Obama’s Hail Mary pass

The pres­i­dent tries one last time to evis­cer­ate the Sec­ond Amend­ment

The Washington Times Daily - - EDITORIAL -

Few Amer­i­cans know much about the Arms Trade Treaty ne­go­ti­ated by the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion, pro­posed for adop­tion by the United Na­tions three years ago, and still wait­ing for rat­i­fi­ca­tion by the U.S. Se­nate. Pres­i­dent Obama, who would have pushed it along even ear­lier but didn’t want any­one to hear about it be­fore the 2012 midterm con­gres­sional elec­tions, when it was new, is try­ing for rat­i­fi­ca­tion one last time. The Democrats, as the chas­tened pres­i­dent said at the time, “took a lick­ing” in those midterm elec­tions, and the lick­ing might have been worse. He per­suaded the U.N. to post­pone its pas­sage un­til the elec­tions were done, and then he urged them to go ahead.

The treaty was years in the mak­ing and un­til Mr. Obama ar­rived at the White House the United States made it clear that it would never be a party to an in­ter­na­tional agree­ment that in­fringed the Sec­ond Amend­ment rights of Amer­i­cans. That red line was re­moved at Mr. Obama’s re­quest. The pres­i­dent has trou­ble with red lines. The treaty was aimed at reg­is­ter­ing not just mil­i­tary weapons, as its pro­po­nents ar­gued, but in­di­vid­u­ally owned civil­ian arms, too, in­clud­ing ri­fles, pis­tols and shot­guns.

Cham­pi­ons of the Sec­ond Amend­ment fought hard for lan­guage ex­empt­ing such arms, but such an ex­emp­tion was un­equiv­o­cally re­jected by the U.N. ne­go­tia­tors. What was of­fered in­stead was mean­ing­less ar­gle-bar­gle in the pre­am­ble to the treaty, with no bind­ing ef­fect. Since a ma­jor­ity of the U.S. Se­nate op­posed rat­i­fi­ca­tion, Mr. Obama would not sub­mit the treaty to the Se­nate be­cause he knew Harry Reid could not cor­ral the 66 se­na­tors re­quired to rat­ify it. Un­til last week.

Mr. Obama de­cided to give it the old col­lege try. He sent it up late in the week, as­sur­ing se­na­tors who know bet­ter they need not worry about the Sec­ond Amend­ment be­cause the treaty is “fully con­sis­tent with rights of U.S. cit­i­zens, in­clud­ing those se­cured by the Sec­ond Amend­ment.”

That was false three years ago, and it’s false now. Sen. Robert Corker of Ten­nessee, the chair­man of the Se­nate For­eign Re­la­tions Com­mit­tee, told Mr. Obama that “noth­ing has changed over the last four years to sug­gest the treaty is in our na­tional in­ter­est, and it will re­main dead in the wa­ter.”

For­tu­nately, Mr. Corker and his col­leagues can have the last word. They can ei­ther ig­nore the treaty or take it up to drive a stake through its heart with a fi­nal re­buke to Mr. Obama, and to those de­ter­mined to drive the stake not through the treaty, which de­serves it, but through the Sec­ond Amend­ment. The Se­nate can’t let that hap­pen.

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