Trump Shows NRA He's Taking US Off Arms Trade Treaty

Obama signed the deal, but the Senate hasn't ratified it
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 26, 2019 4:25 PM CDT
Trump Shows NRA He's Taking US Off Arms Trade Treaty
President Trump speaks to the NRA on Friday in Indianapolis.   (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

President Trump told the NRA on Friday that the US will not support an international agreement that regulates the transfer of conventional weapons, including small arms, planes and ships. The UN effort was designed to prevent illicit arms transfers in violation of embargoes, the Washington Post reports. "We will never allow foreign bureaucrats to trample on your Second Amendment freedom," Trump said at the National Rifle Association's annual meeting in Indianapolis. He paused onstage to sign a paper he said would nullify Barack Obama's signature agreeing to the treaty, per NPR, then threw the pen into the crowd. The US agreed to the deal in 2013, but it was never ratified by the Senate. Work on the treaty began during George W. Bush's administration.

The NRA contends the treaty threatens Second Amendment rights by potentially allowing international restrictions on US gun ownership. Its executive director said Friday that Trump's action "gave NRA members one more reason to enthusiastically support his presidency." Rachel Stohl of the Stimson Center, an arms trade expert at the Washington think tank who helped draft the treaty, said, "It says to other countries, 'The US could become less responsible, so why shouldn’t I?'" The top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Bob Menendez, said that Trump's decision threatens national security, per the Guardian. While Americans "have come to painfully understand the threat posed by not doing enough to prevent weapons from ending up in the wrong hands," he said, "it is disturbing to see this administration turn back the clock on the little progress we have made." (More arms trafficking stories.)

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