Cotton: Senate should reject UN Arms Trade Treaty


WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Tom Cotton, R-Dardanelle, on Wednesday urged the U.S. Senate to vote against ratifying a United Nations Arms Trade Treaty that he fears will be used to limit rights of gun owners in the United States.

“The Senate must ratify the Arms Trade Treaty with a two-thirds majority before President Obama can implement. I urge my colleagues in the Senate to oppose the Arms Trade Treaty,” Cotton said in a press statement.

The United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday approved the treaty with 155 nations in favor including the United States. Three nations voted against the treaty - Iran, Syria and North Korea. China, Russia and Cuba were among the 22 nations to abstain from the vote.

“This is a victory for the world’s people,” said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in a statement issued after the vote.

The treaty, he said, would help prevent “grave human abuses” and provide much-needed momentum for other global disarmament and nonproliferation efforts.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry issued a statement in support of the treaty, saying it would establish a common international standard for regulating international trade in conventional weapons that should keep weapons from those seeking to commit acts of terrorism or genocide.

Kerry dismissed concerns raised about the right of U.S. citizens to bare arms.

“As the United States has required from the outset of these negotiations, nothing in this treaty could ever infringe on the rights of American citizens under our domestic law or the Constitution, including the Second Amendment,” Kerry said.

Gun Owners of America and the National Rifle Association have issued statements in the past opposing the treaty as an attack on the Second Amendment.

In a statement after the General Assembly vote, Amnesty International calling it a human rights victory and a defeat for the NRA.

Cotton said Wednesday that he is “deeply troubled” that the Obama administration voted in support of the treaty. He said he has concerns with “several dangerous and controversial provisions seeking to regulate the global trade of conventional armaments.”

Aside from his Second Amendment concerns, Cotton said the treaty could limit the ability of the United States to support its allies by requiring a lengthy review process for arms transfers.

Also, he said he fears “outlaw regimes” — including North Korea, Syria and Iran — will not be bound by the treaty.

Cotton last month co-sponsored a House resolution drafted by Rep. Mike Kelly, R-Pa., urging the United States not to become a signatory to the treaty. Reps. Steve Womack, R-Rogers, Tim Griffin, R-Little Rock, and Rick Crawford, R-Jonesboro, have also co-sponsored the resolution.

The treaty will go into force 90 days after the 50th signatory ratifies it.