UNITED NATIONS - The leading US pro-gun group, the National Rifle Association, has vowed to fight a draft international treaty to regulate the $70 billion global arms trade and dismissed suggestions that a recent US school shooting bolstered the case for such a pact.
The UN General Assembly voted on Monday to restart negotiations in mid-March on the first international treaty to regulate conventional arms trade after a drafting conference in July collapsed because the US and other nations wanted more time. Washington supported Monday's UN vote.
US President Barack Obama has come under intense pressure to tighten domestic gun control laws after the Dec. 14 shooting massacre of 20 children and six educators at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut. His administration has since reiterated its support for a global arms treaty that does not curtail US citizens' rights to own weapons.
Arms control campaigners say one person every minute dies as a result of armed violence and a convention is needed to prevent illicitly traded guns from pouring into conflict zones and fueling wars and atrocities.
In an interview with Reuters, NRA President David Keene said the Newtown massacre has not changed the powerful US gun lobby's position on the treaty. He also made clear that the Obama administration would have a fight on its hands if it brought the treaty to the US Senate for ratification.