News / USA

    Obama Calls on Congress to Act on Gun Control

    President Barack Obama takes questions from reporters at the White House on December 19, 2012.
    President Barack Obama takes questions from reporters at the White House on December 19, 2012.
    Acting less than a week after the massacre of 26 people, including 20 young children and six adults, in a school in Newtown, Connecticut, President Barack Obama has ordered creation of a government-wide task force to come up with solutions to gun violence.

    Obama is taking advantage of continuing national horror over the mass shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School to push forward what he called a "re-emerged" national discussion about gun violence, and to seek solutions.

    Vice President Joe Biden will lead the effort involving members of the president's Cabinet, and outside organizations. Obama wants their recommendations no later than January and vows to act on them without delay.

    A look at how the U.S. ranks in comparison to the rest of world when it comes guns and gun violence.
     
    The U.S. has the highest gun ownership rate in the world. 
     
    GUN OWNERSHIP PER 100 PEOPLE
     
    1. United States  -  89
    2. Yemen            -  55
    3. Switzerland     -  46
    4. Finland            - 45
    5. Serbia             - 38
     
    --------------------------------------------
     
    Despite the high number of guns, because of its large population, the U.S. does not have the worst firearms murder rate.
     
    GUN MURDERS PER 100,000 PEOPLE
     
    1.  Honduras     -  69
    2.  El Salvador  -  40
    3.  Jamaica      -   39
    4   Venezuela   -  39
    5.  Guatemala  -  35
     
    The United States ranks 28th, with a rate of 3 per 100,000 people
     
    -----------------------------------------
     
    *The U.S. is one of the leading countries in the number of deaths attributed to guns.
     
    NUMBER OF PEOPLE KILLED BY FIREARMS IN 2010
     
    1.  Brazil              -  34,678
    2.  Colombia         -  12,539
    3.  Mexico            -  11,309
    4.  Venezuela       -  11,115
    5.  United States   -  9,146
     
    Source: UNODC & Small arms survey of 2010 
    "This is not some Washington commission, this is not something where folks are going to be studying the issue for six months and publishing a report that gets read and then pushed aside.  This is a team that has a very specific task to pull together real reforms, right now," the president said.

    Obama has spoken with lawmakers in Congress, including gun-rights advocates from both parties who indicated they could support new restrictions on military-style rifles and large ammunition magazines.

    He said the fact that solutions to gun violence involves complex issues, including mental health and education, as well as passions on all sides should not be an excuse for inaction.

    "The fact that this problem is complex can no longer be an excuse for doing nothing.  The fact that we can not prevent every act of violence does not mean we can not steadily reduce the violence and prevent the very worst violence," Obama said.

    Obama and gun control advocates face obstacles because of the power of groups such as the National Rifle Association.

    The NRA called the shootings "horrific and senseless" and said it is prepared to offer "meaningful contributions" to make sure similar incidents do not happen again.

    Obama called for a "thoughtful approach" that preserves Second Amendment rights to gun ownership, but gets serious about gun safety.

    Kathy Kiely is managing editor of the Sunlight Foundation, which tracks political contributions from the National Rifle Association to politicians in Washington and nationwide.

    “I think what has kept the NRA powerful and what has kept gun control out of the debate is they are still, within Washington by politicians, a feared organization.  They are feared because they can turn out the vote and they can turn on lots and lots of campaign contributions either to support a politician or oppose a politician,” Kiely said.

    At a recent demonstration by gun control advocates outside the White House, Colin Bortner and Linda Hoffman voiced impatience.

    "I just think there has been a failure in leadership on gun control laws, and I am hoping that will change," Bortner said.

    "We need some practical legislation.  It does not have to be, it is not something that is against the Second Amendment, but preventing people from buying these magazines that shoot 20 and 30 rounds," said Hoffman.

    President Obama says there is a need for all to "reflect" how to prioritize what is done in Washington, he said the Connecticut shootings should be a wake up call to "get right" the need to keep our children safe.

    You May Like

    Native Americans Ask: What About Our Water Supply?

