Today, John Kerry is set to sign the UN treaty on guns , but neither he nor President Obama can enact a single provision of that treaty without consent of the senate and legislation passed by both houses of congress and a constitutional amendment. And since the senate would need 67 votes in order to ratify the treaty, it appears to be all but dead in the water.
Before the law can go into effect, the senate would need to ratify the treaty with 67 votes. Some of the provisions, would need legislation passed in order to control the sales and importation of the guns. The House would find that unjustified and the democrats would need to take back control of the house in 2014 to even make it possible.
But more importantly, it would take a constitutional amendment, passed by 67% in each chamber of congress, then ratified by 34 states, a seemingly impossibility. Since the 2nd amendment gives citizens the right to own and carry arms, only a constitutional amendment could alter that right. And in fact, even if the senate would consent to the treaty, the Supreme Court would be obliged to throw it out on constitutional grounds.
Addressing these various arguments against the UN treaty, Sen Bob Corker, R-Tenn, wrote a letter to President Obama, advising him not to try to impliment any part of the treaty without senatorial consent. He also noted the need to change US, which requires a vote by both chambers. Here is his letter:
Dear President Obama,
It is my understanding that Secretary of State John Kerry will sign the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) on behalf of the United States. The ATT raises significant legislative and constitutional questions. Any act to implement this treaty, provisionally or otherwise, before the Congress provides its advice and consent would be inconsistent with the United States Constitution, law, and practice.
As you know, Article II, Section 2 of the United States Constitution requires the United States Senate to provide its advice and consent before a treaty becomes binding under United States law. The Senate has not yet provided its advice and consent, and may not provide such consent. As a result, the Executive Branch is not authorized to take any steps to implement the treaty.
Moreover, even after the Senate provides its advice and consent, certain treaties require changes to United States law in the form of legislation passed by both the House and Senate. The ATT is such a treaty. Various provisions of the ATT, including but not limited to those related to the regulation of imports and trade in conventional arms, require such implementing legislation and relate to matters exclusively reserved to Congress under our Constitution.
Because of the concerns discussed above, as well as the fundamental issues the ATT raises with respect to the individual rights protected by the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution, as the Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, it is my view that you may not take any executive action to implement this treaty, provisionally or otherwise, unless and until: (1) the United States Senate has provided its constitutionally required advice and consent to its ratification; and (2) the Congress has passed any and all required legislation to bring this treaty into effect under United States domestic law.
Senator Bob Corker