US reverses position on arms trade treaty
Story here. Under the Bush Administration, the US wanted no part of it (thank you, John Bolton!). The position now will be that we expect a consensus decision ... but does that mean unanimous (as in we also agree) or just "a large majority."
While there has been movement on this issue, this particular article is almost three years old.
Posted by: Alan Richmond at May 18, 2012 10:13 AM
To your question on the meaning of consensus. It is not unanimous.
Posted by: Terraformer at May 18, 2012 12:15 PM
People keep dismissing the treaty threat on the grounds that even a Senate ratified treaty can't overrule the Second Amendment, and while that may be true, a treaty effectively requiring registration might very well be found constitutional. Gun registration increases the eventual temptation for confiscation, and reduces ownership and therefore political support by increasing costs and burdens, so it is important to fight registration for as long as possible. Even today's strict DROS requirements impose a serious burden on gun costs.
Posted by: Critic at May 18, 2012 02:11 PM
Critic: you're ignoring that the treaty isn't "self-executing", meaning whatever it says, the Congress would still have to pass legislation that for example sets up a registration system and requirement (and appropriates money for it!) and the President would have to sign it or have his veto overridden.
Right now I'm not worried about that, heck, even without a treaty our adversaries would do it if they could. The danger here is how it might mess up international commerce in guns, ammo, and gun parts. WRT to the latter, like G. H. W. Bush did with his assault rifle import ban, which we're still suffering under, the Executive could (ab)use their authority in the CGA of '68 to ban the importation of some things, but we could still build them here.
Posted by: Harold at May 18, 2012 05:20 PM
Are you sure it is not self-executing? Even if it is not, are you sure it will not be re-written before passage to make it self-executing? Besides, my main point is that our courts may well consider it constitutional if the treaty requires registration or a ban on private sales. So it is a threat with only a few members of the Senate standing in the way. That's probably good enough, but it shouldn't just be dismissed as unconstitutional and impossible. I'm almost wondering if all these people who say don't worry about it are actually Brady shills. Given that the Obama administration sold 2000 rifles to murderous criminal gangs, I'm not sure what he might be capable of doing to get the few extra votes he needs to get this through the Senate. He managed to pass the health care bill shortly after it had been dismissed as impossible.
Posted by: Critic at May 19, 2012 12:08 AM
I think your right....we don't even want to chance it....it would be like saying...the country would NEVER vote for a national tax(16th amendment). I think that even with the 5 votes we have now, it would pass, based on prior case law.
A lot of people would die in this country should that vote ever have to take place. It would almost be certain that we would have another civil war.
People need to understand that it won't be nice and pretty like the last one, but it's going to be nasty...probably 50x the body count. All the reasons people are upset will be used to justify their anger, right or wrong. Just a guess, but that's they way I see it. Sometimes it's ok to be wrong...lets hope I am.
Posted by: 5thofNov at May 19, 2012 03:19 AM
Critic: Yes, while IANAL, I'm sure it's not self-executing, because that's how this sort of thing works.
If you disagree, describe the mechanism by which it could self-execute, noting that by design the powers of the Executive and just one branch of the Senate are strictly limited and that we have the Judiciary as just one line of defense. Note also that something like a registration system will cost (a lot of) money, and the Feds can't directly push that on the states.
E.g., while the above and what follows wouldn't be "self-executing" (since they are are additional actions), the President can't just sign an Executive Order requiring registration, he doesn't have that much power.
Posted by: Harold at May 19, 2012 06:54 AM
A treaty ratified by the Senate becomes the law of the land, just like a law passed by the House. Thus the treaty could simply spell out exactly where and what changes are to be made to the US code just as if the House had passed the changes. I realize that is probably not typically the way treaties are done, but if Obama wants to push something through a lame duck Senate, he might just get creative.
Of course the House could probably figure out some way to block these things IF it was determined enough to.
An example of how it could be self-executing in the US would be that the treaty could simply require that all transactions have a Brady like background check as are currently required for commercial sales, or face the same penalty as for a commercial sale without a background check. That technically wouldn't be registration because it wouldn't apply to current owners and there wouldn't be an ownership database maintained by the government, but the bound books of licensed dealers are almost as bad as registration, especially since they almost all get turned over to the ATF eventually.
Another possibility is that the treaty could require something like a $5 per year per gun tax to go in part to the UN for gun control efforts. You would then have to list your guns on your tax return, and the scheme would be self funding.
Posted by: Critic at May 19, 2012 05:46 PM
Critic: My understanding of the Constitution and how our system of government works is vastly different than yours.
Let me pose this question: if something called a "treaty" ratified---but strangely enough, not written, isn't that something legislators do?---by the Senate could do so much, why did our Founders bother with another branch of the Congress?
Posted by: Harold at May 19, 2012 08:00 PM
The President writes (or negotiates) and signs the treaties. The Senate ratifies them, and the Judiciary can evaluate their constitutionality. There is a good chance the judiciary will find registration constitutional. I don't know why the Constitution leaves the House out of the treaty process. Part of the puzzle though may be that when the Constitution was written, the Senate was chosen by state government officials rather than voted on by the people. The founders were somewhat elitist and may not have trusted the directly elected House.
Article II Section 2 Paragraph 2
[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 IV Paragraph 2
This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.
I wonder if they could take advantage of a few pro gun senators not being present. Maybe then they wouldn't need 67 Senate votes.
Posted by: Critic at May 20, 2012 12:54 AM
To realize how much contempt the founders had for the voters, consider how far removed selection of the Supreme Court is from those voters. The people select the state government, the state government selects the electoral college, the electoral college selects the president, and the president selects the Supreme Court. That is [I]four[/I] layers of representatives between the voters and judicial decisions. The problem the founders were afraid of is getting serious, where the voters vote themselves more and more money and services and vote for unborn people to pay the taxes. I'm starting to think government should not be given the power to put the people in debt.
Posted by: Critic at May 20, 2012 01:36 AM
This treaty or anything advocated by the UN shouldn't see the light of day. However, one should consider how well all those Indian treaties were enforced. The theory was that the tribes were foreign, sovereign nations,thus these were treaties under the provisions of the Constitution. In some cases, the Senate didn't ratify thus making the treaties void but in others they were ratified and then ignored. And just recently the Supremes ruled that a treaty requiring consular notification of death penalty cases didn't override (Texas) state law. I am sure that Mr. Hardy could give a more learned discourse on this than I. It is true that the left could override all this, given the power, but as a poster above noted, they want to do this anyway, UN or no UN.
Posted by: Richard at May 20, 2012 06:40 AM