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

Australia-Cambodia Resettlement Agreement Raises Concerns

Agreement calls for Cambodia to accept refugees in return for $35 million in aid and reflects Australia’s harder line approach towards asylum seekers and refugees More

India Looks to Become Arms Supplier Instead of Buyer

US hopes India can become alternative to China for countries looking to buy weapons, but experts question growth potential of Indian arms industry More

Earth Day Concert, Rally Draws Thousands in Washington

President Obama also took up the issue Saturday in his weekly address, saying there 'no greater threat to our planet than climate change' 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.
Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?i
X
Steve Sandford
April 17, 2015 12:50 AM
Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?

Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Military Action to Stabilize Libya

Thousands more migrants have arrived on the southern shores of Italy from North Africa in the past two days. Authorities say they expect the total number of arrivals this year to far exceed previous levels, and the government has said military action in Libya might be necessary to stem the flow. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Putin Accuses Kyiv of ‘Cutting Off’ Eastern Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his annual televised call-in program, again denied there were any Russian troops fighting in Ukraine. He also said the West was trying to ‘contain’ Russia with sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports on reactions to the president’s four-hour TV appearance.
Video

Video Eye Contact Secures Dog's Place in Human Heart

Dogs serve in the military, work with police and assist the disabled, and have been by our side for thousands of years serving as companions and loyal friends. We love them. They love us in return. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on a new study that looks at the bio-chemical bond that cements that human-canine connection.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Search for Bodies of Missing Soldiers

As the cease-fire becomes more fragile in eastern Ukraine, a team of volunteer body collectors travels to the small village of Savur Mohyla in the what pro-Russian separatists call the Donetsk Peoples Republic - to retrieve bodies of fallen Ukrainian servicemen from rebel-held territories. Adam Bailes traveled with the team and has this report.
Video

Video Xenophobic Violence Sweeps South Africa

South Africa, long a haven for African immigrants, has been experiencing the worst xenophobic violence in years, with at least five people killed and hundreds displaced in recent weeks. From Johannesburg, VOA’s Anita Powell brings us this report.
Video

Video Sierra Leone President Koroma Bemoans Ebola Impact on Economy

In an interview with VOA's Shaka Ssali on Wednesday, President Ernest Koroma said the outbreak undermined his government’s efforts to boost and restructure the economy after years of civil war.
Video

Video Protester Lands Gyrocopter on Capitol Lawn

A 61-year-old mailman from Florida landed a small aircraft on the Capitol lawn in Washington to bring attention to campaign finance reform and what he says is government corruption. Wednesday's incident was one in a string of security breaches on U.S. government property. Zlatica Hoke reports the gyrocopter landing violated a no-fly zone.
Video

Video Apollo 13, NASA's 'Successful Failure,' Remembered

The Apollo 13 mission in 1970 was supposed to be NASA's third manned trip to the moon, but it became much more. On the flight's 45th anniversary, astronauts and flight directors gathered at Chicago's Adler Planetarium to talk about how the aborted mission changed manned spaceflight and continues to influence space exploration today. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Badly Burned Ukrainian Boy Bravely Fights Back

A 9-year-old Ukrainian boy has returned to his native country after intensive treatment in the United States for life-threatening burns. Volodia Bubela, burned in a house fire almost a year ago, battled back at a Boston hospital, impressing doctors with his bravery. Faith Lapidus narrates this report from VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko.
Video

Video US Maternity Leave Benefits Much Less Than Many Countries

It was almost 20 years ago that representatives of 189 countries met at a UN conference in Beijing and adopted a plan of action to achieve gender equality around the world. Now, two decades later, the University of California Los Angeles World Policy Analysis Center has issued a report examining what the Beijing Platform for Action has achieved. From Los Angeles, Elizabeth Lee has more.
Video

Video Endangered Hawaiian Birds Get Second Chance

Of the world's nearly 9,900 bird species, 13 percent are threatened with extinction, according to BirdLife International. Among them are two Hawaiian honeycreepers - tiny birds that live in the forest canopy, and, as the name implies, survive on nectar from tropical flowers. Scientists at the San Diego Zoo report they have managed to hatch half a dozen of their chicks in captivity, raising hopes that the birds will flutter back from the brink of extinction. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Exhibit Brings Renaissance Master Out of the Shadows

The National Gallery of Art in Washington has raised the curtain on one of the most intriguing painters of the High Renaissance. Mostly ignored after his death in the early 1500s, Italian master Piero di Cosimo is now claiming his place alongside the best-known artists of the period. VOA’s Ardita Dunellari reports.
Video

Video Sidemen to Famous Blues Artists Record Their Own CD

Legendary blues singer BB King was briefly hospitalized last week and the 87-year-old “King of the Blues” may not be touring much anymore. But some of the musicians who have played with him and other blues legends have now released their own CD in an attempt to pass the torch to younger fans... and put their own talents out front as well. VOA’s Greg Flakus has followed this project over the past year and filed this report from Houston.
Video

Video Iran-Saudi Rivalry Is Stoking Conflict in Yemen

Iran has proposed a peace plan to end the conflict in Yemen, but the idea has received little support from regional rivals like Saudi Arabia. They accuse Tehran of backing the Houthi rebels, who have forced Yemen’s president to flee to Riyadh, and have taken over swaths of Yemen. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA, analysts say the conflict is being fueled by the Sunni-Shia rivalry between the two regional powers.

VOA Blogs