The United States is stepping away from the United Nations (U.N.) international Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) which was signed under the Obama administration in 2013, President Donald Trump confirmed Friday.
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"The United Nations will soon receive a formal notice that America is rejecting this treaty," Trump told the roaring crowds gathered for a convention at the Indianapolis National Rifle Association, one of Trump’s primary campaign investors.
Whipping out a pen on stage, the president signed the decision that he says is “taking back America’s sovereignty” from an “unelected, unaccountable, global bureaucracy” and essentially undoing the efforts of ex-President Barack Obama and the U.N. to regulate international arms sales.
"We’re taking our signature back … We will never allow foreign bureaucrats to trample on your Second Amendment," Trump said.
The agreement covers weapons exports, ranging from small firearms to tanks, but not domestic sales.
Rather than ratify the amendment, Trump will request the Senate return the document to the executive branch, White House officials said.
Over 100 nations either implemented or ratified the agreement, but in the United States, the initiative failed to pass the Senate, citing pre-existing export regulations that "have long been considered the gold standard for engaging in responsible arms trading."
In a statement, Washington said: "The ATT is simply not needed for the United States to engage in responsible arms trade. America will continue to abide by United States laws that ensure our arms sales are implemented after careful legal and policy reviews."
Arms trade expert and Stimson Center policy research thinktank managing director, Rachel Stohl, bemoaned the Trump decision, saying, “Today the President once again walked away from America's leadership role in the world and undermined international efforts to reduce human suffering caused by irresponsible and illegal arms transfers.
"Unsigning the Arms Trade Treaty will undermine international peace and security, increase irresponsible and illegal sales of conventional weapons, and harm the American economy."
The 193-nation U.N. General Assembly overwhelmingly approved the pact in April 2013 and the United States, the world’s No. 1 arms exporter, voted in favor of it despite fierce opposition from the NRA.
Dropping out of the treaty is part of a broader Trump administration overhaul of arms export policies to bolster a domestic industry that already dominates global weapons trade.