May 31, 2013
President Barack Obama will soon sign an international arms trade treaty previously rejected by the United States Senate.
The United Nations Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) establishes regulations for international arms sales. Categories of firearms listed in the treaty includes tanks, artillery, and small arms such as handguns. The U.N. General Assembly passed the treaty on April 2nd with a vote of 153-4, with the United States voting in favor. Obama intends to sign the treaty on June 3rd.
On March 23rd, Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.) introduced an amendment to prevent the U.S. from entering into the treaty. It passed by a vote of 53 to 46.
Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) introduced another amendment to ensure “that the United States will not negotiate or support treaties that violate Americans’ Second Amendment rights under the Constitution of the United States.” This amendment passed in the Senate by a voice vote.
Signatories of the treaty are encouraged to keep records on the recipients of imported arms and to introduce domestic legislation to support the treaty’s requirements, according to the National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action.
Due to the Senate’s response to the treaty, Obama’s signature will be symbolic at best. According to Article II, Section 2, Clause 2 of the U.S. Constitution, the President “shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur.”