News / USA

Obama Invokes Memory of Gun Massacre Victims in Push for New Laws

President Obama  in Hartford, Conn., April 8, 2013President Obama in Hartford, Conn., April 8, 2013
x
President Obama  in Hartford, Conn., April 8, 2013
President Obama in Hartford, Conn., April 8, 2013
President Barack Obama on Monday returned to the northeastern state of Connecticut, where one of the nation's worst shooting massacres took place, intensifying his push for votes in Congress on stricter federal gun control laws.

The massacre in December of 20 children and six adults in a Newtown, Connecticut school injected new urgency into Obama's efforts to strengthen America's gun control laws.

But momentum has been blunted by intense lobbying on Capitol Hill by the National Rifle Association.  A group of Republicans has threatened to filibuster to prevent formal debate or votes in the U.S. Senate.
 
Obama delivered an impassioned speech that was aimed directly at those he said are threatening to use "political stunts" to block forward movement.

“They’re saying they will do everything they can to even prevent any votes on these provisions.  They’re saying your opinion doesn’t matter.  And that’s not right.  That is not right.  We need a vote."  [Crowd chants "we want a vote," Obama said.

Obama noted that Connecticut's legislature recently passed tough new gun laws and recalled also that polls show 90 percent of Americans, including many gun owners, support universal background checks.

The president was introduced by Nicole Hockley,  whose 6-year-old son Dylan was among Newtown shooting victims.

"Help this be the moment when real change begins.  Help this be the beginning of turning tragedy into transformation for us all," Hockley said.

Senate Democrats need to persuade enough opposition Republicans to support a proposed bill and achieve the required 60 votes to move to formal debate and a vote. 

"The least Republicans owe the parents of these 20 little babies who were murdered at Sandy Hook is a thoughtful debate about whether stronger laws could have saved their little girls and boys," said Senate Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid.
.
Republican Senator Charles Grassley is among those opposing Democratic legislation.  In remarks to VOA he asserted many Americans remain highly skeptical of  stronger gun legislation.

"We can't ban any more guns, we can't have gun registration, we can't have the government know where the guns are because a lot of people believe that you can't trust the government.  That is what the Constitution is all about, that is what the Bill of Rights is all about, the Bill of Rights [is] meant to protect people from the government," Grassley said.

President Obama brought 11 family members of victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre back to Washington aboard Air Force One, to take part in lobbying efforts on Capitol Hill.  

The major push by the White House continues Tuesday as Vice President Joe Biden delivers remarks.  Michelle Obama speaks in Chicago on Wednesday about the impact of gun violence on children.

You May Like

Report: $60 Billion Leaves Africa Illegally Each Year

Report by joint UN and African Union panel says African countries need to take concrete measures to stop illegal money flow from continent each year More

Video Spy Murder Probe Likely to Further Strain British-Russian Relations

Some analysts say Russian Tu-95 bombers were flying near British airspace to warn Britain about an inquest into a murdered Russian spy More

Mugabe Defends Image Amid Controversy at Close of AU Summit

He rejects concerns about how the West might perceive his leadership, saying he's focused on African development More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Spy Murder Probe Likely to Further Strain British-Russian Relationsi
X
Henry Ridgwell
January 31, 2015 10:50 PM
Relations between Russia and the West are set to become even more strained amid an inquiry in London into the murder of a former Russian spy. Lawyers at the inquiry accuse Russian President Vladimir Putin of directing a "mafia state." Meanwhile, Royal Air Force fighters intercepted Russian bombers close to British airspace this week, prompting authorities to summon Moscow’s ambassador. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Spy Murder Probe Likely to Further Strain British-Russian Relations

Relations between Russia and the West are set to become even more strained amid an inquiry in London into the murder of a former Russian spy. Lawyers at the inquiry accuse Russian President Vladimir Putin of directing a "mafia state." Meanwhile, Royal Air Force fighters intercepted Russian bombers close to British airspace this week, prompting authorities to summon Moscow’s ambassador. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Neighborhood Divided Over Conflict

People in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk districts find themselves squarely in the path of advancing Russian-backed rebels, who want to take back the territory they held at the beginning of the conflict last year. Many local residents are afraid, but others would welcome the change, even when a rebel shell lands in their neighborhood. From the Luhansk district, 15 kilometers from where the Ukrainian government marks the front line, VOA’s Al Pessin reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Later

Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.

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

All About America

AppleAndroid