News / USA

    US Gun Control Effort Hits Legislative Roadblock

    Families of US school gun shooting victims listen to news conference outside Senate chamber after a vote on gun legislation April 17, 2013
    Families of US school gun shooting victims listen to news conference outside Senate chamber after a vote on gun legislation April 17, 2013
    Michael Bowman

    The first major effort to overhaul America’s gun laws in two decades has hit a roadblock in Congress. The Senate voted down a bipartisan proposal to expand background check requirements for firearms purchasers, dealing a severe blow to gun control efforts just four months after a mass shooting at a Connecticut elementary school.
     
    Gun control advocates wanted a ban on military-style assault weapons and restrictions on ammunition magazines. But many were willing to settle for expanded background checks to keep firearms out of the hands of violent criminals and the mentally ill. In the end, that proposal did not get the required three-fifths backing in the Senate.

    “The yeas are 54, the nays are 46. The amendment is not agreed to,” Vice President Joe Biden announced as he presided over the vote.

    Related video report by Chris Simkins

    US Police Chief Pushes for Tougher Gun Lawsi
    X
    April 17, 2013 8:05 PM
    U.S. lawmakers are considering new laws that would expand background checks for gun buyers. The proposed legislation comes more than four months after a lone gunman killed 20 school children and six educators at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. VOA's Chris Simkins reports on a veteran police chief who is leading efforts by other law enforcement agencies to reduce gun violence without infringing on Americans' constitutional right to own firearms.

    Four Republicans voted for the Manchin-Toomey proposal, named for the Democratic and Republican senators who crafted it. Five Democrats voted against.

    Days of passionate debate preceded Wednesday’s vote. Democratic Senator Robert Menendez said gun buyers must be scrutinized.

    “Do we honestly think it makes sense to allow someone without a mandatory background check to buy an assault weapon that can fire up to 13 rounds a second?,” he said.

    Republican Senator Richard Shelby argued that the government cannot prevent gun violence. “No amount of government intervention can prevent irrational people from doing terrible things,” Shelby said.

    Opponents said new gun control measures will erode law-abiding Americans’ right to bear arms and do nothing to improve public safety. “People who steal guns do not submit to background checks,” said Republican Senator Chuck Grassley:

    Backers of the legislation countered that the lack of a perfect solution to gun violence should not halt all efforts to reduce it.

    “The longer I have spent in this place [the Senate], the more I am convinced that there are people who actually do believe that we should just go back to the days of the Wild, Wild West. That we should usher in a new era of gun control Darwinism, in which the good guys have guns and the bad guys have guns and we just hope the good guys shoot the bad guys,” said Democratic Senator Chris Murphy.

    Present in the Senate gallery for the vote were family members of victims of the December school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. They joined Democratic senators for a post-vote news conference.

    “Today, fear, mistruth and brute political force won out over what is right, and America will be a less-safe place because of it. But I say to the [Newtown] families, do not give up faith,” said Senator Charles Schumer.

    At the White House, President Obama called the Senate vote “shameful” but promised that the fight to reform America’s gun laws will continue.

    After rejecting expanded background checks, the Senate voted down several other firearms proposals, including a Republican amendment to boost illegal firearms prosecutions and a Democratic amendment to ban high-powered assault weapons.

    You May Like

    New EU Asylum Rules Could Boost Rightists

    New regulations will seek to correct EU failures in dealing with migrant crisis, most notably inability to get member states to absorb a total of 160,000 refugees

    More Political Turmoil Likely in Iraq as Iran Waits in the Wings

    Analysts warn that Tehran, even though it may not be engineering the Sadrist protests in Baghdad, is seeking to leverage its influence on its neighbor

    Forced Anal Testing Case to Appear Before Kenya Court

    Men challenge use of anal examinations to ‘prove homosexuality’; practice accomplishes nothing except to humiliate those subjected to them, according to Human Rights Watch

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Anonymous
    April 18, 2013 9:56 AM
    “Do we honestly think it makes sense to allow someone without a mandatory background check to buy an assault weapon that can fire up to 13 rounds a second?,” he said.

    One of the facets of America's political process is the fact that frequently our leaders try to ban something they know nothing about. We repeatedly remind them that the guns capable of firing "13 rounds a second" do in fact exist but are already tightly controlled under the 1934 NFA. Not only is there a stringent background check already in place that covers ALL transfers of NFA covered weapons, but some of the FBI agents that perform those checks would have trouble passing one. We point out that that the legislation they currently propose covers guns that fire one round per trigger squeeze. But they apparently aren't listening. Rather than further confuse the good Senator with the facts, I would simply suggest that he try squeezing a trigger 13 times in a second.

    by: Jeff Tavolieri
    April 18, 2013 9:20 AM
    As a violent felon, I couldn't be happier.

    by: Paul from: London
    April 18, 2013 2:58 AM
    Here is a message from London - where the police DONT even carry guns -

    When will America wake up an realise the scale of its problem. HOW MANY MORE DEAD ! and when will the senators stop harping on about the right to bear arms - This is the 21st century - Not the wild west .. What about the right to not be shot by a crazed idiot. I have been to the USA over 30 times - There is Far too much gun carrying.

    The argument that having a gun makes you safer it just plain incorrect - Look outside of your borders at the stats from the rest of the world - More guns = more needless death and if you look at accidental deaths ie where children pick up and play with a gun left out you could eliminate this too if you acted more responsibly. ie No handguns.

