Oct 15 2013


Cochran, Wicker Sign Letter to Obama Outlining Flaws with United Nations Pact

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) today signed a letter to President Obama that states their unequivocal opposition to ratification of a United Nations Arms Trade Treaty that the Obama administration has signed.

Cochran and Wicker reiterated their disapproval of the Arms Trade Treaty with the letter, which states: “As members of the Senate, we pledge to oppose the ratification of this treaty, and we give notice that we do not regard the United States as bound to uphold its object and purpose.”

On Sept. 25, Secretary of State John F. Kerry on behalf of President Obama signed onto the treaty, which is intended to regulate international arms sales. Cochran and Wicker have consistently opposed the proposed treaty because it does not sufficiently safeguard U.S. sovereignty, protect Second Amendment rights or exempt civilian firearms from its scope.

“The signing of this treaty is another example of a post-election pivot by this administration. Fortunately, a majority of Senators are on record as being wary of any proposal from the United Nations that might infringe on their Constitutional right to bear arms. I am proud to be among them, and resolved to oppose ratification,” Cochran said.

“The Obama Administration’s decision to sign the UN Arms Trade Treaty is a direct assault on the Second Amendment,” said Wicker. “The treaty could be used as a backdoor approach to limit the rights of every American to keep and bear arms. I stand with the majority of Mississippians in opposing this affront to U.S. sovereignty.”

Signed by a bipartisan group of 50 Senators, the letter highlights six specific reasons the Senators cannot support ratification, among them the fact that vague criteria in the measure would “steadily subject the United States to the influence of internationally-defined norms, a process that would impinge on our national sovereignty. We believe that treaties which allow foreign sources of authority to impose judgment or control upon the United States, as this one does, violate the right of the American people, under the Constitution, to freely govern themselves.”

“We urge you to notify the treaty depository that the U.S. does not intend to ratify the Arms Trade Treaty, and is therefore not bound by its obligations. As members of the Senate, we pledge to oppose the ratification of this treaty, and we give notice that we do not regard the U.S. as bound to uphold its object and purpose,” the Senators wrote.

Ratification of the treaty will require an affirmative two-thirds vote from the Senate, or at least 67 votes. In March, Wicker and Cochran were among 53 Senators who voted for an amendment to a budget resolution that expressed opposition to the United States entering into the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty.

The letter was spearheaded by Senators Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.) and James Inhofe (R-Okla.). In addition to Cochran and Wicker, it was signed by Senators: Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Mark Begich (D-Alaska), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), Jeffrey Chiesa (R-N.J.), Daniel Coats (R-Ind.), Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Kay Hagan (D-N.C.), Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Dean Heller (R-Nev.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Mike Johanns (R-Neb.), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), Mary Landrieu (D-La.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), John McCain (R-Ariz.), Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), Jim Risch (R-Ind.), Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), John Thune (R-S.D.), Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), and David Vitter (R-La.).

A copy of the signed letter to President Obama is available below.