April 26 (UPI) — President Donald Trump said he’s walking away from a global arms treaty during remarks Friday at the National Rifle Association Convention in Indianapolis.
The president said he does not plan to ratify the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty, which President Barack Obama signed in 2013, but has not been ratified by the U.S. Senate.
“We will never allow foreign bureaucrats to trample on your Second Amendment freedom,” Trump told attendees at the NRA convention at Lucas Oil Stadium. “I’m officially announcing today that the United States will be revoking the effect of America’s signature from this badly misguided treaty.
The agreement regulates the $70 billion international trade in conventional arms to keep the weapons out of the hands of terrorists and human traffickers. Gun-rights advocates, including NRA officials, said the treaty infringes on U.S. sovereignty and could make importing weapons into the United States more difficult.
“This treaty threatened your … rights … . Under my administration, we will never surrender American sovereignty to anyone,” Trump said.
During his speech, Trump signed the paperwork telling the Senate not to move forward with the ratification of the treaty.
At last year’s NRA convention in Dallas, Trump used the event to encourage Republicans to vote in the 2018 midterm elections, which saw his party lose control of the House, but maintain a hold on the Senate. He and Vice President Mike Pence also expressed firm support for arming teachers in schools at last year’s event, which drew opposition from demonstrators.
Since the last convention, Trump has shown support for a new federal law banning bump stocks and other devices that convert a semi-automatic weapon into a fully automatic machine gun.
The NRA endorsed Trump for president during its May 2016 convention in Louisville, Ky., at which the then-presidential candidate said if more individuals carried guns, fewer people would die in mass shootings like the one in San Bernardino, Calif., months before.
On Friday, some anti-gun and anti-Trump activists plan to protest the convention in downtown Indianapolis. Kathleen Robertson, who organized a protest against Trump’s relationship with the NRA on the State Capitol grounds, said she expects hundreds of demonstrators.
“The only way we are going to get this down is by loud, sustained protests in the streets,” she told WTHR-TV in Indianapolis.
The convention, which runs through Sunday, will feature 800 exhibitors and more than 650,000 square feet of exhibit space. Other notable speakers include Pence, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., and Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin. Country music star Alan Jackson will perform Saturday evening.