Irrelevant Senate Amendment mischaracterizes Arms Trade Treaty

By jforres

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Washington, DC - International relief and development organization Oxfam America today responded to Senator Inhofe’s disingenuous amendment on the Arms Trade Treaty to the Senate budget resolution and urged other Senators to shun the misinformation spread by the leadership of the National Rifle Association and their allies in Congress. The Arms Trade Treaty would close the many loopholes unscrupulous arms traders now navigate with impunity and require countries to adopt similar, stringent standards for the export and import of weapons that are already in place in the United States.

An amendment introduced by Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) and passed by the Senate last night is a token for the NRA's scorecard by inaccurately claiming that the Arms Trade Treaty is a threat to the 2nd Amendment. It undermines the vital conversations occurring in New York this week to finalize this critical international agreement. The treaty being negotiated addresses the international trade in conventional weapons and explicitly excludes issues of domestic firearm use, sale, or manufacture. The American Bar Association, in a white paper released last month, confirms that the treaty is compatible with the US Constitution, including the Second Amendment.

In fact, prior to Mr. Inhofe’s amendment, an amendment introduced by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) was passed that made it clear that treaties cannot override the Constitution.

“Senator Leahy is right. No treaty can override the Bill of Rights and Congress is not allowed to spend funds on activities that contravene such rights,” said Scott Stedjan, senior policy advisor at Oxfam America. “We thank Senator Leahy for his quick action last night and call on other Senators to ignore the rumors and gross mischaracterizations spread through Congress by the pro-gun lobby.

"The Inhofe amendment against the Arms Trade Treaty is not only a disservice to the American people but also to the millions of people suffering from armed violence fueled by the irresponsible and illicit global arms trade," said Stedjan. "The Senators who voted in favor of the Inhofe amendment, and those who are co-sponsoring a similar resolution in the Senate, clearly have not read the treaty being negotiated. If they had they would know that the treaty establishes trade standards similar to existing US export control law and does not impact the 2nd Amendment.

"The Arms Trade Treaty will save lives and promote responsible arms trading standards around the world," said Stedjan. "Responsible Senators must stand up to the misinformation being spread in Congress about what this treaty will do."

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