Weekly Columns

Numerous Arkansans, including myself, exercise our Second Amendment right. Sportsmen, hunters, gun enthusiasts and law-abiding citizens concerned for their personal safety have a right to own guns for these legitimate purposes, and I am committed to protecting this right and fighting legislation that poses a threat to our ability to keep and bear arms. 

That’s why I’m working to prevent the Senate from ratifying the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty (UN ATT). This regulates global trade in conventional weapons. This treaty could control the lawful ownership of firearms that Americans use to hunt, target shoot, and defend themselves. I am concerned this is a backdoor effort to chip away at our constitutional right. As a sovereign nation we should not have to abide by this international law that erodes away at our constitutional rights. 

The U.N. opened up the ATT for signatures in June. At the end of September, 112 countries had signed the treaty, including the U.S. Despite bipartisan opposition, Secretary of State John Kerry signed this controversial treaty. This is a reversal of policies from the previous two administrations. I am vehemently opposed to the U.S. signing any treaty that would regulate small arms. I believe this is a direct threat to our Second Amendment right. 

Fortunately for this treaty, or any other treaty, to take effect, it must be ratified by two-thirds of the U.S. Senate. There is overwhelming opposition in this chamber and we’re on the frontlines taking steps to preserve our Second Amendment right and fight against this. 

In addition to Second Amendment concerns, there are concerns that the U.N. ATT could limit the ability of the U.S. to conduct foreign policy, such as impeding arms transfers to our allies. 

Earlier this year I joined a bipartisan effort of 53 Senators in supporting an amendment to prohibit the State Department from negotiating this treaty. We are cosponsors of a bipartisan resolution which makes clear a U.N. ATT that undermines constitutional freedoms of American gun owners will not be ratified by the Senate.  In addition, we’ve signed onto several letters to administration officials showing a strong disapproval of this treaty including one to the President last week informing him that the Senate will not ratify this and cannot be bound by its obligations. 

While support for the U.N. ATT doesn’t exist in the Senate, we need to continue to prevent this from even becoming a reality.