Trump tells NRA he’s withdrawing from UN arms trade treaty

Jill Colvin and Lisa Marie Pane

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — With pro-gun legislation largely stalled in Congress, US President Donald Trump said Friday he is withdrawing the US from an international agreement on the arms trade, telling the National Rifle Association the treaty is “badly misguided.”

Trump made the announcement as he vowed to fight for gun rights and implored members of the nation’s largest pro-gun group — struggling to maintain its influence — to rally behind his re-election bid.

“It’s under assault,” he said of the constitutional right to bear arms. “But not while we’re here.”

Trump said he would be revoking the United States’ status as a signatory of the UN Arms Trade Treaty, which regulates international trade in conventional weapons, from small arms to battle tanks, combat aircraft and warships. President Barack Obama signed the pact in 2013 but it has never been ratified by US lawmakers.

It has long been opposed by the NRA.

“Under my administration, we will never surrender American sovereignty to anyone,” Trump said, before signing a document on stage asking the Senate to halt the ratification process. “We will never allow foreign diplomats to trample on your Second Amendment freedom.”

“I hope you’re happy,” he told the group, to cheers.

President Donald Trump poses with NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris Cox, left, and executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre before speaking at the National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action Leadership Forum in Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Friday, April 26, 2019. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

His move against the treaty came as Trump sought to excite an organization that was pivotal to Trump’s victory in 2016 but, three years later, is limping toward the next election divided and diminished.

“You better get out there and vote,” he said, telling the crowd of thousands that the 2020 election “seems like it’s a long ways away. It’s not.”

Gun activists denounced the treaty when it was under negotiation as an infringement of civilian firearm ownership, despite the well-enshrined legal principle that says no treaty can override the Constitution or US laws. The treaty is aimed at cracking down on illicit trading in small arms, thereby curbing violence in some of the most troubled corners of the world.

Advocates of tighter gun restrictions denounced Trump’s decision. Kris Brown, president of the Brady organization, said it was a “reckless move” that will “only embolden terrorists and other dangerous actors around the world.”

In a speech full of grievance, Trump railed against the Russia investigation, which did not establish a criminal conspiracy between Russians and the Trump campaign. Special counsel Robert Mueller outlined potential episodes of obstruction of justice by the president without concluding that he had committed any crime, leaving such questions for Congress to pursue as it saw fit.

“They tried for a coup,” Trump said. “It didn’t work out so well.”

“And I didn’t need a gun for that, did I?” he quipped, adding: “Spying. Surveillance. Trying for an overthrow? And we caught ’em.”

And in a pre-emptive attack against his 2020 Democratic challengers, Trump claimed without evidence that the other party wants “to take away your guns.”

The 2nd Amendment and the Politics of Gun Control: To watch, click here.

An emboldened NRA had high hopes and ambitious plans for easing state and national gun regulations after pouring tens of millions of dollars into the 2016 presidential race, seeing its dark horse candidate win and Republicans in control of both branches of Congress.

But much of the legislation the group championed has stalled, due, in part, to a series of mass shootings, including the massacre at a Parkland, Florida, high school that left 17 dead and launched a youth movement against gun violence that has had a powerful impact. And Democrats won control of the House in the midterms.

At the same time, the group is grappling with infighting, bleeding money and facing a series of investigations into its operating practices, including allegations that covert Russian agents seeking to influence the 2016 election courted its officials and funneled money through the group.

As Trump landed in Indianapolis, a judge imposed an 18-month prison term on gun rights activist Maria Butina, an admitted Russian agent who tried to infiltrate American conservative groups.

The NRA’s shaky fortunes have raised questions about the one-time kingmaker’s clout heading into 2020.

“I’ve never seen the NRA this vulnerable,” said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety, a nonprofit that advocates for gun control measures.

With Trump in office, gun owners no longer fear the Second Amendment is under attack to the extent it was perceived to be under Democrats.

“Good times are never good for interest groups because it’s much better when Armageddon is at your doorstep,” said Harry Wilson, a Roanoke College professor who has written extensively on gun politics. “Fear is a huge motivator in politics.”

The NRA, said Adam Winkler, a UCLA law professor and expert on gun policy, has also dramatically changed its messaging over the last two years, with its NRATV service advocating a panoply of far-right political views that have turned off some members.

Holding pictures of victims killed in gun violence, thousands of people, many of them students, march against gun violence in Manhattan during the March for Our Lives rally on March 24, 2018 in New York City. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images/AFP

At the same time, public sentiment has shifted. A March AP-NORC poll found that 67% of Americans overall think gun laws should be made stricter — up from 61% in October 2017.

And a June 2018 Gallup poll found overall favorable opinions of the NRA down slightly from October 2015, from 58% to 53%. Unfavorable views have grown, from 35% to 42%.

Against that backdrop, Democratic politicians have become more comfortable assailing — and even actively running against — the NRA and pledging action to curb gun violence. And gun control groups like Everytown, which is largely financed by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and a political action committee formed by Gabby Giffords, the former Arizona congresswoman wounded in a shooting, have become better organized and more visible, especially at the state level.

