News / USA

No Consensus on US Gun Measures After School Rampage

Michael Bowman
Staunch U.S. gun rights defenders and gun control advocates show few signs of finding common ground on ways to prevent mass shootings following an armed rampage at a Connecticut elementary school that killed 20 small children and several adults.

National tragedies can sometimes force political and ideological opponents to unite for the common good.  The United States witnessed such a coming together after the terrorist attacks of 2001.  But the mass shooting at Sandy Hook elementary school seems to have done little to bridge differences between ardent defenders of gun rights and those who want to restrict access to firearms.

“A gun is a tool.  The problem is the criminal.  Criminals operate outside the [justice] system," he said.

Wayne LaPierre, head of the National Rifle Association, America’s biggest gun rights lobbying group, spoke Sunday on NBC’s Meet the Press program.  Friday, LaPierre made headlines when he advocated posting armed guards at every school across the nation.

On NBC, he pointedly refused to consider any limits on gun ownership, from restricting access to assault weapons to banning high-capacity ammunition clips.

“We do not think it [gun control] works, and we are not going to support it," he said.

Democratic Senator Charles Schumer ridiculed gun rights absolutism. “Trying to prevent shootings in schools without talking about guns is like trying to prevent lung cancer without talking about cigarettes," he said.

Schumer's fellow Democratic Senator Kent Conrad was equally dismissive of LaPierre’s suggesting of arming America’s schools. “It is pretty empty, is it not?  That is the only answer?  To put more guns in schools?”

Appearing on Fox News Sunday, Conrad said the cost of putting armed guards in each of America’s schools would be prohibitive, and still might not prevent all mass shootings.

Gun rights advocates point to the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which proclaims the right of the people to bear arms.  America’s judiciary has long wrestled over the constitutionality of limiting or restricting that right.

Some pro-gun rights legislators have said the Sandy Hook elementary school shootings have caused them to reconsider long-held positions.  But Republican Senator John Barrasso says infringing on Second Amendment rights is not the answer.

“We need real solutions to a significant problem in our country, and I am not sure that passing another law in Washington is going to actually find a real solution," he said.


Last week, President Barack Obama said a national dialogue on firearms is long overdue.  He appointed Vice President Joe Biden to lead a federal commission on preventing gun violence, but stressed that the American people will have to demand action and remain engaged for change to occur.

There are an estimated 200-to-300 million privately-owned firearms in the United States.  

You May Like

Video Experts Warn World Losing Ebola Fight

Doctors Without Borders says world is losing battle against Ebola, unless wealthy nations dispatch specialized biological disaster response teams More

Video Experts: Rise of Islamic State Significant Development in Jihadism

Many analysts contend the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years More

US-Based Hong Kongers Pledge Support for Pro-Democracy Activists

Democracy advocates call on Chinese living abroad to join them in opposing new election rules for their home territory More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearancei
X
Elizabeth Lee
September 02, 2014 8:57 PM
Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearance

Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Experts See Rise of ISIS as Significant Development

The Islamic State’s rise seems sudden. It caught the U.S. by surprise this summer when it captured large portions of northern Iraq and spread its wings in neighboring Syria. But many analysts contend that the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years. VOA's Jela de Franceschi takes a closer look at the rise of ISIS and its implications for the Middle East and beyond.
Video

Video Israel Concerned Over Syrian Rebels in Golan

Israeli officials are following with concern the recent fighting between Syrian rebels and government forces near the contested Golan Heights. Forty-four U.N. peacekeepers from Fiji have been seized by Syrian Islamist rebels and the clashes occasionally have spilled into Israel. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.

AppleAndroid