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SENATOR KAINE CAUGHT SUPPORTING UN SMALL ARMS TREATY!

I, like eleven million other people, get the daily email from the Virginia Citizen’s Defense League (VCDL) and while I am not sure I totally agree with them on gun rights, they have useful information.

Today we have, courtesy of the VCDL, a Senator, our US Senator, Tim Kaine, who seems like the kind of person you could enjoy a sweet tea with but who said this in the Fredericksburg newspaper (here’s the link)  Warning:  Not to be read on a weak stomach:

Kaine: Treaty doesn't infringe on gun rights 
April 30, 2014

Carl Grenn Sr. of Fredericksburg recently wrote a letter, 
published elsewhere, challenging a vote I cast related to the 
United Nations Arms Trade Treaty.

While the U.S. Senate has yet to vote on ratification of the 
international treaty, on April 2, 2013, I voted against an amendment 
to the Senate budget that would have prevented the Senate from 
considering the measure altogether.

The treaty, which in no way affects our Second Amendment rights or 
domestic gun sales, establishes common, worldwide guidelines to keep 
weapons out of the hands of human rights abusers and criminals who fuel 
violent conflicts around the world, like in Iraq or Afghanistan.

Plainly speaking, the treaty attempts to create an international 
standard for weapons sales that matches our own existing U.S. standards, 
which are the best in the world.

The treaty does not change or restrict any right or liberty 
guaranteed to American citizens by the U.S. Constitution.

In fact, the U.S. Constitution strictly prohibits the U.N. or any 
other international entity from infringing on our national sovereignty 
or individual rights.

The treaty would also protect U.S. commercial interests by ensuring our 
country can still export defense equipment to reliable partners.

As a gun owner and strong believer in Second Amendment rights, I am 
confident this treaty does not infringe on these rights, and that it 
also ensures that the U.S. remains in control of its own arms export 
arrangements.

Sen. Tim Kaine, Richmond

Let’s analyze this point by point:

1.  Senator Kaine has indicated his support for this treaty.  Let’s remember this at election time.

2.  Kaine writes:  “The treaty, which in no way affects our Second Amendment rights or domestic gun sales,..."  Is he right?  Here is what the NRA-ILA says:  The NRA strongly opposes this treaty, which clearly jeopardizes the right to keep and bear arms protected by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Fifty senators also oppose this treaty, including Democrat Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, cite six reasons for opposing the treaty (from Senator Moran of Kansas’ website):

The six reasons for opposing ratification of the ATT include:

  1. The treaty failed to achieve consensus, and was adopted by majority vote in the U.N. General Assembly. This violates the red line drawn by the Obama Administration;

  2. The treaty allows amendments by a three-quarters majority vote, circumventing the power and duty of the U.S. Senate to provide its advice and consent on treaty commitments before they are assumed by the United States;

  3. The treaty includes only a weak non-binding reference to the lawful ownership, use of, and trade in firearms, and recognizes none of these activities, much less individual self-defense, as fundamental individual rights. This poses a threat to the Second Amendment;

  4. The State Department has acknowledged that the treaty is “ambiguous.” By becoming party to the treaty, the U.S. would therefore be accepting commitments that are inherently unclear;

  5. The criteria at the heart of the treaty are vague and easily politicized. They violate the right of the American people, under the Constitution, to freely govern themselves. The language restricts the ability of the United States to conduct its own foreign policy and allows foreign sources of authority to impose judgment or control upon the United States; and

  6. The State Department has acknowledged that the treaty includes language that could hinder the United States from fulfilling its strategic, legal and moral commitments to provide arms to key allies such as the Republic of China (Taiwan) and the State of Israel.

You know me – I like to actually READ the text.  Here is the text – 12 pages long (from the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs) and I found some interesting excerpts:

Article 3
Ammunition/Munitions
Each State Party shall establish and maintain a national control system to
regulate the export of ammunition/munitions fired, launched or delivered by the
conventional arms covered under Article 2 (1), and shall apply the provisions of
Article 6 andArticle 7 prior to authorizing the export of such ammunition/munitions.
National control system?  Sounds like gun control to me.  That national control system covers all weapons in Article 2(1) which includes “small arms and light weapons” which are not further defined except as stated ominously in Article 5 (3) as follows:  “national definitions [for small arms and light weapons] shall not cover less than the descriptions used in relevant United Nationsinstruments at the time of entry into force of this Treaty.”  We would be delegating out gun control laws to the UN.  And there is enforcement:
Article 13
Reporting
1. Each State Party shall, within the first year after entry into force of this Treaty
for that State Party, in accordance with Article 22, provide an initial report to the
Secretariat of measures undertaken in order to implement this Treaty, including
national laws, national control lists and other regulations and administrative
measures. Each State Party shall report to the Secretariat on any new measures
undertaken in order to implement this Treaty, when appropriate. Reports shall be
made available, and distributed to States Parties by the Secretariat.
 
***
 
Article 14
Enforcement
Each State Party shall take appropriate measures to enforce national laws and
regulations that implement the provisions of this Treaty.

It violates the Constitution for the United States to ratify any treaty that requires a report to foreigners.

