5th District Mailbox: United Nations Arms Trade Treaty

Dec 5, 2012

Welcome back to the 5th District Mailbox, where I respond to your letters and email correspondence through online video.  This week's topic: the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty. 

5th District Mailbox, the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty: Click Here


Hi there, welcome back and thanks for tuning in to the 5th District Mailbox, where I respond to your letters and email correspondence through online video.

Last week’s fiscal cliff video received great feedback prompting more discussion on an important topic, which is what this forum is designed to offer.

Here are a couple responses on last week’s fiscal cliff discussion:  

Thomas stated: “I hope you won't vote for any "deal" which includes tax increases. It's the last thing our economy needs now. Spending is the problem. Cutting spending is the solution.”

I happen to agree, Thomas.  Raising taxes only feeds the addiction in Washington for more spending when we are 16 Trillion dollars in debt.

In another comment, Joe stated: “Explain to me then how the Clinton era tax plan left us with an economy that was robust and a surplus in our budget…?”

Joe thanks for your comment.  However, to conclude that higher taxes caused prosperity and a balanced budget in the Clinton years, I believe is a dangerous assumption. Clinton raised taxes in 1993 during a soaring post-cold war economy. Tax hikes on an ailing economy are likely to cause only more economic problems for government and the economy.  President Clinton was also forced to deal with a Republican majority in Congress forcing him to cut spending, which is something I admire. Unfortunately, the current White House has not been as willing.  

Let’s move on to today’s topic: the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty.  As you may know, the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty was developed over several years with support of 153 member states.

In 2006, the United States expressed concerns with several portions of the treaty and voted against the measure.  In October of 2009, however, the Obama Administration reversed the positions of the two previous Administrations and voted for the U.S. to participate in negotiating the Arms Trade Treaty, purportedly to establish “common international standards for the import, export, and transfer of conventional arms.” However, by threatening to include civilian firearms within its scope, the Arms Trade Treaty could restrict the lawful private ownership of firearms in the United States.

I have serious concerns that adoption of such a treaty without sufficient 2nd amendment protections could lead to unprecedented gun registrations and data-collection, which would be shared with foreign countries.  Others believe such an agreement could infringe on our nation’s sovereignty.

For this reason, I recently cosponsored H. Res. 814 to express opposition to the treaty. Additionally, I’ve also joined 130 of my colleagues in the House of Representatives, sending a letter to the White House to express our concern about the dangers posed by the treaty to Americans’ Second Amendment rights. The letter also urges the administration to push for explicit recognition of the legitimacy of lawful activities associated with firearms, including but not limited to the right of self-defense.

Growing up, my family operated a small sporting goods store, which allowed me to develop a distinct appreciation for firearms. As an adult, I remain an avid sportsman and have passed down our heritage to my children.

While ratification by two-thirds of the Senate is necessary before an international treaty negotiated by the executive branch can become U.S. law, it's important that all of us remain engaged on this issue.

I am encouraged that 51 bipartisan Senators recently signed a letter to the President expressing their opposition, and 58 Senators have said they will oppose it should it come up for a vote.

When it comes to our rights as American citizens and our country's sovereignty, America must draw a line in the sand.  As your member of Congress, I will continue to ensure that our Second Amendment rights are always protected.

I appreciate everyone tuning in to the “5th District Mailbox.” I look forward to hearing from you soon.  

Have a great day.