Robert HARNEIS -TDO- (FRANCE) - In a dramatic gesture at the annual convention of the National Rifle AssociationPresident Trump signed an executive order withdrawing from the U.S. from the United Nations' Arms Trade Treaty. The agreement sets global standards for regulating transfers of conventional arms, from rifles to tanks and airplanes.
The treaty, known as the ATT, has been in effect since late 2014. The U.S. signed on to the agreement in 2013 but has not ratified the treaty.
The news was expected but Trump made it official at the National Rifle Association's annual convention in Indianapolis, pulling out a pen onstage and signing the paper that he said would take back the Obama administration's signature on behalf of the U.S.
The ATT has long been a target of the NRA, which claimed it would harm U.S. gun owners. Trump echoed that criticism on Friday, calling the ATT a threat to Second Amendment rights. "We will never surrender America's sovereignty to an unelected, unaccountable, global bureaucracy," Trump was quoted as saying, in a White House statement announcing the change.
The White House says Trump will ask the Senate to return the amendment to the executive branch rather than consider it for ratification.
"We're taking our signature back," Trump said. "The United Nations will get notice that we are formally rejecting this treaty."
More than 100 countries have ratified the ATT. But on Friday, the White House asserted that the U.S. already has export controls that "have long been considered the gold standard for engaging in responsible arms trading."
"The ATT is simply not needed for the United States to engage in responsible arms trade," the White House statement reads. "America will continue to abide by United States laws that ensure our arms sales are implemented after careful legal and policy reviews."
The White House also said the ATT "will only constrain responsible countries while allowing the irresponsible arms trade to continue," noting that major arms exporters such as Russia and China are not signatories to the treaty.
In 2013 Iran, Israel and North Korea opposed the Treaty.