Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday signed a controversial U.N. treaty on arms regulation, riling U.S. lawmakers who vow the Senate will not ratify the agreement.
As he signed the document, Kerry called the treaty a "significant step" in addressing illegal gun sales, while claiming it would also protect gun rights.
It will take a two-thirds supermajority to ratify the treaty, which seems out of reach for the present. But the treat has to be signed before the Senate can even consider it, and once signed, arms can be twisted to try to get to 67 votes. This would be a good time to contact your Senators and remind them you oppose the treaty. If you tell them now, it shows them you are paying attention.
There is some risk that Obama might try to implement elements of the treaty via executive order. This would be Constitutionally illegitimate, since the treaty conveys no legal authority in and of itself. But our side seems to be on top of that. Bob Corker responds:
Dear President Obama,
It is my understanding that Secretary of State John Kerry will sign the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) on behalf of the United States. The ATT raises significant legislative and constitutional questions. Any act to implement this treaty, provisionally or otherwise, before the Congress provides its advice and consent would be inconsistent with the United States Constitution, law, and practice.
As you know, Article II, Section 2 of the United States Constitution requires the United States Senate to provide its advice and consent before a treaty becomes binding under United States law. The Senate has not yet provided its advice and consent, and may not provide such consent. As a result, the Executive Branch is not authorized to take any steps to implement the treaty.
Moreover, even after the Senate provides its advice and consent, certain treaties require changes to United States law in the form of legislation passed by both the House and Senate. The ATT is such a treaty. Various provisions of the ATT, including but not limited to those related to the regulation of imports and trade in conventional arms, require such implementing legislation and relate to matters exclusively reserved to Congress under our Constitution.
Because of the concerns discussed above, as well as the fundamental issues the ATT raises with respect to the individual rights protected by the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution, as the Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, it is my view that you may not take any executive action to implement this treaty, provisionally or otherwise, unless and until: (1) the United States Senate has provided its constitutionally required advice and consent to its ratification; and (2) the Congress has passed any and all required legislation to bring this treaty into effect under United States domestic law.
Senator Bob Corker Ranking Member
This entry was published Thu Sep 26 02:29:52 CDT 2013 by TriggerFinger
and last updated 2013-09-26 02:29:51.0.