all the organizations and individuals who wrote many letters, signed petitions, donated funds and time. A big victory for all gun owners and supporters of the second amendment. Hats off to NRA, NAGR, USCC and many others. Thank you.

Raymond Boettner

how about nagr or the National Rifle Association putting together a thank you letter that they could post and everything can sign and submit it to all the Senators and all the congressman that signed this and basically saved our butts