News / USA

After Navy Yard Shootings, Lawmakers Ponder Action

Emergency responders at scene of Navy Yard shooting, Washington, Sept. 16, 2013.
Emergency responders at scene of Navy Yard shooting, Washington, Sept. 16, 2013.
Michael Bowman
One day after deadly shootings at Washington’s Navy Yard, U.S. lawmakers are asking how a man reported to have mental health issues and a history of firearms misuse was able to secure federal employment and gain access to a secure military facility.
 
But the legislators disagree on whether Congress should revisit gun control legislation in response to the nation’s latest mass shooting incident.
 
Democratic Senator Chris Murphy, who represents Newtown, Conn., where 26 people, mostly children, were gunned down last year at Sandy Hook Elementary School, has been one of the Senate’s most vocal proponents of gun control legislation.
 
He said the Navy Yard shootings are a bitter reminder of why tougher laws are needed.
 
“People out there do not understand why Congress does nothing as these shootings continue to mount," he said. "I think people in Newtown shake their heads when they see another shooting and further potential indifference from Congress.”
 
Fellow Democratic Senator Richard Durbin of Illinois noted that, earlier this year, gun control legislation died in the Senate as a result of mostly Republican opposition to new restrictions and requirements for firearms purchases.
 
“We have to do everything we can to keep guns out of the hands of those who would misuse them — felons who have a history of misusing firearms, the mentally unstable who cannot be trusted to have a firearm.”
 
Republican lawmakers show little interest in revisiting gun control, but several said the Navy Yard incident raises other important issues.
 
South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham said the shooter, Aaron Alexis, never should have been cleared for duty as a military contractor.
 
“To me, it is not about gun control," he said. "It is about what has happened with our contractor force. How could [Alexis] pass a background check to get a job with the federal government after he had misused a weapon twice? When you shoot a guy’s tires out because you are mad at him, you are a good candidate not to work for the federal government.”
 
Fellow Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona noted that, in addition to gun-related brushes with the law, Alexis had been receiving mental health treatment.
 
“We also should focus our attention on people who show mental instability and whether they should have access to weapons or not," he said. "I think all Americans are in agreement on that.”
 
But Senator Murphy of Connecticut said that addressing mental health issues, though long overdue, is not enough.
 
“I am ready to put more money into mental health any day that Republicans are willing to join me, but that is not a gun bill," he said.
 
At the White House, spokesman Jay Carney accused gun control opponents of disregarding the will of the people in favor of the nation’s politically potent gun rights groups.
 
“When you vote against 80 or 90 percent of the American people, when you vote against a majority of your constituents, in answer to, or at the behest of, a special interest, you are serving that narrow special interest," he said. "You are not serving your constituents.”
 
At the Capitol, lawmakers are likely to take note of the fate of two state legislators in Colorado who recently were ousted in a recall vote after backing gun control legislation.

You May Like

US Investors Eye IPO for China's Alibaba

E-commerce giant handled 80 percent of China's online business last year, logging more Internet transactions than US-based Amazon.com and eBay combined More

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

As cease-fire begins, Palestinians celebrate in streets; Israelis remain wary More

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

In treatment of a 12-year-old boy Chinese doctors used a 3-D printer and special software to create an exact replica of vertebra More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implanti
X
August 27, 2014 4:53 PM
A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. VOA News reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Northern California Quake: No Way to Know When Next One Will Hit

A magnitude 6.0 earthquake rocked northern California’s Napa Valley on Sunday. Roads twisted and water mains burst. It was the wine country’s most severe quake in 15 years, and while hospitals treated many people, no one was killed. Arash Arabasadi has more from Washington on what the future may hold for those residents living on a fault line.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that were eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports from the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, where one band is bringing Yiddish tango to an American audience.

AppleAndroid