News / USA

    Obama Backs Assault Weapons Ban as Town Buries More Shooting Victims

    Students ride a school bus in Newtown, Connecticut December 18, 2012.
    Students ride a school bus in Newtown, Connecticut December 18, 2012.
    VOA News
    The White House says President Barack Obama is "actively supportive" of planned legislation reinstating a national ban on assault weapons, one of several demands by gun control supporters revived in the wake of last week's school massacre in Connecticut.
     
    White House spokesman Jay Carney spoke Tuesday, as the shattered community of Newtown, Connecticut continued the grim task of burying its dead.  Twenty-six people, including 20 young children, died Friday when a 20-year-old gunman barged into a crowded elementary school and opened fire with a semi-automatic assault rifle.
     
    Funerals were held Tuesday in the small town for two 6-year-old classmates who died in the shootings.  The first two victims, 6-year-old boys, were laid to rest Monday.  More services are planned throughout the week. 

    • Stuffed animals and a sign calling for prayer rest at the base of a tree near the Newtown Village Cemetery in Newtown, Conn., Dec. 17, 2012.
    • A student looks for a place to leave flowers at a makeshift memorial for the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting at the entrance of Newtown High School December 18, 2012 in Newtown, Connecticut.
    • Barbara Wells of Shelton, Conn., holds her daughter Olivia, 3, as she pays her respects Dec. 17, 2012 at one of the makeshift memorials for the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Conn.
    • First Burials for Newtown Victims Amid Profound Sadness
    • Frank Kulick, adjusts a display of wooden crosses, and a Jewish Star of David, representing the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, on his front lawn in Newtown, Conn., December 17, 2012.
    • Mourners grieve at one of the makeshift memorials for victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, December 16, 2012, in Newtown, Conn.
    • Names of victims are displayed on a flag in the business area in Newtown, Connecticut, December 16, 2012.
    • A child's message rests with a memorial for shooting victims, December 16, 2012, in Newtown, Conn.
    • A memorial is seen along the road to Sandy Hook Elementary School a day after a mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, December 15, 2012.
    • A sign and a U.S. national flag are seen near Sandy Hook Elementary School in Sandy Hook in Newtown, Connecticut, Dec. 15, 2012.
    • This photo posted to the Emilie Parker Fund Facebook page shows six-year-old Emilie Parker, who was gunned down in Friday's school shooting in Connecticut.
    • Robbie Parker, the father of six-year-old Emilie who was killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, speaks during a news conference on Dec. 15, 2012 in Newtown, Conn.
    • This undated photo shows Adam Lanza posing for a group photo of the technology club which appeared in the Newtown High School yearbook.
    • A man bows his head as he stands at a makeshift memorial, outside Saint Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church in Newtown, Connecticut, Dec. 15, 2012.
    • Elizabeth Bogdanoff, left, kisses her daughter Julia, 13, during a prayer service at St John's Episcopal Church on Dec. 15, 2012 in Newtown, Conn.
    • People grieve next to a makeshift memorial of flowers and balloons next to the Sandy Hook Elementary school sign in Sandy Hook, Connecticut, Dec. 15, 2012.
    • A woman covers her mouth as others look on stand near candles outside Saint Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church near Sandy Hook Elementary School on Dec. 14, 2012.
    • A young girl is given a blanket after being evacuated from Sandy Hook Elementary School following a shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, Dec.14, 2012.

    Outside Washington, the powerful National Rifle Association, the nation's largest gun rights organization, broke its silence on the carnage. In a written statement, the NRA said its members were "shocked, saddened and heartbroken by the news of the horrific and senseless murders."  It also said it wanted to give families of the dead time to mourn before making additional statements.
     
    Pressure also mounted Tuesday on Capitol Hill, where U.S. Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a staunch ally of gun rights groups, said for the first time that Congress should pursue a legislative response to mass shootings.  

    California Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein, the author of an assault weapons ban that lapsed in 2004, said she will introduce new legislation at the start of the next Congress in January.
     
    In Newtown, mourners placed stuffed animals, flowers, notes and paper angels outside the funeral homes and other local sites in tribute to the victims.  All of the child victims were six and seven years old.  
     
    All the adult victims were women and included the school's principal, who is widely credited with efforts to stop the shooter, and a teacher who tried to save lives by throwing herself between students and the gunman.  The shooter died at the scene from a self-inflicted gunshot.  
     
    Friday's attack was the second-worst school shooting in U.S. history, topped only by the 2007 rampage that killed 32 people at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, known widely as Virginia Tech.

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    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: afelipe from: toronto,canada
    December 23, 2012 4:21 AM
    I find the focus on guns problematic (and I'm a Leftist). Yes guns are a problem, but they're a symptom. Beyond the obvious tragedy of this event, I am saddened by the tragedy of how the Western Left has been unable to put forth a unified narrative regarding why mass shootings have became more common after the 70s, and why at the same time mental health issues became much more common in the West (especially in the US).

    What is the root cause of this tragedy and why isn't the Left talking about it?

    The reaction to the Connecticut killings demonstrates the need for the Western Left to reevaluate itself, and to remember that it was once a potent force, in order to become one again.

