Although the U.S. backed the new global arms trade treaty which recently won overwhelming approval in the UN, it was apparent before the gavel fell that ratification by the Senate will not be easy. Although the unprecedented treaty seeks to keep weapons out of the hands of human rights abusers, 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 already in compliance with the treaty's terms because of its weapons export and import laws, they said, but U.S. approval could put needed pressure on China, Russia and other big arms producers.
The White House said on Wednesday it had not yet decided whether President Barack Obama would sign the pact, and gave no timeline for doing so. Such a signing seems likely, however, given White House support for the pact at the United Nations. If Obama signs, government agencies would review the treaty before the administration decides whether to seek ratification by the Senate.