That reversal was made clear during the 2018 midterm elections, when those groups vastly outspent the NRA.

During the midterms the NRA “committed almost a disappearing act,” said Everytown’s Feinblatt.

Winkler, the UCLA law professor, allowed that the group had scored some victories under Trump, including the appointment of two Supreme Court justices who may be open to striking down gun laws.

But overall, he said, “On the legislative front, the NRA has been frustrated,” with priorities like national reciprocity for conceal carry laws and a repeal of the ban on silencers stalled.

FALSE FLAGS ON FIVE FRONTS: Sandy Hook, Boston bombing, Charlottesville, Las Vegas and JFK: to watch, click here.

Instead, Trump introduced a new federal regulation: a ban on bump stocks after a man using the device opened fire on a crowd of concertgoers on the Las Vegas strip, killing 58 people and wounding hundreds.

That bothered some members attending the convention, even as many donned “Make America Great Again” hats and cheered Trump loudly.

Mike Cook, who works at a shipyard in Alabama, said he’d been disappointed that gun rights haven’t seen much improvement under Trump. The bump stock ban, in particular, upset him because it was done administratively by Trump officials.

He’s uncertain if the millions spent on Trump’s campaign in 2016 were worth it. But, he said, Trump is “better than the alternative”.

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30 thoughts on “Trump tells NRA he’s withdrawing from UN arms trade treaty”

    1. So claim your right to bear arms as a legal and cultural right, but not the faulty claim that low gun ownership always causes high crime rates. America is about the only area that has high gun ownership.

      1. Based on your maps (that’s all I am going by). Conversely, the places with high gun ownership, including some besides america, do have low homicide rates, that side of your aruement holds up,. But not the reverse, in other words the inversely proportional only works one way.
        high guns -> low homicides
        low guns.-> high or low homicides
        Another factor with america is that you have many prisoners. Also america (and not just america) has the death penalty as a dterent. It is pity the real high level criminals are above the law.

    2. But you are right that high gun ownership low homicides. So you can say why LOWER from existing HIGH gun ownership in america and risk the uncertain result of HIGH or LOW homicide rates .

  1. Your law says you have the right to bear arms, that is your legal right, stick to that argument, the one about high gun ownership stops crime possibly may be true in america but not in India or China or Australia, look at your own maps!. America, Australia etc invaded Iraq and raised the homicide rate done in the name of rescuing them from weapons of mass destruction which proved a lie and the invaders are still there, really it was murder of thousands of people.

  2. I agree with you that your constituion allows gun ownership and therefore it is your right to own guns. But I still can see lots of areas on that map gun ownership & homicides, where low or low-medium gun ownership gives low homicide rates eg. India, China, Australia. So the argument that guns reduce homicides only applies in certain situations, this includes america. It is also part of your culture. The other trouble is america (and others , including my home australia) have gone all over the world shooting people and blowing people up, with high homicide rates, much higher than if they didn’t invade those countries. Guns kill, I don’t like innocent good people killed for no reason. You can shoot the murderers and home invaders, if deemed necessary.

      1. The entire comment system is befuddling I’m doing my best to work with the webmaster and Fetzer….and they seem to be doing their best….but things are going on that no for which no one has an answer. Some posts disappear without any notice…moderation, spam etc. Others make it. No rhyme or reason.

      2. The entire comment system is befuddling I’m doing my best to work with the webmaster and Fetzer….and they seem to be doing their best….but things are going on that no for which no one has an answer. Some posts disappear without any notice…moderation, spam etc. Others make it. No rhyme or reason.

          1. We’re sorry you are having issues with the commenting system @Willy. I noticed one of the main reasons why yours is getting flagged is your cookie isn’t being set when commenting.

            We are working hard to approve all legitimate comments from all users, and tirelessly fighting spammers. We may move towards a member-based commenting system, which would be free of course. This way we can manually approve users and then those users would have free reign to post. If you have a better solution please let us know.

            Thanks

          2. Thank you. Low tech as I am, “cookie not being set when commenting” means zip to me. Is there something I can do?
            In any case, I would absolutely support a membership based system.
            I realize what you guys are going through is a pain…and I appreciate your tolerance of all my emails.

          3. I changed my cookies to always allow this site, and I posted a link that didn’t post but at least a moderation notice came up.

          1. My last comment above was initially labeled spam, so my guess is someone is out there trying to help…the Dr. or the Webmaster, Jack. I certainly appreciate that.

  3. The bump stock ban was disappointing….hard to say how much Trump actually had to do with that, although, he could have vetoed it. It would only be an educated guess, but it’s doubtful most gun owners are affected by that ban. It’s also likely there are still hundreds of thousands still out there….possibly millions. Breaking with that UN treaty is another plus for Trump.
    IF you would care to see a list of what else he has done in two years, go to The Jim Baker Show and look for the list of Trump’s voluminous accomplishments.

    1. Trump promised to end wars and is threatening to start wars with Iran and Venezuela. He promised to jail crooked Hillary, he didn’t. Face it, Trump is fake news himself.

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