President Trump effectively “unsigned” an international arms sales agreement Friday, moving to withdraw the U.S. from the United Nations’ Arms Trade Treaty. The agreement sets global standards for regulating transfers of conventional arms, from rifles to tanks and airplanes.
“We’re taking our signature back,” Trump said to thousands of cheering attendees, many wearing red hats emblazoned with the Republican president’s “Make America Great Again” slogan.
The treaty, known as the ATT, has been in effect since late 2014. The U.S. signed on to the agreement in 2013 but has not ratified the treaty. The agreement covers weapons exports, ranging from small firearms to tanks, but not domestic sales.
The NRA has long opposed the treaty, which regulates the $70 billion business in conventional arms and seeks to keep weapons out of the hands of human rights abusers. The lobbying group argues it would undermine domestic gun rights, a view the Obama administration rejected.
The NRA however spent $30.3 million in support of Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, according to the Centre for Responsive Politics, a group that tracks campaign spending.
“The United States will now lock arms with Iran, North Korea and Syria as non-signatories to this historic treaty whose sole purpose is to protect innocent people from deadly weapons,” said Oxfam America President Abby Maxman.
So far 101 countries have formally joined onto the treaty. Another 29, including the United States, signed it, but have not yet formally joined.
UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric called the treaty “a landmark achievement in the efforts to ensure responsibility in international arms transfers.” UN officials said they were unaware Trump had been planning to revoke the US signature.