News / USA

White House, Gun Victim Families, Make Major Push for Reform

Vice President Joe Biden (left) with Attorney General Eric Holder April 9, 2013
Vice President Joe Biden (left) with Attorney General Eric Holder April 9, 2013
U.S. lawmakers faced intense pressure Tuesday from the White House, and families of Newtown, Connecticut shooting victims, to clear the way for votes on new gun control legislation.

Family members whose loved ones were gunned down at a Newtown elementary school last year spent the day on Capitol Hill making personal appeals to lawmakers.

About a dozen Newtown residents flew to Washington on Air Force One after President Obama delivered a speech Monday challenging Senate Republicans to drop threats to block gun legislation.

Obama seeks debate and votes on all the key objectives he laid out last January, including renewal of an expired assault weapons ban, and universal background checks for all gun buyers.

After meeting with police and other law enforcement officials Tuesday, Vice President Joe Biden said Congress lags far behind the American people, who polls show support stronger gun laws.

He had scathing criticism for Republicans threatening to block forward movement, saying the situation embarrasses the United States in the eyes of the world.

"The tragedy that traumatized the nation and caught the attention of the entire world and after all the thinking and the debate and the discussion with overwhelming majorities of the American people thinking that the proposal the president put forward made absolute sense, the climax of this tragedy could be [that] we're not even going to get a vote?  Imagine how that looks," Biden said.

Biden said the National Rifle Association, which is lobbying heavily against stronger gun laws, is trying to scare Americans into believing the federal government aims to take away their guns.

Attorney General Eric Holder rejected a key NRA assertion that President Obama seeks to remove the right of citizens to gun ownership protected by the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

"Contrary to what a few have said, this plan which President Obama announced in January, is consistent with the Second Amendment, and will not infringe in any way on the rights of gun owners," Holder said.

White House press secretary Jay Carney challenged Republicans opposing an expansion of background checks for gun purchasers to be willing to make their position clear in an open vote.

"If they are opposed to background checks they should stand up and say so and vote no.  The American people demand at least that," Carney said.

The White House push on gun control continues on Wednesday.  First Lady Michelle Obama speaks in Chicago about the impact of gun violence on children and communities.

You May Like

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Christmas Gains Popularity in Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid