Is it really about national security?
By Craig Masters
Many have written that the Gazette article about the UN Arms Treaty was just hogwash. They write, such a treaty could “never happen here,” because they believe a treaty has to be ratified by 2/3 of the Senate.
First and foremost, let us pray Obama doesn’t simply declare this an Executive Agreement!
Treaties are a complex issue and the vague language of the Constitution has always contributed to the debate. Obama has proven himself a master of capitalizing on hair-splitting language and he has made it clear he wants two critical sections of the UN Arms Treaty; a national registration of gun owners, and the ability to confiscate weapons from Americans he identifies as potential threats to “national security.” With that said, it might do us all well to review a little history about treaties and dispel some popular and wishful misconceptions.
First of all, treaties, once ratified, are considered the “Supreme Law of the Land.(1) Where does that place the Constitution? It is hard to tell in light of the current Supreme Court justices and their attitude toward legislating from the bench using the widest of latitude and putting “social justice” and convenient precedents of other rulings above the Constitution.
In American courts, precedent cases are often used to invalidate or accept actions. In the past 5 years, the current administration has set new precedents for presidential powers. Regardless of what anyone thinks about the value of Obamacare, it is not debatable that the dramatic rewriting of the law – after it was upheld in total by the Supreme Court – was illegal for the President to do. In the old U.S. of A. legislation originated in congress. The President could sign or veto new laws sent to him by congress, but nowhere in the Constitution was the President granted power to simply issue an order rewriting any law to fit his agenda. But since Obama did exactly that when he voided parts of Obamacare and granted exemptions to selected groups, a new precedent was set. There was no outcry, therefore, there is no illegal action?
Now, with those things in mind, consider the process of ratification of a treaty. (executive agreements require no process) According to the senate.gov website, the Senate does not ratify treaties – the Senate only approves or rejects a Resolution of Ratification. If the Resolution passes then the ratification takes place when the countries involved exchange the paperwork called the Instruments of Ratification. Therefore, technically, if Obama chooses to overstep his power again and side step around the legislative branch of the government, following his own precedent in changing Obamacare, he can actually exchange the Instruments of Ratification with the UN and let the chips fall where they may. No outcry, no crime, and we have gun control.
Remember, the gun control advocates have control of the Senate and this may be critical point.
There are options for the Senate and the President. The Senate can accept or reject the Resolution. The Senators:
- may approve or reject the treaty as it has been submitted
- make its approval conditional by amending the resolution to accept the text of the treaty
- may choose to take no definitive action, leaving the treaty pending in the Senate until withdrawn at the request of the President or, occasionally, at the initiative of the Senate.
- may allow the treaty to remain in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for extended periods, since treaties are not required to be resubmitted at the beginning of each new Congress. There have been instances in which treaties have lain dormant within the committee for years, even decades, without action being taken. Yet many parts of these treaties are enforced.
In addition to the previous list, the Senate session can simply end without a Resolution of Ratification and historically approximately 1 out of 3 Treaties signed by the Unites States are never ratified. This loophole where congress is not in session has proven to be one of Obama’s favorites, ie: recess appointments made even when, technically, congress was in session.
Most often, the Senate has simply not voted on treaties that its leadership deemed not to have sufficient support within the Senate for approval, and in general these treaties have eventually been withdrawn. But there is no legal requirement for the treaty to be withdrawn. It would seem very doubtful that Obama would voluntarily withdraw a back door way to get gun control enforced – especially if he can pass the blame on to the UN. One provision of the Arms Treaty is that if a signatory government can not enforce the law, that government can request UN assistance.
Now, consider the UN Arms Treaty and President Obama. This treaty was discussed earlier this year – as it has been for several years – and it was quite obvious that Obama has nowhere near the two-thirds of the Senate support for a successful Resolution. So why would he think for one minute it would ever be approved by the Senate. It is doubtful he expects it to be approved by the Senate.
One reason is that he does have iron clad control over the Foreign Relations Committee. Add to that his precedent of legislating without congressional approval or even consulting with congress. Then consider the openness with which the President has violated the Constitution in previous situations in matters dealing with virtually every single one of the ammendments comprising the Bill of Rights.
The actual treaty may never see the light of day in the senate so long as gun control advocates are in power. They don’t have to risk an open defeat or even face their constituents having clearly voted to choose the UN over the American Constitution. Yet, until there is action one way or another, it can be enforced as the “Supreme Law of the Land.” Which might be interpreted as being the law of the whole world superseding the supreme law of just one nation state.
The 2nd Ammendment is no obstacle on the downhill slope the gun control advocates are pushing America.
I hope this clears up some of the hope and change for those who were so sure “it could never happen here.” It already has happened in Colorado and many other areas. The precedent has been set.
Most of us never thought the President would be given the power of judge, jury, and executioner of Americans; but he has and he has used that power to kill Americans. “National Security” in the hands of the government is not security for citizens – it is only security for the government.