BY LINDA BENTLEY | JULY 18, 2012
Concerns arise over Clinton’s support of UN Arms Trade Treaty
The retired border patrol agent found Udall’s statement regarding the UN’s ‘limited authority to regulate arms within the U.S.’ troubling
WASHINGTON – One of our readers, a retired border patrol agent living in New Mexico, wrote a letter to Sen. Tom Udall, D-NM, voicing his concerns about the impact the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), otherwise known as the UN Small Arms Treaty, would have on our Second Amendment rights.
He found the response he received from Udall, which he shared with Sonoran News, even more troublesome in that Udall seemed to contradict himself from one sentence to the next.
According to Udall, “ATT would implement controls on the international trade of conventional firearms. These controls would help protect against international human rights violations, the breaking of humanitarian law including acts of genocide, or any crime against humanity.
Additionally, ATT would not permit weapons to be transferred if they were intended for use in terrorist attacks, gender based violence, violent crime, or organized crime. Finally, ATT would require countries to provide full annual reports of national arms transfers.”
Udall provided a little history of the treaty and stated it was formally introduced (Resolution 6189) in the United Nations by United Kingdom Ambassador John Duncan on Oct. 18, 2006, with co-authors from Australia, Costa Rica, Finland, Japan, Kenya and Argentina.
While 153 member nations voted in favor of the resolution, the United States cast a dissenting vote.
However, Udall noted, on Oct. 14, 2009, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (r) issued an official statement in support of overturning the United States’ position on the treaty.
ATT is set to be negotiated at a UN conference in 2012 where it will require a full consensus vote.
If it receives the full consensus vote, it will then go to the U.S. Senate, where it would need a two-thirds vote for ratification, meaning 67 votes.
And, President Barack Obama has already indicated he would sign the treaty.
However, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has stated the treaty has little chance of passing and has gained little support in the Senate, mainly due to the fact a number of Democrats are up for reelection in November.
“In terms of the domestic use of the treaty in the United States, the United Nations cannot regulate what is done in any particular state’s borders,” wrote Udall, “ATT would have no effect on Second Amendment rights, as it is meant to protect against international gun trade. Treaties such as ATT have been interpreted by the courts to have limited status domestically.”
However, in the very next sentence, Udall states, “Despite the limited authority of the treaty to regulate arms within the United States, there have been concerns that the ATT would impact Second Amendment rights. In order to assure that these concerns are addressed, on July 26, 2011, I joined several of my Senate colleagues in sending a letter to President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton calling on them to protect Second Amendment rights in any upcoming negotiations of the ATT. The letter also stressed that prior to ratification of the ATT the administration must provide assurances that the treaty will not in any way violate the constitutional rights of American gun owners.”
The retired border patrol agent found Udall’s statement regarding the UN’s “limited authority to regulate arms within the U.S.” troubling and said, “I found that to be conflicting with his previous statement that it would have no effect on the Second Amendment.”
He said the UN’s “limited authority to regulate arms in the U.S. would certainly open the door to expanded regulation and confiscation of privately held firearms.”
The original and primary intent of the Second Amendment was to protect each individual's right to keep and bear arms, and to guarantee that individuals acting collectively, as in “well regulated militia,” could successfully challenge any oppressive government which might arise.
Udall concluded his letter by stating, “For generations, many New Mexicans have exercised this right in a responsible way, and they should be able to continue to do so. They will be able to continue this tradition even if this treaty is put into place. Please be assured that I will keep your thoughts in mind should the Senate consider legislation concerning the ATT in the future.”