The nation's largest gun-rights advocacy group ripped Secretary of State John Kerry for signing the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty on Wednesday, accusing the Obama administration of infringing upon Americans' constitutional rights.
Kerry in New York on Wednesday joined 90 other nations in signing the treaty, which aims to cut down on the international flow of weapons to terrorist cells and rogue regimes.
Officials said the measure could be particularly effective in reducing the number of weapons sent to Syrian strongman Bashar Assad who has waged a brutal crackdown against anti-government rebels.
However, pro-gun rights groups and some conservative lawmakers say the signing marks another attempt by the Obama administration to crack down on firearms on American soil.
“The Obama administration is once again demonstrating its contempt for our fundamental, individual right to keep and bear arms,” said Chris W. Cox, executive director of the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action.
“This treaty threatens individual firearm ownership with an invasive registration scheme. The NRA will continue working with the United States Senate to oppose ratification," he vowed.
The Senate must ratify the arms treaty.
Administration officials counter that the treaty is intended to stop the illicit flow of firearms, not target Americans who are following the law.
“It will prevent human rights abusers and violators of the law of war from being supplied with arms. And it will help keep warlords, pirates, and gangs from acquiring these deadly tools," the U.N. office said, hailing the deal.
Under the framework, nations are required to ensure that both larger weapons, such as tanks, and smaller arms, including pistols and rifles, are not sold to parties affiliated with human rights violations.
For its part, the NRA pledged to contest ratification of the treaty.
“These are blatant attacks on the constitutional rights and liberties of every law-abiding American,” Cox added. “The NRA will continue to fight this assault on our fundamental freedom.”