- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Secretary of State John F. Kerry said Monday the United States will sign on to a U.N. treaty on arms control, over the objections of many in Congress who say the global document would clamp down on America’s Second Amendment.

The U.S. “welcomes” the next step in treaty ratification, Mr. Kerry said in a statement reported by Fox News and issued the same day the United Nations held a formal signing ceremony on New York.

“We look forward to signing it as soon as the process of conforming the official translation is completely satisfactorily,” he said, as Fox News reported. “[The treaty is] an important contribution to efforts to stem the illicit trade in conventional weapons, which fuels conflict, empowers violent extremists and contributes to violations of human rights.”

One aspect of the treaty mandates that participating nations shape regulations that control and stem the tide of arms transfers around the world. Another is to regulate arms brokers — and some see that provision as a backdoor crackdown on gun dealers. The treaty does not explicitly target gun markets within a nation’s borders, Fox News reported, but rather only those taking place on a global scale.

Still, Congress isn’t satisfied that the terms of the treaty won’t be expanded and used as justification to tamp U.S. gun rights further. Last week, 130 lawmakers sent a letter to President Obama and Mr. Kerry, urging them to reconsider signing the treaty.

“As your review of the treaty continues, we strongly encourage your administration to recognize its textual, inherent and procedural flaws, to uphold our country’s constitutional protections of civilian firearms ownership and to defend the sovereignty of the United States, and thus decide not to sign this treaty,” they wrote, as Fox News reported.

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For the treaty to take root on American soil, the Senate would have to ratify it.

• Cheryl K. Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com.

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