    I wrote up my thoughts on the above, along with my thoughts on the root cause here: http://alexfelipe.wordpress.com/2012/12/22/the-lefts-failure-post-newtown-connecticut/

    by: Caylon Thede from: Sheboygan Wi
    December 19, 2012 5:05 PM
    The solution isn't stricter gun control or banning some weapons, the way I see it is the creation of more red tape to cut through to practice our second amendment right. History shows that Controlling or banning things only waists vital Taxpayer money in enforcing such bans or controls on things. Just look at substances like Cocaine and Heroin. All's that’s done is fill up our prison systems costing billions in taxes and create a dangerous black market for such substances where it gets sold on the street, hell many murders are committed over the sale of such substances and the turf where it is sold. Did the ban of these substances make us any safer? I bet I could find many statistics that say the opposite. Some say that we should have a Police Officer in every school, well now where is that money going to come from. There is also the issue of those signs that ban weapons in specific places, what happens if someone comes to one of those places like that movie theatre in Colorado. We all know what happened there. If one law abiding person had a gun in that theatre that shooting could have been stopped and there would have been one corpse (being the shooter), allot better ending I think. I say the solution is let people carry their weapons into places with them signs posted and have some of our employees that work in our schools to carry Weapons to protect our children while they are in school. The truth is that people who aren't supposed to have weapons are going to get them weather they are Illegal or not and a sign prohibiting weapons in some places isn't going to stop a person from going on a shooting rampage. I would rather have people carry guns anywhere and be able to protect me and others than have no one have a gun when someone comes to kill everyone around me and wait for Police to arrive to stop the gun man. Wouldn't you have such an event over in seconds than minutes or even hours, just saying?


    by: Julie from: Australia
    December 19, 2012 1:22 AM
    Quite a few million people here in the similiarly western nations of Australia, UK, Canada all survive, and in fact do so very nicely, without the need to bear arms. We have violent computer games, we have people with mental illness, we have people who are just plain evil. We don't have carnage on a regular basis. Look at the stats. The current system just isn't working.

    by: Prahari Mali from: Northeast
    December 19, 2012 1:17 AM
    Let suffer so long many more are not killed they will not learn. This simple thing why they not understand don't know - Why they don't make tougher lows against the easy availability of ARMS?

    by: Sian from: Florida
    December 19, 2012 12:42 AM
    Not to lessen the tragedy that happened, but response should be proportional to the damage caused. So this is why I focus here on the question of so-called 'assault weapons'. Something on the order of 385 people have been killed by ‘assault weapons’ since the ban expired in 2004. Assuming it’s distributed evenly, that’s about 50 a year (rounded up for generosity)
    put in perspective: (all numbers approx but generally accurate)
    90 people are killed in traffic accidents every day. 500 a year by ingestion of objects 500 a year from electric shock 62 a year by lightning 53 a year by bees and wasps
    MORE AMERICANS ARE MURDERED BY BEES AND WASPS EVERY YEAR THAN BY ASSAULT WEAPONS.
    BAN BEES AND WASPS.
    What I'm getting at is, we need to focus our efforts on where it will do the most good. This is not it.

    by: tothosewhogrieve
    December 19, 2012 12:36 AM
    To me as I have read the legislation must be aimed at the ammunition. This does not prevent the bearing of arm but if the purchase of ammunition is inhibited to a small number of rounds per month per person then the sale of it could be tracked.
    In Response

    by: DocHollyWood_2 from: Washington DC
    December 19, 2012 5:57 PM
    Have you ever heard of reloading?

    For the uninformed, this is where someone can manufacture their own ammunition (brass, primer, bullet (yes there is a difference) and powder of any caliber in the safety, privacy and comfort of their own home. Many people load their own since it assures quality and consistency of each round manufactured by the firearms hobbits. And it's cost effective

    It is also important to consider that in every case in the last few years (CO, CONN, WA) the shooter used a car to get to the scene of the assault. He didn't walk or take a bus or taxi, he just drove, which is something else to consider.

    Lets ban cars that can carry multiple people and go over 80 miles per hour. No need for those!

    by: Tricia from: Jones
    December 18, 2012 3:26 PM
    STOP HARASSING NEWTOWN!!!! These people are suffering! do you not get that??? Three residents of this town were on the radio this morning crying, sobbing, begging!!! the media to LEAVE THEM ALONE! They need to heal. You have your story, NOW GO AWAY!

    by: andrewborovskikh@gmail.co
    December 18, 2012 8:42 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 questioned to read or write so much as anything like this to prove their conformity & correspondence? Rather not. Anything to please the arms dealers…
    In Response

    by: Anonymous from: ks
    December 19, 2012 11:49 AM
    I just spoke to a friend of mine in Mexico. He is elated that Obama will finally do something about gun control. His brother was killed in Mexico with one of the guns the Obama’s administration allowed to be sold into Mexico via the “Fast-and-Furious” program. He said funny how it is OK for our government to allow these weapons to be sold to known criminals in Mexico in which hundreds of people will be killed, yet it is NOT OK when people are getting killed in the US with these weapons. He said Obama wanted gun control on the backs of the Mexicans, so now that he gets it what is he going to do for Mexicans to correct the problem he created.
    In Response

    by: Anonymous
    December 18, 2012 5:09 PM
    Hey, what about the tens of billions of dollars the US government made by selling bombs, jets, and guns to the international market, most of which ended up in the hands of dictators last year?

    So we need gun laws for the few loons out there that don't obey laws in the first place, whereas Washington/much of the country is debating how much more money we should send to the loons who choose to arm brutal dictators abroad.

    I await a logically consistent rebuttal. To me, it doesn't make sense to have those who arm dictators to wag their fingers and say "shame on you" when a random guy steals guns from another person and proceeds to attack a school.
    In Response

    by: shane from: Nottinghamshire
    December 18, 2012 2:15 PM
    They where his mothers guns, although I agree with what your saying. But war on guns in america would be like the war on drugs, they are never going to win, the lunatic will find a way.
    In Response

    by: Anonymous
    December 18, 2012 10:41 AM
    I think before people get their liscence to own a gun, they should be tested, or watched to see what kind of person they are.

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