Sens. Marshall, Moran, Inhofe: Biden Administration Must Not Support International Oversight of Americans’ 2nd Amendment Rights
(Washington, D.C., September 28, 2021) – U.S. Senators Roger Marshall, M.D., Jerry Moran, and Jim Inhofe led 34 colleagues in sending a letter to President Biden, requesting clarification on the Biden Administration’s intention to open U.S. 2nd amendment rights to international oversight by rejoining the Arms Trade Treaty, an international agreement that would regulate trade in firearms. This inquiry comes on the heels of reports of a top Administration official stating, “The United States has long supported strong and effective national controls on the international transfer of conventional arms, and the Arms Trade Treaty is an important tool [for] promoting those controls internationally,” at the 7th Conference of States Parties to the Arms Trade Treaty.
“The Biden Administration’s botched military withdrawal from Afghanistan resulted in tens of millions of dollars of firearms gifted to the Taliban. Yet, instead of focusing on preventing further transfer of firearms to international terrorist groups due to gross negligence, the Administration is voicing its intent to jeopardize Americans’ right to bear arms by allowing our 2nd Amendment rights to be controlled by foreign nations,” said Senator Marshall. “Joining the ATT would be an unacceptable move by an already crisis-ridden Administration, and previous attempts failed the Senate with a bipartisan majority during the Obama era. President Biden must provide Congress clarification on whether or not he plans to subject our Constitutional rights to international intrusion.”
“It is unacceptable for the Second Amendment rights of Americans to be infringed on or controlled by foreign nations,” said Senator Moran. “I rejected attempts by the Obama administration to subject law-abiding Americans to the United Nations’ ambiguous arms deals, and under the Biden administration, I will actively oppose an international organization attempting to exert control over the Constitutional rights of private citizens.”
“The decision to rush a withdrawal from Afghanistan that has left the Taliban stronger than it was on 9/11 falls on President Biden’s shoulders,” Senator Inhofe said. “Now, after a number of failed policy decisions, the administration appears considering to impede on our second amendment rights by rejoining the Arms Trade Treaty, an international agreement that would allow U.N. bureaucrats to regulate American trade in firearms. It is our duty to ensure our constitutional rights are protected—including the right to keep and bear arms. That’s why I joined Sen. Marshall, Moran and a number of our colleagues in sending a letter to President Biden asking him to uphold the Constitution and reject the Arms Trade Treaty.”
Co-signers of the letter include Senators Cindy Hyde-Smith, Roger Wicker, John Thune, John Barrasso, James Risch, Thom Tillis, John Hoeven, Rick Scott, James Lankford, Kevin Cramer, John Cornyn, Deb Fischer, Susan M. Collins, Chuck Grassley, Steve Daines, Mike Crapo, John Boozman, Todd Young, Shelley Capito, Bill Cassidy, Mike Lee, Marco Rubio, Cynthia Lummis, Mike Braun, Marsha Blackburn, M. Michael Rounds, Bill Hagerty, Tom Cotton, Mitch McConnell, Pat Toomey, John Kennedy, Lindsey Graham, Roy Blunt, and Tim Scott.
September 28, 2021
President Joe Biden
1600 Pennsylvania Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20500
Dear President Biden,
We write to you today seeking clarification on your Administration’s position on the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty (ATT). Recent remarks by Deputy Director for Conventional Arms Threat Reduction, William Malzahn, seem to indicate your intention to rejoin this misguided and overbearing international treaty.
At the Seventh Conference of States Parties to the Arms Trade Treaty, Deputy Director Malzahn stated “The United States has long supported strong and effective national controls on the international transfer of conventional arms, and the Arms Trade Treaty is an important tool for promoting those controls internationally.” We find this statement to be most concerning and contrary to the current and historical position of the United States.
When President Obama signed the ATT in 2013 he was met with strong bipartisan opposition and failed to garner the approval of the Senate, to which the Constitution vests the sole power to approve international treaties. As-in 2013, we remain concerned by the many troubling aspects of the ATT and its impact on American sovereignty and constitutional protections. The vague language of the ATT makes American commitments uncertain, the most concerning of which is the lack of protections for lawful gun ownership which threatens the rights afforded to Americans under the Second Amendment. Further, with an amendment process that only requires a ¾ vote for approval, more intrusive provisions could be applied in the future; legally obligating the United States to comply with international commitments without consent from the Senate.
Under any circumstance, it is inconceivable that the United States would consider subjecting our constitutional right to bear arms to international oversight and interference. For these reasons, we request clarification on your intentions regarding this international accord. Moreover, we urge you to reject the ATT; however, should you have plans otherwise, please know we will unequivocally oppose its ratification in the Senate.
Thank you for your attention to our concerns and we look forward to hearing your response.