September 28, 2021

Young, Marshall, Moran, Inhofe: Biden Administration Must Not Support International Oversight of Americans’ 2nd Amendment Rights

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Todd Young (R-Ind.), Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), and Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) joined 33 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.

“In the first nine months of his presidency, President Biden has made clear that his administration will be hostile to the millions of law-abiding Hoosiers who value their constitutional right to keep and bear arms. Recent remarks by a State Department official are deeply concerning as they indicate the President’s willingness to allow international, unelected bureaucrats to undermine those rights,” said Senator Young. “It is vitally important that he clarify these remarks and make clear that the United States will not permit the Arms Trade Treaty, to which the United States is not a party, to restrict the rights and personal behaviors of Hoosiers.”

“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.”

Senators Young, Marshall, Moran, and Inhofe were also joined by Senators Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), John Thune (R-S.D.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), James Risch (R-Idaho), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Rick Scott (R-Fla.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Susan M. Collins (R-Maine), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), John Boozman (R-Ark.) Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va), Bill Cassidy (R-La.) , Mike Lee (R-Utah), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), M. Michael Rounds (R-S.D.), Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), John Kennedy (R-La.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), and Tim Scott (R-S.C.).

Full text of the letter.

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.