WASHINGTON - The new global arms trade treaty was overwhelmingly approved by the United Nations, with US backing, but it was clear on Wednesday it faces a tough fight for ratification by US senators who contend it could affect Americans' gun rights.
The 193-nation UN General Assembly approved the pact by a vote of 154-3 on Tuesday, with 23 abstentions, many by major weapons exporters.Washington was one of the 'yes' votes, but to go into effect for the United States it must win at least 67 votes - a two-thirds majority - in the 100-member Senate. Last month, the Senate supported a measure calling for the treaty's rejection even before UN negotiations on its text were completed.
The powerful National Rifle Association gun industry lobby promised to fight against ratification. Several senators, mostly Republicans, quickly issued statements opposing the pact.
The United States is the world's largest gun exporter, accounting for 30 percent of global volume. Russia, No. 2, accounts for 26 percent. Moscow, which along with China abstained from the UN vote, said it would take a hard look at the treaty before deciding whether to sign it.