News / USA

US Lawmakers Unveil New Gun Control Bill

Sen. Dianne Feinstein addresses a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, January 24, 2013, to introduce legislation on assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition feeding devices.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein addresses a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, January 24, 2013, to introduce legislation on assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition feeding devices.
Michael Bowman
—  U.S. lawmakers have unveiled a bill that would ban military-style assault weapons - a major component of the Obama administration’s gun control proposal crafted after last month’s mass slaughter of school children in Newtown, Connecticut. The ban is likely to face strong opposition from gun rights proponents inside and outside the Capitol.
 
Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein said the bill has a clear purpose. She said, “We are introducing legislation to help end the mass shootings that have devastated countless families and terrorized communities.”

The bill would prohibit the manufacture, importation, and sale of more than 150 military-style firearms, as well as components that can turn less powerful guns into de-facto assault weapons. It also limits gun magazines to 10 rounds of ammunition.

Flanked by other Democratic lawmakers, municipal police chiefs, and victims of gun violence, Feinstein said assault weapons have no legitimate civilian use - and enable atrocities like Newtown.

“Weapons designed originally for the military to kill large numbers of people in close combat are replicated for civilian use," she said. "They fall into the hands, one way or another, or grievance-killers, of gangs, of those who are mentally-unstable or ill.”

Democratic Senator Charles Schumer put it more succinctly. He said, “Assault weapons were designed for and should be used on our battlefields, not our streets.”

The proposed legislation is a more comprehensive version of an assault weapons ban enacted in 1994 that expired a decade later. Although gun violence continued while the law was in effect, mass shootings became less common - and have escalated since its expiration.

Most Republican lawmakers, and even some Democratic proponents of gun ownership rights, are expected to oppose the bill. America’s main gun rights lobby, the National Rifle Association, is already gearing up for a major legislative battle. NRA chief Wayne LaPierre spoke earlier this week.

“We believe we deserve and have every right to the same level of freedom that our government leaders keep for themselves. And the same capabilities and the same technologies that criminals use to prey upon us and our families," he said. "That means we believe in our right to defend ourselves and our families with semi-automatic firearms technology.”

LaPierre’s argument does not convince Democratic Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy, whose husband was shot and killed on a New York commuter train in 1993.

She asked, “How many people have to be killed before we do something?”

Until the Newtown shootings, gun control was rarely mentioned in the nation’s political discourse. Today, even the strongest proponents of gun control acknowledge the votes may not exist in Congress to pass an assault weapons ban.

Yet the political calculus surrounding gun control appears to have changed. Analysts say proposals to regulate and track the sale of firearms, strengthen background check requirements, and keep weapons out of the hands of the mentally ill could become law if Americans remain engaged and demand action from their representatives.

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

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