Manchin sides with GOP on arms deal

WASHINGTON – Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia is one of only five Democrats in a group of 50 senators opposed to the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has signed the Arms Trade Treaty intended to curb cross-border gun trade and keep weapons away from human rights abusers and criminals. The pact requires ratification by the Senate.

Opposed is the National Rifle Association, which claims the treaty goes against the Second Amendment guaranteeing citizens the right to bear arms.

“Under no circumstances should this country surrender our gun rights to the control of the United Nations,” Manchin said Tuesday. “While we can work toward improving the regulation of the international trade of weapons, I am very concerned that the rights of law-abiding Americans would be violated by entering into this agreement. I strongly oppose any treaty that infringes on our Second Amendment rights.”

Fifty senators signed a letter to President Obama stating six reasons why the upper chamber will not “give advice and consent” to the treaty and are therefore not bound to uphold the treaty’s object and purpose.

“We urge you to notify the treaty depository that the U.S. does not intend to ratify the Arms Trade Treaty, and is therefore not bound by its obligations,” the letter said.

The Democrats signing the letter were Manchin, Mark Begich of Alaska, Kay Hagan of North Carolina, Mary Landrieu of Lousiana and Mark Pryor of Arkansas.