As Guns.com reported last month, U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS) introduced the Second Amendment Sovereignty Act. S. 2205, a bill that would protect the rights of American gun owners from the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty.
Following suit, Rep. Ben Quayle (R-AZ) and Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-MT) introduced a sister version of the bill – Second Amendment Sovereignty Act, H.R. 5846 – to the House last week.
The essence of the Second Amendment Sovereignty Act is to prohibit funding to negotiate a United Nations Arms Trade Treaty that restricts the Second Amendment rights of United States citizens. The Act states the following:
No funds may be obligated or expended to use the voice, vote, and influence of the United States, in connection with negotiations for a United Nations Arms Trade Treaty, to restrict in any way the rights of United States citizens under the second amendment to the Constitution of the United States, or to otherwise regulate domestic manufacture, assembly, possession, use, transfer, or purchase of firearms, ammunition, or related items, including small arms, light weapons, or related materials.
“The Second Amendment is an individual Constitutional right and we must never allow that right to be trampled on by an international treaty,” Rep. Ben Quayle (R-Ariz.) told the Hill.com. “This U.N. treaty is a direct threat to American sovereignty and the constitutional rights of all Americans.
“Congress needs to put its foot down, and make clear that it, not the United Nations, is the only body with the constitutional right to impose laws in the United States,” he added.
Over the past few years, there has been a lot of speculation about what the final version of the Arms Trade Treaty will look like and how it will impact American gun owners. Some experts say it won’t infringe on one’s 2nd Amendment rights, while others predict it will create major problems for gun owners, such as a “global BATFE on steroids” (for more on this, click here).
At this point, it’s hard to know anything for certain; although, the final version of the Treaty is expected to be completed by the end of this year.
What is known is what has been discussed at some of the earlier negotiations. Here’s a list of some of the ideas put forth in draft versions of the Treaty:
- The creation of a new U.N. agency dedicated to the specific task of regulating the international sale of firearms. This agency would be known as the “Implementation Support Unit.”
- The ISU would require every country to submit reports detailing “all activities undertaken in order to accomplish the implementation of this Treaty, including… domestic laws, regulations and administrative measures” (this language was culled from an early draft of the treaty by FoxNews.com).
- A mandate for each country to have its own government body dedicated to the task of tracking firearms, “Parties shall take all necessary measures to control brokering activities taking place within its territories… to prevent the diversion of exported arms into the illicit market or to unintended end users” (this language was culled from an early draft of the treaty by Fox News).
- The creation of a “victims of gun violence” compensation fund. The compensation fund would be sustained by compulsory (or voluntary, this critical detail not yet defined) donations from firearms manufacturers and the countries that export firearms.
- A requirement that would force firearm manufactures to engrave sequential tracings on all bullets manufactured (there are over 3 billion bullets made each year in the U.S.).
In looking at these potential measures, Rep. Quayle found the idea of a compensation fund particularly irksome.
“Law-abiding American gun owners should never have to pay compensation or damages for violence in foreign countries that they had absolutely nothing to do with,” Quayle said. “This is typical United Nations overreach, and the United States should not allow it under any circumstances.”
It would be great if the Second Amendment Sovereignty Act became law. However, even if it doesn’t and the U.N. ratifies a treaty, that treaty still needs to pass through the U.S. Senate by a two-thirds majority for the U.S. to officially adopt it.
The good news is that currently there are 58 Senators who’ve signed a letter drafted by Sen. Moran (R-KS), which states:
“The Arms Trade Treaty must not in any way regulate the domestic manufacture, possession or sales of firearms of ammunition. Firearms possession is an individual right guaranteed by the Second Amendment and that cannot be subordinated, directly or indirectly by any international treaty.”
So, at the end of the day, if the finalized U.N. treaty infringes on the rights of law-abiding gun owners, it will undoubtedly face an uphill battle here in the U.S.