Donald Trump says US will withdraw from international arms trade treaty

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Donald Trump says US will withdraw from international arms trade treaty

The president made his remarks to the National Rifle Association.


President Donald Trump speaks to the annual meeting of the National Rifle Association (Evan Vucci/AP)
President Donald Trump speaks to the annual meeting of the National Rifle Association (Evan Vucci/AP)

President Donald Trump has said the US has decided to withdraw its support for a treaty regulating the multibillion-dollar global arms trade.

It is the latest example of the Trump administration’s dislike of international pacts.

Mr Trump said he has decided to revoke the United States’ status as a signatory of the Arms Trade Treaty regulating international trade in conventional weapons, including small arms, battle tanks, combat aircraft and warships.

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Audience members look on as President Donald Trump speaks (Evan Vucci/AP)

He said America is “rejecting this treaty” and “taking our signature back”.

Mr Trump made the announcement as he vowed to fight for gun rights and implored members of the nation’s largest pro-gun group to rally behind his re-election bid.

“It’s under assault,” he said of the constitutional right to bear arms. “But not while we’re here.”

President Barack Obama signed the Arms Trade Treaty in 2013 but it has never been ratified by US lawmakers.

“Under my administration, we will never surrender American sovereignty to anyone,” Mr Trump said, before signing a document on stage asking the Senate to halt the ratification process.

“I hope you’re happy,” he told the group, to cheers.

His move against the treaty came as Mr Trump sought to excite an organisation that was pivotal to his victory in 2016 but, three years later, is limping toward the next election divided and diminished.

“You better get out there and vote,” he said, telling the crowd of thousands that the 2020 election “seems like it’s a long ways away. It’s not”.

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Gun activists denounced the treaty when it was under negotiation as an infringement of civilian firearm ownership, despite the well-enshrined legal principle that says no treaty can override the Constitution or US laws.

The treaty is aimed at cracking down on illicit trading in small arms, thereby curbing violence in some of the most troubled corners of the world.

Advocates of tighter gun restrictions denounced Mr Trump’s decision. Kris Brown, president of the Brady organisation, said it was a “reckless move” that will “only embolden terrorists and other dangerous actors around the world”.

Press Association

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