Twelve Democratic senators have joined 45 Republicans in a fast growing move to halt an Obama-backed United Nations effort that could bring international gun control into the United States and place America's gun owners under severe restrictions.
The U.N. Arms Trade Treaty, which the Bush administration had opposed, would regulate international trade of arms. It would cover the trading of conventional firearms likes those used by collectors and sportsmen and women, according to an article published Thursday by U.S. News and World Report. The United States is the world's largest exporter of arms, and the goal of the treaty is to come up with internationally recognized rules governing the trade of guns and ammo, the article states.
Montana Democratic Sen. Jon Tester's office issued a letter, signed by 11 other Democrats, urging the president to press for significant changes in the treaty. Their major concern: that domestic manufacture, possession, and sales of firearms and ammo will be included - thereby giving an international authority the right to regulate arms sales already protected by the Second Amendment. The letter also states that any move for an international gun registry "would be a non-starter."
A similar letter circulated by Kansas Republican Sen. Jerry Moran - bearing 45 additional signatures - expresses a similar sentiment.
"Our country's sovereignty and the Second Amendment rights of American citizens must not be infringed upon by the United Nations," Moran wrote in the letter. "Today, the Senate sends a powerful message to the Obama Administration: an Arms Trade Treaty that does not protect ownership of civilian firearms will fail in the Senate. Our firearm freedoms are not negotiable."
We couldn't agree more. The very idea of even considering a treaty that would allow other nations - including the likes of Iran and North Korea - to have a say over the rights of U.S. citizens to bear arms is simply ludicrous. President Obama himself famously noted once that Pennsylvanians are known for "... clinging to their Bibles and their guns."
That tenacious exercise of our Second Amendment rights certainly has not diminished in the Juniata Valley, nor throughout the rest of the Commonwealth in the last 3 1/2 years. We urge the president, as well as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, to carefully reconsider their position on the proposed treaty. This is an issue that reaches well beyond "politics of the day" into the foundational freedoms upon which our very nation was built.
We also encourage our readers to contact the state's U.S. Senators, Democrat Bob Casey Jr. and Republican Pat Toomey, and urge them to oppose any international treaty that would infringe upon the Second Amendment. Their contact information is included below:
Sen. Robert P.Casey Jr.
393 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Phone: (202) 224-6324
Toll Free: (866) 802-2833
Fax: (202) 228-0604
Sen. Pat Toomey
502 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
Phone: (202) 224-4254
Fax: (202) 228-0284