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

Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Seen as a potential driver of recovery, Cairo’s plan to expand waterway had been raising hopes to give country much needed economic boost More

Ebola Maternity Ward in Sierra Leone First of its Kind

Country already had one of world's highest maternal mortality rates before Ebola arrived, virus has added even more complications to health care More

Malaysia Flight 370 Disappearance Ruled Accident

Aircraft disappeared on March 8, 2014; with ruling, families of 239 passengers and crew can now seek compensation from airline More

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.
Groundbreaking Hand-Painted Documentary About Van Gogh in Productioni
X
George Putic
January 29, 2015 9:43 PM
The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Groundbreaking Hand-Painted Documentary About Van Gogh in Production

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Web

Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Freedom on Decline Worldwide, Report Says

The state of global freedom declined for the ninth consecutive year in 2014, according to global watchdog Freedom House's annual report released Wednesday. VOA's William Gallo has more.
Video

Video MRI Seems to Help Diagnose Prostate Cancer, Preliminary Study Shows

Just as with mammography used to detect breast cancer, there's a lot of controversy about tests used to diagnose prostate cancer. Fortunately, a new study shows doctors may now have a more reliable way to diagnose prostate cancer for high risk patients. More from VOA's Carol Pearson.
Video

Video Smartphones About to Make Leap, Carry Basic Senses

Long-distance communication contains mostly sounds and pictures - for now. But scientists in Britain say they are close to creating additions for our smartphones that will make it possible to send taste, smell and even a basic touch. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Crowded Republican Presidential Field Off to Early Start for 2016

It seems early, but the 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign is already heating up. Though no one has officially announced a candidacy, several potential Republican contenders have been busy speaking to conservative groups about making a White House run next year. Many of the possible contenders are critical of the Obama administration’s foreign policy record. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone reports.

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