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

Uganda Court Annuls Anti-Gay Law

Court says law was passed in parliament without enough members present for a full quorum More

Multimedia Thailand Makes Efforts to Improve Conditions for Migrant Laborers

In Thailand, its not uncommon for parents to bring their children to work; one company, in-collaboration with other organizations, address safety concerns More

In Indonesia, Jihad Video Raises Concern

Video calls on Indonesians to join Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, ISIL More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborersi
X
Steve Herman
August 01, 2014 6:22 PM
Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborers

Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video Public Raises its Voice on Power Plant Pollution

In the United States, proposed rules to cut pollution from the nation’s 600 coal-fired power plants are generating a heated debate. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, charged with writing and implementing the plan, has already received 300,000 written comments. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, another 1,600 people are lining up this week at EPA headquarters and at satellite offices around the country to give their testimony in person.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

The public in China is welcoming the Communist Party's decision to investigate one of the country's once most powerful politicians, former domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang. Analysts say the move by President Xi Jinping is not only an effort to win more support for the party, but an essential step to furthering much needed economic reforms and removing those who would stand in the way of change. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.

AppleAndroid