|Congressman Griffith's Weekly E-Newsletter 4.8.13
Monday, April 8, 2013 ‚Äď
The Arms Trade Treaty ‚Äď An Update
While listening to people from across the district, it is clear the Second Amendment and the right to bear arms is among the most common topics that constituents wish to discuss. In fact, since the beginning of 2013, support for these rights has been the top issue my office receives correspondence on from folks throughout Southwest Virginia, Southside Virginia, and the Alleghany Highlands.
As you may know, the United Nations General Assembly entered final negotiations on the Arms Trade Treaty on March 18. Despite concerns that it could infringe on Second Amendment rights here in the United States, the Arms Trade Treaty was passed by the United Nations General Assembly on April 2. It even had the support of representatives of the United States.
The Arms Trade Treaty is intended to regulate global arms trade, stop illegal arms sales, and keep human rights abusers from obtaining weapons. These are good objectives, but as the saying goes, ‚Äúthe road to hell is often paved with good intentions.‚ÄĚ
Secretary of State John Kerry said in part ‚ÄúAs 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.‚ÄĚ
However, the right to bear arms in order to defend oneself is part of the natural law that is recognized by our Constitution. The treaty‚Äôs preamble, which in part claims to reaffirm the right of the State to regulate firearms, therefore violates the natural law and the recognition of that inalienable right in our Constitution.
Secretary Kerry and the Obama administration clearly do not understand the importance of the Bill of Rights and our Constitution, or they would not have agreed to support a treaty that so callously turns its back on our inalienable rights.
The Founders of our nation had the foresight to know that the United States may need to take part in international agreements, and put in place a process allowing us to do so. However, this process is not simple. International agreements such as this Arms Trade Treaty must be approved by the Senate by a two-thirds majority before it can be ratified and therefore consented to.
Just last month, the Senate passed an amendment to a budget bill that would prevent the United States from entering into the Arms Trade Treaty. This amendment passed in a vote of 53-46, plainly falling short of the 67 votes in favor of the Arms Trade Treaty that are required for its ratification.
I remain opposed to the Arms Trade Treaty, and have cosponsored a resolution making clear that this treaty undermines the Constitution. If you too are opposed to the Arms Trade Treaty, I would encourage you to contact the offices of Senator Mark Warner and Senator Tim Kaine to express your views. Since I do not have a vote on ratification of this treaty, I will continue to monitor this situation and any action in the Senate, and encourage you to do so as well. I will also continue working to preserve the constitutionally protected rights of U.S. citizens.
Honoring the Iron Lady
In 1995, former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher appeared before my colleagues and I in the Virginia General Assembly and said ‚ÄúWhen I consider all that this place [Virginia] has given to democracy, I am moved to say that in spirit, ‚ÄėI am a Virginian.‚Äô‚ÄĚ
We in the Commonwealth and throughout these United States mourn Lady Thatcher‚Äôs passing, and send our thoughts and prayers to her family and the British people.
The President‚Äôs Budget, At Long Last
More than two months after it was required by law, President Obama is expected to finally submit his budget plan to Congress. Reports indicate that the President‚Äôs budget will contain more taxes and more spending, but little of the actual reform we need to achieve meaningful debt and deficit reduction.
Last month, the House passed a balanced budget, and the Senate finally returned to the regular budgeting process, passing its first budget in nearly four years. However, these two budgets were passed without incorporating any of the President‚Äôs thoughts or preferences because he is approximately nine weeks late with his plan.
As always, if you have questions, concerns, or comments, feel free to call my Abingdon office at 276-525-1405 or my Christiansburg office at 540-381-5671. To reach my office by email, please visit my website at