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Senate Gun Debate Moves to Judiciary Committee

US Lawmakers Hear Divergent Views on Gun Violencei
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January 30, 2013 11:57 PM
America’s collective horror over gun violence has not forged an overwhelming consensus on how to curb the bloodshed -- a fact illustrated by a contentious hearing at the U.S. Capitol. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the Senate Judiciary Committee heard starkly divergent views from impassioned advocates in the debate over gun control.
US Lawmakers Hear Divergent Views on Gun Violence
Michael Bowman
America’s collective horror over gun violence has not forged an overwhelming consensus on how to curb the bloodshed - a fact illustrated by a contentious hearing at the U.S. Capitol. The Senate Judiciary Committee heard starkly divergent views from impassioned advocates in the debate over gun control.
 
Mass slaughters of children in Connecticut, movie-goers in Colorado, college students in Virginia, and congressional constituents in Arizona have amplified calls for action.
 
First to speak at the hearing: former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot in the head during the 2011 Arizona shooting rampage.
 
“We must do something. It will be hard, but the time is now. You must act," she said. 
 
Gun control advocates want to ban military-style assault weapons, limit the size of ammunition magazines, and require background checks for all gun purchases. 
 
Baltimore County Police Chief James Johnson said, "Allowing 40 percent of those acquiring guns to bypass checks is like allowing 40 percent of passengers to board a plane without going through security. Would we do that?”
 
But gun rights defenders say new firearms regulations and restrictions are not the answer. 
 
Wayne LaPierre, who  heads the National Rifle Association, said, “Proposing more gun laws while failing to enforce the thousands we already have is not a serious solution for reducing crime. Nor do we believe that government should dictate what we can lawfully own and use to protect our families.”
 
At times, the hearing dissolved into chaos.
 
Some argued a balance must be struck: preserving the right of Americans’ to bear arms while ensuring public safety.  
 
Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy said, “Lives are at risk when responsible people fail to stand up for laws that keep guns out of the hands of those who use them to commit murder, especially mass-murders.”
 
Others fear Congress will react impulsively to the Connecticut school shootings. 
 
Republican Senator Ted Cruz said, “Unfortunately, in Washington, emotion often leads to bad policies.”
 
Passionate views exchanged at the hearing mirror deep divisions across the nation on firearms. Analyst Anthony Cordesman sees a bumpy road ahead in the gun control debate.
 
“This will be very political, extremely polarized. Public opinion will remain confused and divided, swinging up and down depending on who manipulates it best," he said. 
 
The nation’s attention has been focused on gun violence since the tragedy at Newtown. All sides of the debate are keenly aware that another mass shooting could occur at any moment.

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by: Hippo from: United States
January 30, 2013 4:00 PM
Casey Anthony, O.J. Simpson, Richard Speck killing 8 student nurses, Charles Manson Family murdering 9, with Sharon Tates baby cut out of her womb and leaving her dead, all these and mega more shocked the Nation without a shot from a gun being fired. 1968 gun control laws were mostly about hand guns, and all the laws over the years and the anti gun owners preach the same things. Never do they talk about other weapons used only anti guns. What about anti violence education period.

by: famullar from: Dar-Es-Salaam Tanzania
January 30, 2013 3:42 PM
IN Las Vegas yesterday, President Obama made it clear that an overhaul of America’s immigration laws was his top domestic priority. He expressed cautious support for a bipartisan plan by eight senators that would create a pathway to citizenship for 11 million illegal immigrants in exchange for tougher border enforcement, employment checks and temporary work visas for farmworkers and highly skilled engineers and scientists. Many critical details are still missing, but the general framework is notable for its familiarity. Variations on all of these measures have been tried before, with mixed results. Legalization of the undocumented is humane and practical, but the proposals for controlling future immigration are almost certain to fail. The promise to “secure the border” made for good politics even before 1986, when Congress passed the last comprehensive immigration reform bill. In the last quarter-century we have spent approximately $187 billion on enforcement, mostly along the United States-Mexico border. This included a nine fold increase in the size of the Border Patrol since 1980; nearly 700 miles of fencing; and the deployment of surveillance drones and motion sensors. These efforts reduced but did not stop unauthorized entries (only the Great Recession was able to reduce the net flow of Mexican illegal immigration to effectively zero). In fact, the hazards of crossing an increasingly militarized border led many Mexican workers to settle permanently in the United States. Similarly, proposals for a new guest worker program, which were scuttled from the 1986 legislation because of opposition from labour and immigrant advocates, should again give us pause. From the agricultural “Bracero Program” of the 1940s and ’50s to the current H-2 visa for temporary unskilled labour, these programs are notorious for employer abuse. If we really want to tackle unauthorized migration, we need to understand why it exists in the first place. The most important cause is our system of allocating green cards, or visas for permanent residency, which stipulates that no country may have more than 7 percent of the total each year. With an annual ceiling of 366,000 family- and employer-sponsored visas, the per-country limit is 25,620. I thank you Firozali A, Mulla DBA

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