New Castle News

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April 8, 2013

Mitchel Olszak: Kelly, allies battle arms treaty

NEW CASTLE — Supporters of the right to bear arms have a champion in Congressman Mike Kelly.

The federal lawmaker, whose district includes most of Lawrence County, has been making waves with his criticism of the Obama administration and its support for the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty.

That agreement, which seeks to establish international standards for the sale of military-grade arms, was approved by the U.N. last week with the support of the Obama administration and the condemnation of Kelly.

In repeated press releases issued by his office, Kelly assailed President Obama’s stance on the treaty. Here’s one example:

“I am deeply disappointed with the Obama administration's vote today in support of forcing the ominous Arms Trade Treaty through the U.N. General Assembly. The administration has abandoned its stated ‘key U.S. redline,’ that the ‘ATT negotiations must have consensus decision making to allow us to protect U.S. equities’ and to ‘ensure that all countries can be held to standards that will actually improve the global situation’ ...

“As I have repeatedly stated along with a bipartisan coalition in both chambers of Congress, the ATT is a harmful treaty that undermines our constitutional rights and our national sovereignty. It jeopardizes our Second Amendment right of individuals to keep and bear arms, harms our ability to defend our allies such as Taiwan and Israel, and risks imposing new burdensome regulations on our domestic defense industrial base.

“No U.S. president should even consider such a dangerous treaty. For the sake of our national interests and Constitutional freedom, I strongly urge President Obama to reject the ATT.”

You won’t find any namby-pamby talk there.

The “consensus decision” Kelly mentions in his statement refers to the fact not every nation in the U.N. supported the treaty. Because of that, it had to be put to a formal vote, which passed 154-3.

Joining Kelly in opposing the arms agreement were the nations of North Korea, Iran and Syria.

Now, I am sure there are bleeding hearts out there who will say, “Gee, if my only allies on a given issue were North Korea, Iran and Syria, I might want to rethink my position.”

Well, Kelly doesn’t roll that way. And he’s obviously prepared to reject out of hand any claims by the Obama administration that nothing in this treaty precludes law-abiding Americans from obtaining guns for hunting or personal protection.

Sadly, the efforts by Kelly — along with North Korea, Iran and Syria — failed to halt the U.N. vote. The next battle will be in the U.S. Senate, which must ratify any treaty. That may be the last barrier protecting us from the full power of the U.N. to dominate the lives of individual Americans.

Regardless, we can be grateful for what Kelly, along with North Korea, Iran and Syria, have done. However, in Lawrence County, you’re likely to hear from whiners who say they want their government officials to focus on matters closer to home.

These are the malcontents who grouse about local leadership failing to tackle the long decline in the community’s population, or the fact the area’s jobless rate hovers between 8 and 9 percent.

These same detractors will point out the number of structurally deficient bridges in Lawrence County rank it among the 100 worst municipalities in the nation, and in general they will harp on their worries that the quality of life in this community has more to do with the day-to-day challenges locally than any U.N. treaty.

Well, Kelly obviously has other ideas. Perhaps the complainers should consider the possibility that he — along with North Korea, Iran and Syria — knows best.

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