News / USA

Obama on Gun Violence: 'This Time Must Be Different'

U.S. President Barack Obama signs executive orders on gun violence during an event at the White House in Washington, January 16, 2013.
U.S. President Barack Obama signs executive orders on gun violence during an event at the White House in Washington, January 16, 2013.
TEXT SIZE - +
— President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden have introduced new gun-control proposals, saying the nation has an obligation to do everything possible to prevent mass shootings.

U.S. President Barack Obama's signature is seen on a set of executive orders that he signed prior to unveiling a series of proposals to counter gun violence, at the White House in Washington, January 16, 2013.U.S. President Barack Obama's signature is seen on a set of executive orders that he signed prior to unveiling a series of proposals to counter gun violence, at the White House in Washington, January 16, 2013.
x
U.S. President Barack Obama's signature is seen on a set of executive orders that he signed prior to unveiling a series of proposals to counter gun violence, at the White House in Washington, January 16, 2013.
U.S. President Barack Obama's signature is seen on a set of executive orders that he signed prior to unveiling a series of proposals to counter gun violence, at the White House in Washington, January 16, 2013.
In announcing the gun-control proposals Vice President Joe Biden invoked the memory of the 20 children and six adults killed last month at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut.

"No one will know for certain if this senseless act could have been prevented, but we all know we have a moral obligation, a moral obligation, to diminish the prospect that something like this could ever happen again," Biden said.

​Obama and Biden, who headed the gun-violence task force that researched the proposals, spoke to a packed auditorium in the Old Executive Office Building next to the White House.

In the audience were family members of victims of the Connecticut shooting. Behind Obama and Biden were four children who wrote letters to the president after the tragedy.

Obama said protecting children should not be a divisive challenge.  

"In the month since 20 precious children and six brave adults were violently taken from us at Sandy Hook Elementary, more than 900 of our fellow Americans have reportedly died at the end of a gun - 900 in the past month.  And every day we wait that number will keep growing," he said.
   
President Obama's Plan to Reduce Gun Violence

  • Close background check loopholes
  • Ban military-style assault weapons
  • Ban high-capacity magazines
  • Make schools safer and ensure they have emergency management plans
  • Increase access to mental health services
  • End the freeze on gun violence research
Obama wants Congress to approve universal background checks for anyone trying to buy a gun, limits on high-capacity ammunition magazines, and to ban assault-style weapons.

He signed 23 executive orders aimed at strengthening the background check system, developing emergency response plans for schools and religious institutions, and addressing mental health issues linked to gun violence.

The president said he respects the Second Amendment right to own guns and appealed to Americans, including responsible gun owners, to support effective action.

"There are millions of responsible law-abiding gun owners in America who cherish their right to bear arms for hunting or sport or collection," Obama said. "I also believe that most gun owners agree that we can respect the Second Amendment while keeping an irresponsible law-breaking few from inflicting harm on a massive scale."

​Related video report by Kent Klein
Obama Gun Control Measures Face Oppositioni
X
January 17, 2013 2:12 AM
It could be weeks before the U.S. Congress considers President Barack Obama's wide-ranging recommendations on reducing gun violence in the United States. The president wants universal background checks for gun buyers and a ban on military-style assault weapons, among other steps, but his proposals are likely to meet stiff opposition from some lawmakers. VOA’s Kent Klein reports from the White House.
The National Rifle Association (NRA) has accused Obama of attacking the Second Amendment and vows to fight gun control legislation on Capitol Hill.

Monday the group issued a video criticizing the president's opposition to putting more armed guards in schools, and noting that the president's daughters receive Secret Service protection.

The NRA video asked, "Are the president's kids more important than yours? Then why is he skeptical about plutting armed security in our schools when his kids are protected by armed guards at their school?"

White House spokesman Jay Carney condemned the ad, saying making "the safety of the president's children the subject of an attack ad is repugnant and cowardly."

City and police officials from Philadelphia and New York, representatives of gun control groups, and family members of gun violence victims spoke with reporters.

Annette Nance-Holt lost her son to gun violence in Chicago, President Obama's home town.

"We need the American public to speak up about this issue and speak to the legislators to change their minds and change their hearts to do the right thing, because you too can be me and you can lose your only child," she said.

"In order for change to happen on this issue the American public is going to need to make its voice heard," said Dan Gross, who heads the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

Obama said he knows the gun violence battle will be difficult, predicting that opponents will warn of a "tyrannical all-out assault on liberty" and try to block common sense reform.

He said change will come only if Americans, including those in areas where there is a strong tradition of gun ownership, push representatives in Congress and say "this time must be different."

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Derek from: NJ
January 18, 2013 10:11 AM
In DC v. Heller the US Supreme Court held the 2nd Amend protects an individual right to keep & bear arms of the type in common use of the day. Semi-auto rifles like the AR-15 (which is not an assault rifle) along w/ 30 round mags are in common use today in shooting competitions and recreational shooting by millions of Americans. Banning AR-15s & the like is unconstitutional. The real problem is lack of care for mental health patients in the US. Mentally disturbed people account for a large number of violent crimes but they rarely get the proper care they need. Obama should focus on improving mental health care, not denying law-abiding Americans their constitutional rights.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid