I support the 2nd Amendment. When the government seeks to take this right from us, I speak up. The latest attempt comes from President Biden, who is seeking to join and ratify the UN Arms Trade Treaty (ATT). Biden has said on multiple occasions that he wants to ban guns, but this latest attempt comes in the form of a Treaty with the UN.
What is the UN Arms Trade Treaty? The ATT was proposed at the UN in 2013, and it imposes laws to control firearms manufacturing, firearm sales, ammunition manufacturing, and ammunition sales. Then-Secretary of State, John Kerry, signed the treaty on behalf of the United States, with the full approval of President Obama. If the treaty had been ratified by the Senate, the government might have gained authority to ban guns.
Thankfully, the then-Republican-controlled Senate did not ratify the treaty. And when President Trump took office, he completely withdrew the U.S. from the ATT.
However, the Senate is evenly split now, with Vice President Harris providing the tie-breaking vote. With that, President Biden is seeking to rejoin the ATT. It would probably be a good idea to contact your Senators about not ratifying this treaty.
Treaties and the Idaho Constitution
The Idaho Constitution has a “Right to Bear Arms” clause. Could a UN treaty nullify our State Constitution? For that matter, could it nullify the 2nd Amendment of the U.S. Constitution?
The U.S. Constitution does permit Treaties. Article 2, Section 2, Clause 2 states: “he (the President) shall have power, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, to make treaties, provided two-thirds of the senators present concur.”
It might interest you to know that in 2011, then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid changed the two-third requirement to a simple majority.
Originally, Treaties were created to facilitate commercial exchanges. However, over time the function of treaties morphed into venues of control for a more powerful government over another, less powerful government. For example, at one time England permitted the sale of opium to countries like India and China and forced the legalization of that drug via a treaty.
Has the U.S. used treaties trying to control another government? Yes. Think about Japan after WWII or the North Korean nuclear program.
Returning to the question of our Constitutionally protected right to bear arms, we must clarify whether a UN Treaty can nullify aspects of our Constitution. Recall that treaties are venues of control from one nation to another. George Washington told us that “government is not reason, it is not eloquence—it is force.”
Treaties and the U.S. Constitution
The United States is a superpower, and we have a practice of not letting other countries imposing their laws or wills on us. Of course, heaven forbid, we could give up our sovereignty, or another superpower could subjugate us, but you should know that until such an ever occurs, the Constitution remains the supreme law of the land, superior to UN treaties.
This was clarified in a 1956 Supreme Court Case,Reid v. Covert 354 U.S. 1, where the Court found that the Constitution supersedes any international treaty ratified by the United States Senate. Specifically, they wrote, “This court has regularly and uniformly recognized the supremacy of the Constitution over a treaty.”
The standing of our nation in the world is important. This assertion brings an important question. Political forces are always in play, so who might be trying to remove our superpower status from us? As I mentioned earlier, we could give up our sovereignty, or another superpower could subjugate us. With that in mind, consider the following:
In 2009, President Obama attended a G-20 meeting, and while there, he portrayed the United States as “nothing special.” In fact, Obama said the United States was “just another country.” The significance of his assertion was profound. Essentially, he degraded America from superpower status, thus making room for a new superpower, or even a global power to encroach on our sovereignty.
Perhaps a New World Order?
I firmly believe America is great because America is good. With that, she deserves our support to resist encroachments on her sovereignty. Joe Biden will likely fail in his attempt to enact gun control through the ATT, but we must realize that gun control laws are just one part of a larger plan.
We must resist all unconstitutional actions if we’re going to survive, and we must keep resisting, knowing that more pressure to cave on this issue will come. Stand firm.
Art da Rosa, PE,MPA