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

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More