    They say they have been facing a dangerous water contaminant for decades - uranium – but the problem has received far less attention than water contamination by lead in Flint, Michigan

    Pakistan's President Urges Nation Not to Celebrate Valentine's Day

    Mamnoon Hussain criticizes Valentine's Day, which falls on Sunday this year, as a Western import that threatens to undermine the Islamic values of Pakistan

    Mother of IS Supporter: Son Was Peaceful, 'Role Model'

    Somali-American Abdirizak Mohamed Warsame pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of conspiring to provide material support to Islamic State militants

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments page of 7
     Previous   Next 
    by: Marty from: TN
    December 20, 2012 8:51 AM
    I'd like to point out that in one school shooting a few years ago, the criminals first target was the unsuspecting police officer stationed at the school for security. The problem with placing uniformed officers at the school is they will be the first ones targeted, and the massacre will proceed. What is needed is a nationwide program like the one in Texas called "The Guardians".

    Teachers and school administrators apply to the school board and are individually reviewed and approved to carry at the school. They get a concealed carry permit from the state and additional training at their personal expense, but recieve a small annual stipend. No one but the principle and the school board knows who the Guardians are, and they carry frangible bullets so that in the event the gun is used in the school, bullets do not richochet or over penetrate and potentially injure one of the children. It's very much like the air marshal program. It's the best solution I've read about anywhere.

    You are simply not going to get all of the guns, so you must harden the target.

    by: Mike O'Lary
    December 20, 2012 8:47 AM
    "gun violence"
    If there is a desire to fix the problem(s) there is step one. STOP blaming the spoon for Rosie being fat. Guns do not now nor have they ever committed violent acts without the direct intimate involvement of humans. It is a physical impossibility.

    Understand and accept the truth as the truth then forward progress can be made. Until then . . This junior monster killed his mother, stole legally owned and possessed firearms, went to a school he did not belong at and executed innocent children and adults. Where is the wailing for review of murder laws? Theft laws? Trespassing laws? Why are this monster's obvious, long term psychological problems being dismissed? For all our sake, THINK.

    by: Jim from: MD
    December 20, 2012 8:46 AM
    First of all there is no such thing as an "Assault Weapon." That was a term coined by the govt. to classify all weapons that look like military grade weapons. That goes to my second point, that the assault weapons ban basically just outlawed purchasing a gun with certain cosmetic features, such as a pistol grip, folding or collapsable stock, flash supressor, threaded barrel, underbarrel attachments, etc. You could still buy the same exact gun, it just looked like a hunting rifle. These guns that you can buy as a civilian DO NOT function the same way as a true military grade M4 Carbine or an M16. For the most part they are dressed up hunting rifles.

    by: Andrew King from: Richland,WA
    December 20, 2012 8:39 AM
    In order to better remember the people involved I drew all of them, as if I was undertaking a first grade class assignment. It helped me feel like I knew them as more than a number, I hope it inspires you to do so as well.

    http://s12.postimage.org/mvh6kz5gd/Ourpicture_003.jpg

    Andrew

    by: Anthony from: Greensboro - USA
    December 20, 2012 8:32 AM
    HEY YOU PAY ATTENTION READ THIS..

    Did you notice Brazil how far out he is in killing by firearms. Just to let you know, they already passed a Gun control Law there somewhere in 2007 and look at the situation. Criminals now have almost certainty that you civilian is unarmed... Keep at it USA, your going to destroy yourself. when that happens ill just go back to my country. hahahaha idiots.
    In Response

    by: Ironweed from: Tennessee
    December 20, 2012 8:55 AM
    Please go now and take a few hispanics with you.

    by: Tom from: NY
    December 20, 2012 8:25 AM
    People are lulled by the false sense of security from police officers keeping the public safe. We entrust our protection to the few, one day they won't be around when you need them, so what then? The right to bear arms isn't just for hunters and crazed gun fanatics, but to defend ourselves and to deter a tyrannical government. If we allow the second amendment to be whittled away, given a few more decades we'll have nothing but slingshots and machetes.. who will defend our rights if not ourselves? The police? Corrupt politicians? Surely they will...
    Don't be sheeple and hop on the gun control band wagon. There are larger issues at play here. Mental health issues are a bigger concern and should be addressed instead of political left-wing agendas opportunistically being pushed through.

