Less than 24 hours after being reelected, the president has taken the gloves off. Obama supports the UN gun control treaty but put his support “on hold” until after the election. He didn’t want to give Romney any more ammunition (so to speak) about Obama’s anti-Second Amendment intentions. Here’s the lead:
Last July, the U.N. General Assembly began formal discussion of the Arms Trade Treaty [UNATT], which seeks to establish “common international standards for the import, export and transfer of conventional arms…
Gun rights supporters blasted the treaty as it inched toward approval, and many suspected U.S. procedural maneuvers were intended to delay the treaty so it wouldn’t become a topic of discussion during the election.
Naturally, the White House intones that it’s just a coincidence, and besides, the arms treaty doesn’t threaten the Second Amendment. That’s just silly:
The administration line is that the treaty applies only to firearms exports and poses no threat to domestic gun owners.
“We seek a treaty that contributes to international security by fighting illicit arms trafficking and proliferation, protects the sovereign right of states to conduct legitimate arms trade, and meets the concerns that we have been articulating throughout,” an administration official said. “We will not accept any treaty that infringes on the constitutional rights of our citizens to bear arms.”
Roger, that. Obama’s intentions have been clear for years. Restrictions are even part of the Democrat Party platform:
We can focus on effective enforcement of existing laws, especially strengthening our background check system, and we can work together to enact commonsense improvements–like reinstating the assault weapons ban and closing the gun show loophole–so that guns do not fall into the hands of those irresponsible, law-breaking few. (my emphasis)
The Times doesn’t buy the White House explanation, and neither do I:
It is hard to take the White House response seriously. The treaty instructs countries to “take the necessary legislative and administrative measures, to adapt, as necessary, national laws and regulations to implement the obligations of this treaty.” The agreement’s language is so broad, vague and poorly defined it could be stretched in a variety of ways that would pose a threat to the Second Amendment…
A ratified treaty, with constitutional authority, could be interpreted in a way that applies to any imported weapon or round of ammunition, those made with foreign components, those containing imported materials, those that might some day be exported, and those capable of being exported. If it affects the overall arms market, it could be said to be part of “international” trade, even if the item never leaves our shores.
In practice this logic would give the government free rein to regulate all weapons, foreign and domestic. With the election out of the way, the White House can move swiftly to get the treaty through the U.N. General Assembly and up to the Senate by the summer of 2013.