by Joe Wolverton, II, J.D.
The New American
Most pundits and politicians are claiming that the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) is no more than a statutory acknowledgment of a power already possessed by the president to promote “free trade.”
For example, presidential candidate and senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) explained his recent vote in favor of the TPA this way:
Historically, since FDR virtually every president has had fast track authority. What fast track provides is simply if a free trade agreement is negotiated, that Congress will vote on it up or down without amendments and history has demonstrated for the last 80 years that the only way to get free trade agreements adopted is to have fast track. That if there is no fast track, free trade agreements do not end up being negotiated.
There is something much more sinister at work here, however, and it involves not just trade in goods, but trade in arms, as well.Consider this: If Congress grants the president the power to unilaterally negotiate and contract trade agreements with foreign powers, these “executive agreements” can cover any topic that the White House considers “trade.”
That includes firearms.
If the TPA passes, then the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) would not need to be subject to senatorial debate. In fact, it would not be up for debate at all. TPA calls for a simple up or down vote on such presidentially brokered international agreements.
For those readers unfamiliar with the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty, the following summary will likely shock you.
The ATT is so offensive to the preservation of the right to keep and bear arms, it is an understatement to call it unconstitutional. As The New American has reported, several provisions of this treaty significantly diminish the scope of this basic right.
First, the Arms Trade Treaty grants a monopoly over all weaponry in the hands of the very entity (government) responsible for over 300 million murders in the 20th century.
Furthermore, the treaty leaves private citizens powerless to oppose future slaughters.
An irrefutable fact of armed violence unaddressed by the UN in its gun grab is that all the murders committed by all the serial killers in history don’t amount to a fraction of the brutal killings committed by “authorized state parties” using the very weapons over which they will exercise absolute control under the terms of the Arms Trade Treaty.
Article 2 of the treaty defines the scope of the treaty’s prohibitions. The right to own, buy, sell, trade, or transfer all means of armed resistance, including handguns, is denied to civilians by this section of the Arms Trade Treaty.
Article 3 places the “ammunition/munitions fired, launched or delivered by the conventional arms covered under Article 2” within the scope of the treaty’s prohibitions, as well.
Article 4 rounds out the regulations, also placing all “parts and components” of weapons within the scheme.
Perhaps the most immediate threat to the rights of gun owners in the Arms Trade Treaty is found in Article 5. Under the title of “General Implementation,” Article 5 mandates that all countries participating in the treaty “shall establish and maintain a national control system, including a national control list.”
This list should “apply the provisions of this Treaty to the broadest range of conventional arms.”
Article 12 adds to the record-keeping requirement, mandating that the list include “the quantity, value, model/type, authorized international transfers of conventional arms,” as well as the identity of the “end users” of these items.
In very clear terms, ratification of the Arms Trade Treaty by the United States would require that the U.S. government force gun owners to add their names to the national registry. Citizens would be required to report the amount and type of all firearms and ammunition they possess.
Section 4 of Article 12 of the treaty requires that the list be kept for at least 10 years.
The agreement also demands that national governments take “appropriate measures” to enforce the terms of the treaty, including civilian disarmament. If these countries can’t get this done on their own, however, Article 16 provides for UN assistance, specifically including help with the enforcement of “stockpile management, disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programmes.”
In fact, a “voluntary trust fund” will be established to assist those countries that need help from UN peacekeepers or other regional forces to disarm their citizens.
Remember: Should Congress surrender to the president the “fast track” authority he wants, the Arms Trade Treaty could become the law without any input from the people’s representatives.
This should alarm those interested in preserving the right to keep and bear arms as protected by the Second Amendment. Particularly, in light of recent actions by the U.S. representatives at the United Nations.
On May 22, the United States UN delegation joined eight other members of the Security Council in calling for “stronger cooperation in stemming the ‘illicit transfer, destabilizing accumulation and misuse’ of small arms and light weapons.”
Paragraph 21 of the U.S.-approved resolution calls on member states “to consider ratifying or acceding to the Arms Trade Treaty as soon as possible and encourages States, intergovernmental, regional and subregional organizations that are in a position to do so to render assistance in capacity-building to enable States Parties to fulfil [sic] and implement the Treaty’s obligations.”
In other words, the United States UN representatives (and other member states who have not ratified the ATT) claim that people’s representatives in Congress don’t need to bother with the pesky process of ratifying the UN’s disarmament mandate; the federal government could simply accede to it.
Accede. That sounds suspiciously like something that could be accomplished easily and “as soon as possible” should the TPA be handed to President Obama.
Finally, paragraph 23 of the Security Council resolution calls for the “implementation of national reporting provisions of the Arms Trade Treaty by the States Parties.”
As indicated above, Article 12 of the ATT requires “the quantity, value, model/type, authorized international transfers of conventional arms,” as well as the identity of the “end users” of these weapons.
Senators from both major political parties insist that there is nothing new in the Trade Promotion Authority bill and that the powers granted in it to the president are necessary to “improve economic growth.”
The truth is, however, that included in the package is the power to expand the president’s executive order power to include the authority to “accede” to unconstitutional international agreements, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the United Nation’s Arms Trade Treaty.