Opposition Mounts To U.N. Gun Control Treaty

Majority in Senate say it violates the 2nd Amendment.

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Senate opposition is growing to President Obama's support for a United Nations effort that could bring international gun control into the United States and slap America's gun owners with severe restrictions.

At last count, 55 senators, including 10 Democrats, have signed letters to the president and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton saying they will oppose the Arms Trade Treaty . The treaty must win a two-thirds majority to win passage, meaning that approval appears doomed if the treaty language isn't changed. [See photos of the Obamas abroad.]

Kansas Republican Sen. Jerry Moran is leading the largest group of opposition. He sent a letter signed by 44 other senators warning the president not to move on the treaty.

"Our country's sovereignty and the Second Amendment rights of American citizens must not be infringed upon by the United Nations," Moran wrote in the letter. "Today, the Senate sends a powerful message to the Obama Administration: an Arms Trade Treaty that does not protect ownership of civilian firearms will fail in the Senate. Our firearm freedoms are not negotiable."

The treaty, which the Bush administration had opposed, deals with the international trade of arms. It would cover the trading of conventional firearms likes those used by collectors and sportsmen and women. [Read NRA Boss: Obama's Gone in 2012.]

The goal of the treaty is to come up with internationally recognized rules governing the trade of guns and ammo. The United States is the world's largest exporter of arms.

To sooth concerns, the administration has said that it would sign the accord only if all other states agreed to it first, but pro-gun groups view the international treaty as a first step toward home-grown gun control.

The senators and groups like the National Rifle Association argue that it would essentially gut the Second Amendment by allowing an international authority to control American gun ownership.

A final version of the treaty is expected to be finished next year.

The NRA has made killing the treaty their top goal.

"As we have for the past 15 years, the NRA will fight to stop a United Nations Arms Trade Treaty that infringes on the Constitutional rights of American gun owners," said Chris Cox, the NRA's top lobbyist. He said that Moran's letter "sends a clear message to the international bureaucrats who want to eliminate our fundamental, individual right to keep and bear arms. Clearly, a U.N. Arms Trade Treaty that includes civilian arms within its scope is not supported by the American people or their elected U.S. Senators. Senator Moran is a true champion of our freedom. We are grateful for his leadership and his tenacious efforts on this issue, as well as the 44 other senators who agree with the NRA's refusal to compromise on our constitutional freedoms."