A Republican state senator in Virginia has proposed a resolution opposing a United Nations arms trade treaty that has not been finalized yet.
State Sen. Steve Martin (R-Chesterfield) has introduced a resolution indicating that the state Legislature opposes the U.N. treaty regulating the global trading of firearms because it would harm the ability of U.S. citizens to own guns. The U.N. is scheduled to complete the treaty during a meeting in March. Martin's resolution calls on President Barack Obama to not sign the treaty and the U.S. Senate not to ratify it if Obama does sign it. Obama is expected to sign the treaty once the language is finalized by a U.N. committee.
"I think it is very dangerous," Martin said of the proposal. "If we were to do it, it would be a straight-up violation of our Second Amendment rights. That is an important amendment in our Constitution. It is essential to all others."
The U.N. treaty, which was on hold for much of 2012, would regulate the international arms trade, including restrictions on the U.S. exports of guns. The National Rifle Association has been a vocal opponent of the proposal, saying that it would regulate private gun ownership in the United States. The U.N. voted to resume talks in March, days after the Newtown, Conn., school shooting which left 26 dead.
Martin said he introduced the resolution after a number of people came to him asking for a way for Virginia to try to stop the treaty. If Obama signs it, the treaty would not impact U.S. arms trade practices until it was ratified by two-thirds of the U.S. Senate, which is considered unlikely. The treaty has become a concern for conservatives, who believe it will regulate private gun ownership in the United States. The Virginia resolution, if passed, would be advisory in nature and would not contain the force of law.
Martin is seeking the Republican nomination for lieutenant governor this year, but said his statewide ambitions did not impact his desire to introduce the resolution. "I do not do things for political reasons," he said.
Martin said that he believes that he has the support to get the resolution passed in the Republican-controlled House of Delegates and in the Republican-controlled Senate. Senate passage will be trickier, with a tie between both parties in the Senate and Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling (R) casting the tie breaking vote.
Anna Scholl, executive director of Progress Virginia, which is opposing the resolution, agreed with Martin that it would be likely to pass given the Republican leanings in Richmond. She compared it to the attempts by conservatives to block U.N. Agenda 21, a sustainability program that conservatives have rallied against nationally, claiming it is a way for the U.N. to control private property and end activities ranging from scuba diving to golf.
"I raised my eyebrows when I saw them come in," Scholl said.
Martin said he plans to push the U.N. gun resolution because the Constitution could suffer a fatal blow if anything happened to the Second Amendment.
"I am a strong Second Amendment defender," Martin said. "The Second Amendment and its role are essentially important to the preservation of all liberties."
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