Texas AG to Obama: Ratify UN arms treaty and I’ll sue

Politics,Beltway Confidential,Michal Conger

If President Obama signs the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty approved today and the Senate ratifies it, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbot will sue, he told Obama in a letter today.

“The Arms Trade Treaty agreed to today by the United Nations (UN) is a threat to Americans’ Constitutional liberty,” Abbott wrote. “I urge you to reject that treaty. If you sign it, and if the U.S. Senate ratifies the treaty, Texas will lead the charge to have the treaty overturned in court as a violation of the U.S. Constitution.”

The UN General Assembly approved the treaty by a 154-3 vote, according to the Associated Press. The treaty regulates international arms trade with the intent of keeping guns out of the hands of terrorists, but critics like Abbott say it paves the way for international law to trump U.S. citizens’ constitutionally protected rights.

“Our Nation’s Bill of Rights is a rare and precious thing. It does not exist anywhere else in the world. And the UN cannot be trusted with it,” Abbot wrote. “The UN includes foreign governments that have shown hostility to the kinds of constitutional liberties guaranteed to Americans. All Americans are harmed when unaccountable international bodies like the UN are empowered to interfere with our protected freedoms.”

Secretary of State John Kerry attempted to dispel those fears in a statement this afternoon.

“As the United States has required from the outset of these negotiations, nothing in this treaty could ever infringe on the rights of American citizens under our domestic law or the Constitution, including the Second Amendment,” he said.

The Senate has made it clear it opposes the treaty, approving a budget amendment last month that would prevent the U.S. from entering into the treaty even if President Obama signs it.

“The Senate has already gone on record in stating that an Arms Trade Treaty has no hope, especially if it does not specifically protect the individual right to bear arms and American sovereignty,” said Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., in a statement last week. “It would be pointless for the President to sign such a treaty and expect the Senate to go along. We won’t ratify it.”

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