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Senate Psses Amendment Stopping US from Joining UN Arms Trade Treaty

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By Susan Duclos

The U.S. Senate, with a vote of 53-46 voted on an amendment proposed by Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.), which prevents the U.S. from entering into the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty.

Statement of purpose: To uphold Second Amendment rights and prevent the United States from entering into the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty.

According to the Senate roll call of the vote, eight Democrats joined with Republicans to pass the amendment to uphold Second Amendment rights. Those Democrats were Begich (D-AK), Donnelly (D-IN), Hagan (D-NC), Heinrich (D-NM), Heitkamp (D-ND), Manchin (D-WV), Pryor (D-AR),  and Tester (D-MT).

Via The Hill:

The U.N. Arms Trade Treaty would regulate international arms sales. Negotiations end on March 28.

“We’re negotiating a treaty that cedes our authority to have trade agreements with our allies in terms of trading arms,” Inhofe said. “This is probably the last time this year that you’ll be able to vote for your Second Amendment rights.”

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) offered an alternative amendment that clarified that under current U.S. law, treaties don’t trump the Constitution and that the United States should not agree to any arms treaty that violates the Second Amendment rights. His amendment passed by voice vote.


The Constitution
provides that 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” (Article II, section 2).
The Constitution’s framers gave the Senate a share of the treaty power
in order to give the president the benefit of the Senate’s advice and
counsel, check presidential power, and safeguard the sovereignty of the
states by giving each state an equal vote in the treatymaking process.
As Alexander Hamilton explained in Federalist no. 75,
“the operation of treaties as laws, plead strongly for the
participation of the whole or a portion of the legislative body in the
office of making them.” The constitutional requirement that the Senate
approve a treaty with a two-thirds vote means that successful treaties
must gain support that overcomes partisan division. The two-thirds
requirement adds to the burdens of the Senate leadership, and may also
encourage opponents of a treaty to engage in a variety of dilatory
tactics in hopes of obtaining sufficient votes to ensure its defeat.

 The Senate vote on the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty came within days of Secretary of State John Kerry announcing U.S. support for the treaty.


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