In front of the 2019 National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action Leadership Forum, President Donald Trump announced he would be withdrawing the US from a 2013 treaty called the Arms Trade Treaty.
The treaty regulates the international trade of conventional arms, from small arms to battle tanks to combat aircraft and warships. It took effect on 24 December 2014 and was ratified by 96 countries. While the US ratified the treaty, it has yet to actually put the rules of the treaty into force.
Trump said the reason he would ‘unsign’ the treaty is because he wants to protect the 2nd amendment, which guarantees Americans the right to bear arms, from ‘foreign bureaucrats.’ Trump signed a letter in front of the NRA crowd addressed to the Senate asking them to halt the ratification process of the treaty.
In 2013, when then President Obama signed the ATT, a group of 50 Senators agreed they would not sign the treaty, citing the vague provisions of the document and the fact that it would let other countries dictate US policy surrounding firearms. This group of Senators has prevented the treaty from being ratified, and with Trump’s opposition, it is unlikely it will be put into force during his administration.
The US was the major contributor towards the budget of the ATT, giving $124,5244 towards the 2019 budget, with Japan in second at $108,008. While many of the other countries who have ratified the treaty contributed to the ATT’s budget, the loss of the funds the US provided will most likely have an impact.
The move to withdraw from the treaty has been a major goal of the NRA since Obama signed it in 2013, and the group is happy that Trump announced he would un-sign the treaty. The group helped to stop the ratification of the treaty, as any Republican Senator that voted for it would face backlash from the NRA.