The United States will withdraw from the international Arms Trade Treaty that aims to regulate the sale of weapons – including small arms, battle tanks, combat aircraft and warship – between countries, Donald Trump said on Friday.
The United Nations agreement was signed by former US President Barack Obama in 2013, but was never ratified. The country’s National Rifle Association has claimed that the treaty poses a threat to America’s second amendment right to bear arms.
“Under my Administration, we will never surrender American sovereignty to anyone,” Trump said at an NRA meeting in Indianapolis. “We will never allow foreign bureaucrats to trample on your Second Amendment freedoms. And that is why my administration will never ratify the UN Arms Trade Treaty.”
Trump further said the United Nations will soon receive a notice that America is rejecting the treaty. “I am officially announcing today that the United States will be revoking the effect of America’s signature from this badly misguided treaty,” he said amid loud cheers from the crowd. “We are taking our signature back.”
The United States is the world’s top arms exporter, with sales 58% higher than those of Russia – the world’s second largest exporter.
Trump promised to defend the second amendment rights of all Americans. “Because...when guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns...very simple,” he said.
In a statement released by the White House following Trump’s speech, the US government said the treaty fails to address the problem of “irresponsible arms transfers”.
“There is a track record of the ATT being used by groups to try and overturn sovereign national decisions on arms exports,” the statement read. “Currently, 63 countries are completely out of the agreement, including major arms exporters like Russia and China. The ATT cannot achieve its chief objective of addressing irresponsible arms transfers if these major arms exporters are not subject to it at all.”