    So do what the UK have done
    Ban hand guns
    Only guns available are in locked places like shooting clubs
    Very Very stringent check on who can buy
    No automatic weapons (period)
    No public carrying of guns (period) ie wearing them in a public place

    Also control the sale of ammo - Ie bullets kill not the gun

    All of the senators that stopped this legislation - As your president says - Shame on you. Nothing wrong with owning a gun - Just check stringently who you sell them to and how they get used. If you like your gun so much then join a club. Thats what my 16 year old army cadet son has done - He only shoots on a range.

    I really feel strongly - Stop being insular and look at the rest of the world and get you house in order and minimise the chances more tragedies and violent crimes. There will always be sad deranged people out there that will find a way - However reduce your guns in circulation and you will reduce the deaths - Its a pretty straightforward equation that has no argument against.
    In Response

    by: Jason from: America
    April 18, 2013 7:31 AM
    Well, Paul from London. Why don't you worry about your own country. Who are you to tell us Americans how to live? We fought against your entitlement to tell us how to behave over 200 years ago and we bailed you out of 2 losing wars. You should be speaking German right about now. We carry guns to defend our right to fight against tyranny, both foreign or domestic. Go and keep your comments on your side of the pond and worry about your own sheeple. Maybe next time you need us to bail you out from certain destruction you will appreciate us cowboys.

    by: Kpitikos from: Las vegas NV
    April 17, 2013 12:19 PM
    What next?? The way the US senate will go is slowily will put new amendments and take away all the rights of the people.
    The same way HITLER did in 1938 Europe and you know the story

    by: Greg McKean
    April 17, 2013 12:18 PM
    It doesn't help anyone except the uninformed and the easily swayed when you improperly label a NON assault weapon as an assault weapon. An AR-15 is NOT an assault weapon unless you have an agenda..
    In Response

    by: Bob from: nj
    April 17, 2013 11:50 PM
    jshattuck from: washington
    How about a little substance in your comment. Perhaps a study of the ruling document of the US of A would help. Shall not infringe. If you disagree start a movement by Constitutional convention but don't try to impose your paranoia on everybody else
    In Response

    by: jshattuck from: washington
    April 17, 2013 8:11 PM
    a gun, by any other name, is a gun... is a gun.. is a gun. a narrow mind by any other name is a narrow mind. explain your delusions, this way or that, you're still delusional.

    by: Adolf Schmidt
    April 17, 2013 10:38 AM
    One of my biggest concerns with gun control is the lack of enforcement by government agencies( mainly ATF). The gun shop that sold the guns used at Sandy Hook, had over 1000 gun sale violations when investigated after the massacre. Any store that sells guns and ammunition should have a FFL, and should be audited on a regular basis to ensure gun laws are followed. Why are these audits not taking place? Will any new laws have a positive effect if no one is enforcing them. How many lives could have been saved if our government would have enforced the laws already on the books?
    In Response

    by: Adolf Schmidt
    April 17, 2013 3:08 PM
    John, the media has reported that the shop had it's FFL removed for having over 1000 firearm and ammunition sales violations. Can you tell me how many, of over 1000 violations, lead to a criminal use of a firearm? I didn't think so. To have a FFL you must have your place of business inspected prior to opening shop to ensure compliance to firearm laws, then be periodically inspected to make sure the laws are adhered too. Nowhere in my statement did I say it would have stopped Sandy Hook. The point you seem to be missing is if they are lacking in enforcement of laws, will new laws be overlooked and neglected as much. I really don't care if they add 100 new gun laws, great. I am concerned that the government is not doing what they should enforcing any gun laws.
    In Response

    by: John Perry
    April 17, 2013 1:52 PM
    FFL is required to be a legal dealer in all the states since the Gun Control Act of 1968. Since the rifle request was denied and the only one at the scene was in the trunk then this must be about the handguns that require a background check since Brady Handgun Act of 1993. Now for there to be over 1000 gun sale violations that would mean that the ATF was not doing it's job. The government does not enforce the broken laws on the books they make new ones.

    Bit curious as to where your claim comes in that stores do not have an FFL when there could not be violations without an FFL in place.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Rulingi
    X
    May 03, 2016 5:16 PM
    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Ruling

    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Painting Captures President Lincoln Assassination Aftermath

    A newly restored painting captures the moments following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. It was recently unveiled at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, where America’s 16th president was shot. It is the only known painting by an eyewitness that captures the horror of that fateful night. VOA’s Julie Taboh tells us more about the painting and what it took to restore it to its original condition.
    Video

    Video Elephant Summit Results in $5M in Pledges, Presidential Support

    Attended and supported by three African presidents, a three-day anti-poaching summit has concluded in Kenya, resulting in $5 million in pledges and a united message to the world that elephants are worth more alive than dead. The summit culminated at the Nairobi National Park with the largest ivory burn in history. VOA’s Jill Craig attended the summit and has this report about the outcomes.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With the conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, between the rebel PKK and the Turkish state, many Kurds are trying to escape the turmoil by focusing on the success of their football team Amedspor in Diyarbakir. The club is increasingly becoming a symbol for Kurds, not only in Diyarbakir but beyond. Dorian Jones reports from southeast Turkey.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora