The day after President Obama was re-elected, his administration acted to jump start a United Nations treaty that critics say takes direct aim at Second Amendment freedoms here in the U.S.
Pennsylvania Rep. Mike Kelly is pushing House legislation to demand Obama reject any efforts at the United Nations or anywhere else to infringe on Americans' constitutional right to keep and bear arms. The House doesn't have any real jurisdiction on the issue as the Senate gives the final word on treaties, but Kelly said raising public awareness is critical.
"Our ability to keep and bear arms is constantly under attack," he said. "Our Second Amendment is constantly under attack by an administration that uses this wordsmithing and this constant massaging and spinning."
Kelly is referring to what he sees as a regular Obama administration habit of insisting legislation and regulations are not going to do what critics fear, but an actual reading of administration policy shows the exact opposite.
At issue is the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty. It's stated purpose is to crack down on the proliferation of weapons, but critics like Kelly see it as a means of targeting U.S. gun rights and stopping the U.S. from arming its allies.
Supporters of the treaty say Americans won't be impacted because nothing coming from the U.N. can trump the U.S. Constitution. Kelly said that argument provides him no comfort.
"I just look at the last four years," said Kelly. "Anybody that's buying that, I've got a great piece of land for them in some swamp somewhere. I've lost faith and trust in this administration."
The specter of being blocked by a U.N. treaty from aiding and arming friends like Taiwan and Israel is horrifying to Kelly. He said that creates all sorts of problems because nations won't be able to count on the U.S. – a problem he sees in abundance even before the final vote on the treaty now scheduled for March.
"Whenever you start to lose your ability to protect yourself, whenever you lose your ability to trade arms with your friends, with your allies, then they begin to lose faith in you," Kelly said. "It breaks down a very delicate relationship that is very strained right now. We've sent so many mixed messages to the world as to who we are and where we're going to be."
Kelly urges citizen action now – even before the U.N. vote – by aggressively lobbying the White House to back away from this treaty and putting pressure on senators to reject the plan if it ever gets to the Senate.
"This is critical for us as a nation," he said. "I don't want anybody tramping on our Second Amendment rights."