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

Taliban's New Leader Says Jihad Will Continue

Top US Afghan diplomat also meets with Pakistani, Afghan officials following news of Mullah Omar's death More

Video US Landmark Pushes Endangered Species

People gathered in streets, on rooftops in Manhattan to see image highlights that covered 33 floors of Empire State Building More

World’s Widest Suspension Bridge Being Built Over Bosphorus

Once built, Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge will span 2 kilometers with about 1.5 kilometers over water, and will be longest suspension bridge in world carrying rail system More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Communityi
X
Sharon Behn
August 03, 2015 2:23 PM
A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Community

A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Bangkok Warned It Soon Could Be Submerged

Italy's Venice and America's New Orleans are not the only cities gradually submerging. The nearly ten million residents of the Bangkok urban area now must confront warnings the city could become uninhabitable in a few decades. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Thai capital.
Video

Video Inclusive Gym Gets People With Disabilities in Fitness Spirit

Individuals with special needs are 58 percent more likely to be obese than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they also have an increased likelihood of anxiety, depression and social isolation. But a sports club outside Washington wants to make a difference in these people's lives. With Carol Pearson narrating, VOA's June Soh reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Special Olympics Show Competitors' Skill, Determination

Special Olympics competitions will wrap up Saturday in Los Angeles, and the closing ceremony for athletes with intellectual disabilities will be held Sunday night. In a week of competition, athletes have shown what they can do through skill and determination. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Shooter’s Grill: Serving Food with a Touch of the Second Amendment

Shooter's Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, attracts visitors from all over the world as well as local patrons. The reason? Waitresses openly carry loaded firearms as they serve food, and customers are welcome to carry them, too. VOA's Enming Liu and Lin Yang paid a visit to Shooter's Grill, and heard different opinions about this unique establishment.
Video

Video Despite Controversy, Business Owner Continues Sale of Confederate Flags

At Cooter’s, a store in rural Sperryville, Virginia, about 120 kilometers west of Washington, D.C., Confederate flags are flying off the shelves. The red, white and blue battle flag, with 13 white stars representing the Confederate states, was carried by southern forces during the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s. The South had seceded from the Union over several key issues of disagreement, including slavery. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs