Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott vowed on Wednesday to slap the federal government with a lawsuit if the Senate ratifies the United Nation’s controversial Arms Trade Treaty.
In a press release, Abbott argued that the ATT does not trump the Constitution. Moreover, that the Obama administration is heading down a dangerous path, potentially signing away precious liberties protected by the Constitution.
“By signing this treaty, the Obama administration has attempted to subject Americans’ right to bear arms to the oversight of the United Nations. The very reason we fought for independence was to free ourselves from the dictates of leaders in other lands,” Abbott said, who is running for governor in the 2014 GOP primary.
Abbott went on to echo criticisms made by the National Rifle Association and other gun rights groups, saying that the language of the ATT could put responsible gun owners in the crosshairs of U.N. regulations.
“We are alarmed that the president’s action today includes ‘small arms,’ which could draw law-abiding gun owners and gun store operators into a complex web of bureaucratic red tape created by a new department at the U.N. devoted to overseeing the treaty,” he said.
The ATT seeks to regulate the world’s annual exchange of $70 billion in conventional weaponry, which includes: battle tanks, armored combat vehicles, large-caliber artillery systems, combat aircraft, attack helicopters, warships, missiles and missile launchers and small arms and light weapons.
Under the terms of the global agreement, member states must self-report and disclose to the U.N. their transactions and the humanitarian costs associated with those deals. Member states must also keep records on “end use or end user documentation” for a “minimum of 10 years.”
Critics of the ATT believe that this record keeping mandate will lead to a registration system, which will include law-abiding gun owners.
Back in April, when the U.S. voted in favor of the ATT, but had not yet signed it, Abbott issued a similar warning concerning the treaty’s consequences in a letter to President Obama.
“As with most so-called international-law documents promulgated by the U.N., the draft treaty is not written using the precise, unambiguous language required of a good legal document,” wrote Abbott.
“Instead, the treaty employs sweeping rhetoric and imprecise terminology that could be used by those who seek to undermine our liberties to impose any number of restrictions on the right of law-abiding Americans to keep and bear arms,” he continued.
Meanwhile, upon signing the ATT, Secretary of State John Kerry dismissed the notion that this treaty does anything but attempt to keep weapons out of the hands of terrorists and rogue actors.
“This treaty will not diminish anyone’s freedom. In fact, the treaty recognizes the freedom of both individuals and states to obtain, possess and use arms for legitimate purposes,” Kerry said.
Moving ahead, the Senate will now make the call on whether to ratify the ATT. A two-thirds majority is required, a tough threshold to meet considering that a majority of senators have publicly stated that they oppose the treaty. Yet, if by some chance the Senate does ratify the ATT, “Texas stands ready to lead the charge to have the treaty overturned in court,” promised Abbott.