News / USA

Biden: Curbing Gun Violence Requires 'Urgent' Action

Vice President Joe Biden, center, with Attorney General Eric Holder at left, speaks during a meeting with victims' groups and gun safety organizations in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House complex in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 9,Vice President Joe Biden, center, with Attorney General Eric Holder at left, speaks during a meeting with victims' groups and gun safety organizations in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House complex in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 9,
x
Vice President Joe Biden, center, with Attorney General Eric Holder at left, speaks during a meeting with victims' groups and gun safety organizations in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House complex in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 9,
Vice President Joe Biden, center, with Attorney General Eric Holder at left, speaks during a meeting with victims' groups and gun safety organizations in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House complex in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 9,
Kent Klein
Vice President Joe Biden began three days of meetings with various groups Wednesday to discuss gun violence. The vice president will advise President Barack Obama on ways to tackle the problem. 
 
Vice President Biden sat down with victims’ groups and gun safety organizations to hear their stories of gun violence.
 
He said the problem requires immediate action. “The president and I are determined to take action.  This is not an exercise in photo opportunities or just getting to ask you all, well, what your opinions are.  We are vitally interested in what you have to say," he said. 
 
The push for increased gun control came after 20 children and six adults were shot and killed last month at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut.
 
Days later, President Obama directed Biden to deliver policy proposals by the end of January. 
 
The president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, Dan Gross, said he told officials at the meeting that even many members of the National Rifle Association agree that some anti-violence measures are needed.
 
“No NRA member or hunter wants to see 20 children murdered in a school in Connecticut, or a young man taken away from us on a bus in Chicago.  Nobody wants that," he said. 
 
The vice president said that meetings he and Cabinet secretaries are having with various interested groups will help the president form his policy.
 
“The president is going to act.  There are executive orders, executive action that can be taken.  We have not decided what that is yet.  But we are compiling it all with the help of the attorney general and all the rest of the Cabinet members, as well as legislative action we believe is required," he said. 
 
White House press secretary Jay Carney says in addition to executive action, the president is asking Congress for tighter restrictions on guns and ammunition.
 
“Pass the assault weapons ban, pass legislation that would ban high-capacity magazines, pass a bill that would close loopholes in our background check system," he said. 
 
Obama hopes to announce new initiatives on gun violence shortly after he begins his second term on January 20.
 
The top Senate Republican, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, warned this week that congressional action on gun legislation may have to wait until lawmakers address spending and debt concerns. 
 
Despite the public outrage over the shooting in Connecticut, many Americans are wary of any government actions that might infringe on their constitutional right to own guns.
 
The powerful National Rifle Association, the nation’s largest gun owners’ group, has rejected tougher gun laws and proposed instead that the government put armed guards in every U.S. school.
 
Vice President Biden will meet with the NRA and other gun owners’ groups on Thursday.  The nation’s largest gun seller, Walmart stores, has also agreed to take part.
 
Gun advocates have said new policies on violence should include reforms to mental health policies and an examination of the effects of violent movies and video games.
 
Administration officials plan to meet this week with representatives of the video game and entertainment industries, as well as mental health advocates.
 
Meetings are also scheduled with parent and teacher groups, community organizations, business owners and religious leaders.

You May Like

UN Fears Rights Violations in China-backed Projects

UNHCHR investigates link between financing development and ignoring safeguards for human rights More

Boko Haram Violence Tests Nigerians’ Faith in Buhari

New president has promised to stem insurgency; he’s scheduled to meet with President Obama at White House July 20 More

Social Media Network Wants Privacy in User’s Hands

Encryption's popularity in messaging is exploding; now it's the foundation of a new social network More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugeesi
X
Carolyn Weaver
July 06, 2015 6:47 PM
In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.

VOA Blogs