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

Israelis Quietly Expand Enclave in Palestinian District of Jerusalem

Estimated 500 settlers, armed or protected by paramilitary police, live in Silwan among 50,000 Palestinians More

Video US, Iran Face Similar Challenges in Syrian Fight Against IS

Both Washington, Tehran back fighters battling Islamic State militants in Iraq -- but in Syria they support opposing sides in country’s civil war More

China Boosts Efforts to Help Afghan, Regional Stability

Observers say China’s increased regional involvement are due to concerns that Afghan instability and the presence of anti-China militants in Pakistani border areas could fuel Xinjiang troubles More

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.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid