From The Washington Times:
Opponents fear international pact’s fallout
By Guy Taylor
Secretary of State John F. Kerry is set to sign a far-reaching international treaty in New York on Wednesday designed to regulate the international purchase and sale of conventional firearms — despite intense resistance from the American gun lobby and warnings from at least one Republican that the pact will never get ratified in Washington.
The U.N. Arms Trade Treaty requires signatories to draw up national regulations to control the transfer of conventional arms and components and to regulate arms brokers, but drafters insist it will not control the domestic firearms market in any country. It prohibits the transfer of conventional weapons if they violate international arms embargoes or if they go to regimes accused of genocide, crimes against humanity or war crimes.
The United States was one of 154 countries who voted in April to approve the final draft of the U.N. pact, with only Syria, Iran and North Korea voting against.
In notifying lawmakers of the plan to proceed forth with signing the treaty, the Obama administration drew harsh criticism from Sen. James M. Inhofe, Oklahoma Republican, who claimed the treaty is “already dead in the water in the Senate.”
“The administration is wasting precious time trying to sign away our laws to the global community and unelected U.N. bureaucrats,” Mr. Inhofe said, asserting that his own push against the treaty in March revealed that the Obama administration was far short of the 67 votes needed to ratify the treaty.
More at the link; emphasis mine.
The Constitution of the United States requires that treaties be ratified by a 2/3 majority in the United States Senate; Senator Imhofe noted that 53 Senators, with members from both parties, have already gone on record and voted against this treaty. If that number holds, not only would the treaty not have the constitutionally mandated 2/3 majority for ratification, but wouldn’t even have a simple majority of support in the Senate.
However, there has been a rather long-standing problem with treaties in our country: Presidents have them signed, but don’t submit controversial ones to the Senate for ratification. President Carter never submitted the second Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty for ratification, but both the Carter and Reagan Administrations adhered to its provisions. President Clinton sent Vice President Gore to sign the abysmal Kyoto Protocols — several months after a sense of the Senate vote of 95-0 told the President that they didn’t support it — but never submitted it for ratification, because he knew it would be defeated. President Bush didn’t support that treaty, but instead of submitting it to the Senate for sure defeat, simply withdrew our signature.1 And now President Obama is having Secretary of State Kerry sign a treaty which he knows cannot be ratified, and will not submit it to the Senate.
The Constitution specifies that ratified treaties are the law of the land, and such a treaty, if it were ratified, would allow the federal government to pass the regulations that the treaty requires, many of which would violate our Second Amendment rights. The Obama Administration will probably use the pretext of this treaty to try to impose such regulations anyway, even though the treaty has not, and will never be, ratified.
The Framers were all good, honest and honorable men; it seems to have been outside their paradigm that the President could be dishonorable enough to sign a treaty and then decline to submit it to the Senate for ratification. Such submission, within a reasonable time frame, ought to be automatic, but, even without that, the Senate ought to be able to, on their own initiative, simply take up the signed treaty for a ratification vote, whether the President submits it or not.
- Your Editor criticized President Bush for that maneuver on the old site. ↩