Jessica M. Karmasek Sep. 27, 2013, 2:00pm

AUSTIN, Texas (Legal Newsline) -- Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott said Wednesday he will take legal action if the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty is ratified by the U.S. Senate.

Abbott, who is running for governor, rebuked the Obama administration for signing the treaty, which would require countries that sign on to establish regulations for selling conventional weapons.

Gun-rights supporters, like Abbott, argue that the treaty could be used as a basis for additional gun regulations within the United States.

Still, the Senate has the final say on whether to approve the agreement. A two-thirds majority is needed to ratify.

Saying the treaty doesn't trump the U.S. Constitution, Abbott warned this week that President Barack Obama was taking "unprecedented action" in signing away liberties guaranteed by the Constitution.

"In yet another trampling of Constitutional liberty, President Obama today continued his assault on personal freedom," the attorney general said Wednesday. "By signing this treaty, the Obama administration has attempted to subject Americans' right to bear arms to the oversight of the United Nations.

"The very reason we fought for independence was to free ourselves from the dictates of leaders in other lands. This treaty contradicts the underpinning philosophy of our country and establishes the precedent that the UN has some level of authority to govern our lives."

He continued, "While one purpose of this treaty is to combat the illegal international trade of weapons into third-world war zones, we are alarmed that the President's action today includes 'small arms' that could draw law-abiding gun owners and gun store operators into a complex web of bureaucratic red tape created by a new department at the U.N. devoted to overseeing the treaty."

In an April 2 letter, Abbott warned Obama that if the treaty is ratified, Texas would lead swift legal action.

"We can't stand back and let our individual freedoms be signed away," the attorney general said. "We urge senators to vote against this dangerous precedent.

"If not, Texas stands ready to lead the charge to have the treaty overturned in court."

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at

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