New Castle News

November 20, 2012

Kelly opposing arms trade treaty

Tom Davidson
Sharon Herald

SHARON — Congressman Mike Kelly is leading the chorus of legislators who oppose the proposed United Nations Arms Trade Treaty.

The Butler Republican is against the pact on grounds it threatens the country’s “national security, foreign policy and economic interests,” according to a news release issued Friday by his office.

Kelly, who represents the 3rd District, has led the charge against the treaty since July, when he drafted a letter signed by 129 other legislators that was sent to President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to oppose the treaty.

U.N. talks about the treaty collapsed that month, but hours after Obama’s re-election, the issue resurfaced when the Obama administration backed a U.N. committee’s call to renew debate on the measure.

A new round of U.N. talks on the topic is set for March 18 to 28.

On Friday, Kelly introduced a resolution urging the president not to sign the treaty and warns the president that if he does indeed sign, it will not be binding and no federal funds will be appropriated to implement it unless it has consent in the Senate and has been the subject of implementing legislation by the Congress.

“There is considerable cause for alarm regarding the UN’s renewed efforts to forge an Arms Trade Treaty that could trample the constitutional rights of Americans, and could seriously compromise our national security and the security of our allies, whom we will be less able to arm and less quick to defend due to the restrictions placed on us by the ATT,” Kelly said in a prepared statement. “My colleagues and I stand committed to fighting this threat to our sovereignty and to standing up for the U.S. Constitution, which we are all sworn to support and defend.”

The constitutional rights to keep and bear arms are “as dear to me as they are to the folks I represent back in northwest Pennsylvania,” Kelly said in a prepared statement.

The treaty would place “free democracies and totalitarian regimes on the same footing.”

“Unfortunately, this treaty poses major risks to rights protected by the Second Amendment,” Kelly said in a statement.

The treaty is also opposed by the National Rifle Association and other gun-rights groups that argue it could eventually lead to the registration of all firearms.

Advocates, including the International Action Network on Small Arms, say the treaty is needed because “every day thousands of people are killed, injured, raped and forced to flee from their homes” because of the “poorly regulated global arms trade.”

The treaty would regulate the global arms industry and ban arms transfers to countries suspected of violating international laws.

“In practice, this should mean that a transfer of weapons will be stopped if there is evidence that the weapons are likely to be used for grave violations of international human rights, humanitarian law or will adversely affect sustainable development,” according to Oxfam International, a confederation of 17 human rights organizations that’s lobbied for the treaty’s ratification.

Another group that supports the treaty, the Arms Control Association, argues the treaty “has the potential to significantly and positively change behavior” by putting into place “common sense criteria” to reduce irresponsible arms transfers.

Once drafted and adopted by the UN, the treaty would have to be ratified by Congress to be enforced in the U.S.