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

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    City could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters

    Turkey Aims New Crackdown at Journalists, Academics, Airline Workers

    Ankara continues targeting people allegedly linked to exiled cleric, who it says led the failed military coup

    Pakistan Ready to Inaugurate Rebuilt Afghan Border Crossing

    Construction of Torkham Gate triggered deadly clashes between Pakistani and Afghan military forces

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunitiesi
    X
    VOA News
    July 25, 2016 5:09 PM
    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Four Brother Goats Arrive in Brooklyn on a Mission

    While it's unusual to see farm animals in cities, it's become familiar for residents of Brooklyn, New York, to see a little herd of goats. Unlike gas-powered mowing equipment, goats remove invasive weeds quietly and without adding more pollution to the air. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this is a pilot program and if it proves to be successful, the goat gardener program will be extended to other areas of New York. Faith Lapidus narrates.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora