The United Nations passed an arms control treaty that could, if signed by the President and ratified by the Senate, radically alter Americans' Second Amendment rights. In response to this treaty, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott declared a "Red Flag Alert" to a group of bloggers and other media in a conference call held this afternoon. General Abbott said this treaty not only represents a threat to Second Amendment Rights but is also a threat to all American liberties protected by the U.S. Constitution.
The treaty is aimed primarily at the trafficking of tanks, armored vehicles and other conventional weapons of warfare. There are provisions in the treaty, however, that call for nation states to provide gun registrations to the U.N. and to restrict the sale of yet to be determined small arms.
Secretary of State John Kerry said in a statement today, "As the United States has required from the onset of these negotiations, nothing in this treaty could ever infringe on the rights of American citizens under our domestic law or the Constitution, including the Second Amendment."
Gen. Abbott strongly disagrees and is prepared to defend the rights of Texans and all Americans by suing the federal government in court should the treaty be signed and ratified. He cited Reid v Covert, a 1957 case before the U.S. Supreme Court where the court held that the United States cannot use its treaty powers to violate Constitutional rights. "When the Constitution says 'the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed,' that means no one - including the U.N. - can infringe on that right." Abbott said.
In a letter to President Obama today, Gen. Abbott stated, "Treaties do not trump constitutional liberties. Even if you, as the President, signed and the Senate ratified the UN Arms Trade Treaty, our Constitution remains the Supreme Law of the Land and would supersede any treaty provision that violated Second Amendment rights."
Abbott is rightly concerned that if our government can use the U.N. to circumvent the Constitutionally guaranteed liberties of the Second Amendment, it could equally be used to attack and strip other liberties protected by our Constitution. "Regardless of their position on gun rights, all Americans should oppose any treaty that does not adequately protect our constitutional rights. If the Second Amendment can be trusted to international organizations that do not share our constitutional traditions, then why not the First Amendment? Why not the Fourth Amendment or the Fifth Amendment?," Abbott continued in his letter to Obama.
For the treaty to become law in America, the President of the United States must first accept the treaty by signature and then present it to the U.S. Senate for ratification. Ratification requires a 2/3rds majority of Senators to approve the treaty for it to become law.
In a statement today, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz said, "The UN Arms Treaty should be rejected outright by the U.S. Senate. It is international gun regulation, plain and simple, and it must never be ratified." Cruz' Press Secretary told TexasGOPVote today that Sen. Cruz has signed on to Sen. Jerry Moran's Senate Resolution 7, a bipartisan resolution which states the U.N. Arms Control treaty clearly infringes on Constitutional liberties and will not be ratified by the Senate. The resolution already has 33 signers, which is enough to block ratification of the treaty.
Texas Senior Senator John Cornyn renewed his opposition to the treaty and has also signed the Moran resolution. "The United Nations’ Arms Trade Treaty contains unnecessarily harsh treatment of civilian-owned small arms and I urge President Obama to reverse course and block any further negotiations," Cornyn said in a statement today. "“Not only would it violate Texans’ Second Amendment rights, including the right to self-defense, it also raises US sovereignty and national security concerns. Law-abiding Texans who are in the market for an imported shotgun, pistol, or rifle ought to be very concerned by any future development of this treaty.”
I asked Gen. Abbott if he thought the defeat of Sen. Feinstein's Assault Weapons Ban in the Senate last month might be an indicator that the Senate would also reject this treaty. Abbott replied that while the defeat of Feinstein's bill is certainly encouraging, he does not believe the White House would be speaking out so strongly as they have been today in support of the treaty if they didn't think they had some way of getting it ratified.
Abbott concluded the call stating "We cannot accept the President and the U.S. Senate ceding Constitutional liberties to an organization that has no accountability to the American voters." Abbott predicted an unraveling of the fabric of what makes the United States unique if this treaty were enacted into law.
Abbott says this is a Red Flag Alert. Now is the time for Sen. Harry Reid to earn his endorsement from the NRA and block this treaty. But failing that, we, as American citizens and defenders of our liberty, must now be vigilant and keep pressure on the U.S. Senate to make certain they do the right thing. If they do not, Gen. Abbott is poised to strike in our defense. With Gen. Abbott on our side, I like our odds!