    by: Jim from: Illinois
    December 20, 2012 8:18 AM
    For starters Ban assault rifles and raise the age to 26 to buy and own a weapon. To remember the 26 who lost their lives in the Conn. School.
    In Response

    by: Paul from: Utah
    December 27, 2012 11:32 AM
    A gun is just a gun, assault is a verb "to attack". Guns do not attack people do. Why not raise the age to buy a gun to 4,000+ in rememberence of all of the American soldiers that died in Iraq. Granted it is a tragedy that 20 innocent children died in Conn. It affected everyone in our country. Remember this Adam Lanza did not purchase the weapons he used at Sandy Hook further more the Bushmaster .223 "assault rifle" was found in his car not in the school. It is ludacris to call for a ban on a gun that he didn't even use in killing those 20 children.

    by: Jim from: Illinois
    December 20, 2012 8:03 AM
    They should set the age of 25 to purchase a firearm,most youths are out of college and the ones who dropout would be out of the picture as well. This would reduce some of the people who buy firearms while attending college and at the same time give some younger people more time to mature and get past the weapon crave.
    In Response

    by: Paul from: Utah
    December 27, 2012 12:10 PM
    At what age does a person get over your so called weapon crave? I was 5 years old when I shot my first gun under close supervision of my father. I took my Hunters Safety course in my early teens and I enjoyed (not "craved") to go out rabbit hunting. By the time I reached my late teens I no longer enjoyed killing rabbits so I turned to target shooting. I took my concealed carry course in my 40's. I am 59 years old and still enjoy going out for target practice. I wouldn't call it a craving, it is strictly a sport. Why try to take away the rights of the millions of American gun owners that wouldn't even think of the sensless taking of even one human life. Guns don't kill (insane) people do. So why don't you get in touch with your congressman and have him push for a bill to ban insanity? That would make just as much sense as trying to raise the legal age to purchase a gun or to ban "assault" weapons. Remember the legal age of adulthood is 21. Four more years is not going to magically change a person from your so called craving stage in life. Let me see know...cars, boats, trains, airplanes, electricity, water, etc. etc. ect. Well you get my drift.

    by: Justice
    December 20, 2012 7:12 AM
    Ermahgerd, Obama rocks! He is such a "Now" dictator!

    by: Bearman from: U.S.A.
    December 20, 2012 6:58 AM
    Gun Control Defined:
    The theory that people who are willing to ignore laws against rape, kidnapping, theft, and murder will obey a law that prohibits them from possessing a firearm.

    Assault Weapon Definition:
    An assault weapon is anything used as a weapon to assault someone with. Pencil, boiling water, frying pan, etc.

    Assault is a behavior, not a device.
    In Response

    by: Reyd from: Georgia
    December 20, 2012 9:06 AM
    Yes Kate it would limit the death toll, but is the death of one child any less tramatic than twenty, not to that childs family. How many people died at the hands of Timothy McVey or Bin Laden, not one bullet fired. Its not the guns or number of bullets, its the person pulling the trigger that is doing the killing.
    In Response

    by: Kate from: England
    December 20, 2012 8:09 AM
    But in practical terms, you are limited in the amount of people you can kill with pencils, boiling water, frying pans etc. With guns you can kill dozens in seconds. That is what makes having guns so very wrong.
    Why can't people see that the answer to guns is never more guns?
    In Response

    by: PoliticsNews Aja
    December 20, 2012 7:58 AM
    The father of the shooter is Peter Lanza, rumored to be scheduled to testify on the international LIBOR scandal. Guess who else is rumored to be scheduled to testify on the LIBOR scandal? Father of the BATMAN theater shooter. Amazing coincidence? We will see. The LIBOR scandal is a massive, worldwide network of banks, the Federal Reserve and highly position individuals such as Tim Geihtner and Ben Bernanke that are being accused of manipulating LIBOR rates to gain better market positions. Just some of the Banks involved are: the Canadian branches of the Royal Bank of Scotland, HSBC, Deutsche Bank, JP Morgan Bank, and Citibank, as well as ICAP (Intercapital), an interdealer broker.[37 It also mentions Bank of America & Barclays. It is ugly to its roots and VERY powerful people are involved.
    Comments page of 7
     Previous   Next 

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortagei
    X
    February 12, 2016 7:31 PM
    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.