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

Australia Knights Prince Philip, Sparking National Outrage

Abbott's surprise reintroduction of knights and dames in the country's honors system last year drew criticism that he was out of touch with national sentiment More

SAG Award Boosts 'Birdman' Oscar Hopes

Individual acting Oscars appear to be sewn up: SAG awards went to artists who won Golden Globes: Julianne Moore, Eddie Redmayne, Patricia Arquette, J.K. Simmons More

Katy Perry Lights Way for Super Bowl's Girl Power Moment

Pop star's selection to headline US football championship's halftime show extends NFL's trend of selecting artists who appeal to younger viewers More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sidesi
X
June Soh
January 23, 2015 10:03 PM
The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.
Video

Video US Marching Bands Grow Into a Show of Their Own

The 2014 Super Bowl halftime show was the most-watched in history - attracting an estimated 115 million viewers. That event featured pop star Bruno Mars. But the halftime show tradition started with marching bands, which still dominate the entertainment at U.S. high school and college American football games. But as Enming Liu reports in this story narrated by Adrianna Zhang, marching bands have grown into a show of their own.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid