News / USA

Senate Gun Debate Moves to Judiciary Committee

US Lawmakers Hear Divergent Views on Gun Violencei
X
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.

You May Like

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
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

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debatei
X
Shelley Schlender
July 24, 2014 6:43 PM
In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Death Toll From Israel-Gaza Conflict Surpasses 700

Gaza officials say a shelling hit a compound housing a United Nations-run school in the Gaza Strip, killing more than a dozen people, during an Israeli offensive in the area. Heavy fighting between the Israeli military and Hamas militants continued on Thursday, pushing up the death toll. So far, more than 730 Palestinians and 35 Israelis have been killed in the conflict. VOA's Scott Bobb has the latest from Jerusalem.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Researchers Target Low-Cost Avatar Technology

Scientists at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies say 3-dimensional representations could revolutionize social media. Elizabeth Lee has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid