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.
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
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

Afghanistan, Pakistan Leaders to Hold Icebreaking Talks in Paris

Two sides are expected to discuss ways to ease bilateral tensions and jointly work for resumption of stalled peace talks between Afghan government and Taliban officials

Corruption Busting Is Her Game

South African activist is building 'international online community of thousands of corruption fighters'

Former SAF Businessman Gives Books, Love of Reading to Students

Steve Tsakaris now involved in nonprofit Read to Rise, which distributes books in Soweto, encourages lower-grade primary school students to read

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
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.
Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continuesi
Ayesha Tanzeem
November 25, 2015 10:46 PM
One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continues

One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs