Sen. Jim Risch

Idaho’s Risch vows to stall U.N. arms treaty

by Kip Hill,  |  published on April 9, 2013

An international framework for controlling the global arms trade appears to be headed for a brick wall on Capitol Hill, and Idaho’s junior senator is among the chief bricklayers.

“Save your ink. It’s not going anywhere,” U.S. Sen. Jim Risch said this week.

The United Nations arms trade treaty, approved by an overwhelming majority of countries Tuesday, seeks to regulate an industry that topped $85 billion in 2011, according to the Congressional Research Service. But the Senate will have the final say on whether the United States joins the pact. Risch and other senators on both sides of the aisle bristle at the agreement, which they fear could infringe upon Americans’ Second Amendment rights and expand international control over domestic affairs.

“One of the best ways (the U.N.) can expand is by passing these treaties that deal with things that should be dealt with by us,” said Risch, a Republican from Boise serving on the Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee.

Secretary of State John Kerry has tried, so far without success, to ease Senate concerns about the treaty.

Lauding its U.N. passage Tuesday, Kerry disputed suggestions that the treaty trumps the Second Amendment. A preamble in the agreement’s language reaffirms “the sovereign right of any State to regulate and control conventional arms exclusively within its own territory.”

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