Article 4
Parts and Components
Each State Party shall establish and maintain a national control system to
regulate the export of parts and components where the export is in a form that
provides the capability to assemble the conventional arms covered under Article 2
(1) and shall apply the provisions of Article 6 and Article 7 prior to authorizing the
export of such parts and components.
Same objection as Article 4 – this provision requires gun control for gun parts, too.  A doozy is Article 5:
Article 5
General Implementation
1. Each State Party shall implement this Treaty in a consistent, objective and
non-discriminatory manner, bearing in mind the principles referred to in this Treaty.
2. Each State Party shall establish and maintain a national control system,
including a national control list, in order to implement the provisions of this Treaty.
3. Each State Party is encouraged to apply the provisions of this Treaty to the
broadest range of conventional arms. National definitions of any of the categories
covered under Article 2 (1) (a)-(g) shall not cover less than the descriptions used in
the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms at the time of entry into force of
this Treaty. For the category covered under Article 2 (1) (h), national definitions
shall not cover less than the descriptions used in relevant United Nations
instruments at the time of entry into force of this Treaty.
4. Each State Party, pursuant to its national laws, shall provide its national
control list to the Secretariat, which shall make it available to other States Parties.
States Parties are encouraged to make their control lists publicly available.
5. Each State Party shall take measures necessary to implement the provisions of
this Treaty and shall designate competent national authorities in order to have an
effective and transparent national control system regulating the transfer of
conventional arms covered under Article 2 (1) and of items covered under Article 3
and Article 4.
6.Each State Party shall designate one or more national points of contact to
exchange information on matters related to the implementation of this Treaty. Each
State Party shall notify the Secretariat, established under Article 18, of its national
point(s) of contact and keep the information updated.

Not only will there be national gun control but the list of gun owners will be given to the United Nations!

3.  Contrary to the Senator’s assertion that no weapons deal with “reliable partners”, the treaty says in Article 6 that no arms sale is lawful if it violates arms embargoes (Art. 6[1]), existing international agreements (Art. 6 [2]), and this:

3. A State Party shall not authorize any transfer of conventional arms covered
under Article 2 (1) or of items covered under Article 3 or Article 4, if it has
knowledge at the time of authorization that the arms or items would be used in the
commission of genocide, crimes against humanity, grave breaches of the Geneva
Conventions of 1949, attacks directed against civilian objects or civilians protected
as such, or other war crimes as defined by international agreements to which it is a
Party.

Now, I can see Israel being “judged” to have committed “genocide” or attacked civilians or commit other “war crimes”.  This treaty could affect this.  It might be in our best interest to arm civilians, guerrillas or rebels in a nation and this provision would seriously compromise this ability.

4.  But this takes the cake:

The treaty does not change or restrict any right or liberty guaranteed to 
American citizens by the U.S. Constitution.

In fact, the U.S. Constitution strictly prohibits the U.N. or any other 
international entity from infringing on our national sovereignty or individual 
rights.

It is an open question as to if this is true in light of the Supremacy Clause that says treaties are the supreme law of the land and all state judges must obey the Constitution.  Senator Kaine has more faith in the UN and the Federal Courts than I do.

Some might think that this takes the cake instead:

As a gun owner and strong believer in Second Amendment rights,...

Well, it might be a biased source, but the NRA-ILA gave Kaine a F for gun rights and opposed his election.  Here’s why from their site:

Tim Kaine ordered an investigation into suing Tim Kaine ordered an investigation into suing America’s firearm manufacturers out of business, which would have eliminated tens of thousands of American jobs. (1)

Anti-GunTim Kaine supported Sonia Sotomayor for the U.S. Supreme Court — the same Sonia Sotomayor who signed an opinion saying Americans do not have an individual right to own firearms. (2)
Anti-GunTim Kaine spent taxpayer dollars on a gun control rally and said “I can’t think of an issue I’d rather be aligned with” than gun control. (3)
Anti-GunAnd as chairman of the Democratic National Committee, Tim Kaine pushed for more restrictive gun control laws. (4)

Cite 1: Richmond Times-Dispatch, 3/14/1999 – Cite 2: DNC Press Release, 5/29/2009 – Cite 3: Richmond Times-Dispatch, 5/23/2000 & 6/15/2000 – Cite 4: Huffington Post, 1/21/2011

I’ll let the reader judge – is this misinformation or sincere difference in views?  Thankfully this treaty will not pass this Congress.  But that is no thanks to Senator Kaine.

 

 

 


 

About Elwood Sanders

Elwood "Sandy" Sanders is a Hanover attorney who is an Appellate Procedure Consultant for Lantagne Legal Printing and has written ten scholarly legal articles. Sandy was also Virginia's first Appellate Defender and also helped bring curling in VA! (None of these titles imply any endorsement of Sanders’ views)

One Response to “SENATOR KAINE CAUGHT SUPPORTING UN SMALL ARMS TREATY!”

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    1. […] Here’s a wonderful reason for just saying NO to the many UN treaties out there – one of which (The UN Small Arms Treaty) Senator Kaine seems to like! […]


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    Tom White Says:

    Nothing is more conservative than a republican wanting to get their majority back. And nothing is more liberal than a republican WITH a majority.

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