Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott wrote a letter to President Obama on Tuesday saying that the state will head to court over the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty should Mr. Obama sign it and the U.S. Senate ratify it.
“The UN has concluded its negotiations on the Arms Trade Treaty,” Mr. Abbot writes. “It is now up to you to sign it — or reject it. Do not sign this treaty.”
Mr. Abbott writes that he understands the apparent purpose is to combat illegal arms trafficking around the world, but that the treaty could draw law-abiding gun owners and gun operators “into a complex web of bureaucratic red tape created by a new department at the UN devoted to overseeing the treaty.”
“As with most so-called international-law documents promulgated by the UN, the draft treaty is not written using the precise, unambiguous language required of a good legal document,” he continues. “Instead, the treaty employs sweeping rhetoric and imprecise terminology that could be used by those who seek to undermine our liberties to impose any number of restrictions on the right of law-abiding Americans to keep and bear arms.”
Darryl G. Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association, said the National Rifle Association and other gun-rights groups have distorted the meaning of the treaty. He said it is about the global trade of dangerous weapons, not individual rights within the United States.
“It does not affect, in any way whatsoever, the ability of an individual American to go down to Kmart and purchase a hunting rifle,” he said. “This is not about what one person in Colorado might sell to a person in Wyoming.”
White House press secretary Jay Carney said Tuesday that the White House was pleased with Tuesday’s overwhelming vote by the U.N. General Assembly to pass the treaty, but “as is the case with all treaties of this nature, we will follow normal procedures to conduct a thorough review of the treaty text to determine whether to sign the treaty.”
The U.S. Senate recently approved a nonbonding amendment opposing the treaty.
Mr. Abbott goes on to write that the U.N. “cannot be trusted” with the United States’ Bill of Rights, and that it includes “foreign governments that have shown hostility to the kinds of constitutional liberties guaranteed to Americans. All Americans are harmed when unaccountable international bodies like the UN are empowered to interfere with our protected freedoms.”
“If the UN Arms Trade Treaty is not stopped at the federal level, I — and my fellow state attorneys general — will take up the fight to preserve the Constitution. Ratification of this treaty would compel immediate legal action to enforce the Constitution’s guarantee that the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed,” he concluded.