News / USA

US School Massacre Reignites Gun-Control and Gun-Rights Battle

Guns are displayed during a rally at the state Capitol in Oklahoma City, Oklahama, May 8, 2012.Guns are displayed during a rally at the state Capitol in Oklahoma City, Oklahama, May 8, 2012.
x
Guns are displayed during a rally at the state Capitol in Oklahoma City, Oklahama, May 8, 2012.
Guns are displayed during a rally at the state Capitol in Oklahoma City, Oklahama, May 8, 2012.
Meredith Buel
A major political battle is brewing in the United States over possible new gun control laws in the wake of the school massacre in Newtown, Connecticut.  Some of those efforts, however, are likely to face opposition from the National Rifle Association, the most powerful American organization supporting gun rights.

At a rally outside the headquarters of the National Rifle Association near Washington hundreds protested against the pro-gun group.

The killing of young children by a man firing an assault weapon has reignited the debate over gun control and made the NRA a lightning rod for criticism.

Thirty-four Americans are killed every day by firearms, something New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg calls atrocious.
 
“This is just ridiculous. This is an outrage. We are killing each other, and we are the only industrialized country in the world doing it,” Bloomberg said.

World Gun Murder RateWorld Gun Murder Rate
x
World Gun Murder Rate
World Gun Murder Rate
But the political power of the NRA is legendary.  Its four-million members strongly support the fundamental American right to bear arms, enshrined in the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Kathy Kiely is managing editor of the Sunlight Foundation, which promotes government transparency and tracks political contributions by the NRA.

“I think what has kept the NRA powerful and what has kept gun control out of the debate is they are still, within Washington, by politicians, a feared organization.  They are feared because they can turn out the vote and they can turn on lots and lots of campaign contributions, either to support a politician or oppose a politician,” Kiely said.
Conservative columnist John Fund recently spoke about efforts to tighten gun laws on the NRA’s Webcast.

“The bottom line is the laws do not work.  These mass killings are because of psychotic or mentally ill individuals,” Fund said.

Virginia Senator Mark Warner is a strong supporter of gun ownership and has been awarded the NRA's highest rating.  But the carnage in Connecticut is having an impact.

“I, even as a NRA A-rated member believe enough is enough.  We all need to come to the table and end up with appropriate restriction,” Warner said.

Warner is among several usually pro-gun members of Congress who have indicated they would consider voting for new restrictions on gun sales.  

In the past, the NRA’s political muscle has produced significant results.  As part of the backlash to a 1994 assault weapons ban, the group is widely credited with helping engineer a Republican Party takeover of Congress.  

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for Congress to reinstate the ban.
“We know such violence has terrible consequences for our society.  And if there is even one thing that we can do to prevent any of these events, we have a deep obligation, all of us, to try,” Obama said.

The NRA called the shootings “horrific and senseless” and said it is prepared to offer “meaningful contributions” to make sure similar incidents do not happen again.

Analyst Kathy Kiely says more than half of the members of the new Congress that convenes next month have received funding from the NRA.

“If politicians are hearing from voters, that counts more than dollars.  If they do not hear from voters, it is the money that talks,” Kiely said.

It is not yet clear whether the school massacre will prompt a permanent turning point in the way Americans think about gun control.

You May Like

Disappointing Report on China's Economy Shakes Markets

In London and New York shares lost 3 percent, while Paris and Germany dropped around 2.4 percent More

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: andrewborovskikh@gmail.co
December 21, 2012 9:48 AM
Before having this comment submitted, I had to have read the forum rules and written a code from the test image. I wonder, if the gun enthusiast who had purchased the FIVE assault rifles, was ever questioned to read or write THAT much to prove their conformity & correspondence? Rather not. Anything to please the arms dealers…

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs