News / USA

    White House Takes Gun Control to American Public

    A crowd listens to speaker during a rally against gun violence near the Washington Monument in Washington, January 26, 2012.
    A crowd listens to speaker during a rally against gun violence near the Washington Monument in Washington, January 26, 2012.
    Kent Klein
    The Obama administration is once again going to the American people to win support for one of its initiatives. The president and other White House officials are mounting a public campaign for passage of gun control legislation, evidenced by U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan's appearance at a rally in Washington on Saturday. The march for stricter gun control laws concluded with a gathering at the Washington Monument, where Duncan called on Congress to approve President Barack Obama's initiatives to curb gun violence.

    “We will do everything in our power to make sure that we pass legislation that makes our children and our families, our communities safer,” Duncan told the crowd. He said the administration’s agenda is focused on gun safety, not on taking away Americans’ constitutional right to own guns. The education secretary’s speech at the rally was part of the White House strategy to take its case to the public.

    Vice President Joe Biden, whose recommendations formed the basis of  Obama’s gun initiative, has made several public appearances in the past few days on behalf of the effort. On Friday, Biden held a discussion of the issue with private citizens and local officials in Richmond, Virginia. The vice president also appeared on the Internet for what was called a “hangout” to discuss gun violence.

    “If we can do something that, even if it only impacts on saving one life of a child or an individual out there, it is worth doing, but I think we can do a lot more than that.”

    One piece of the administration’s agenda is a proposal to ban military-style assault weapons, like the ones used to kill 20 children and six adults at a school in Connecticut in December. Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein has introduced a bill to ban assault weapons.

    “Weapons designed originally for the military to kill large numbers of people in close combat are replicated for civilian use," said Feinstein. "They fall into the hands, one way or another, of grievance-killers, of gangs, of those who are mentally unstable or ill.” Lawmakers, including Feinstein, have conceded that passing gun control legislation will be difficult.

    Most Republicans in Congress, and even some Democrats, oppose it.  Many lawmakers support the powerful gun rights organization, the National Rifle Association.  Wayne LaPierre, who leads the NRA, recently said law-abiding citizens should be allowed to have as much firepower as criminals.

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

    Despite the difficult odds facing passage of an assault weapons ban, other administration initiatives to reduce gun violence stand a better chance of passage. Experts say proposals to strengthen background check requirements, better track and regulate the sale of guns and keep weapons away from the mentally ill are popular with the public.  

    The Senate Judiciary Committee holds its first hearing on gun violence on next week.

    You May Like

    Saudi Arabia’s New Female Politicians in the Other Room 

    Many in Saudi Arabia say elected representatives should share unsegregated spaces; according to a recent survey, more than half the Saudi population, both men and women, prefer to work in a segregated place

    Russia Not ‘Apologetic’ for Syria Airstrikes

    With Moscow criticized for targeting armed opponents of President Assad, Russia’s UN envoy says his country ‘acting in a very transparent manner’

    Pakistan Warns of Islamic State's Growing Reach

    Aftab Sultan, General Director General of Intelligence Bureau (IB), briefed Senate Committee in closed hearing, saying that IS-linked groups have been expanding in Pakistan

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Horsesforcourses from: dubai
    January 28, 2013 2:34 PM
    Leave us alone
    Every time I write about Connecticut shooter Adam Lanza and watch White House kicks off on gun control campaign. I get a strange feeling that the entire thing is horseplay. 2nd amendment crowd who don’t trust the sheriff blame Obama for turning USA to Prison Planet. These people believe that an assault weapon is essential for puberty like Medical Marijuana and has to be dispensed everywhere. Am lost. Without an assault weapon in hand In Corrupt Police State no one stand a chance of survival.

    In gun-free Corrupt Police State a queer can rape a hulk at gun point. We’re talking utopia here unless someone will tell me why $50 assault weapon is sold in USA from $500. What’s going on? Let me tip you the answer. What business got 1000% markup beside Narcotics and killing machines. Dumb down. Probation is Obama’s WMD. Ask moonshine boys they will be able to tell how much booze license costs and why are they hunted like rabid squirrels in the Rockies. Come on girls Killing Machines & Narcotics is $14T economy in USA only. That’s why White House kicks off on gun control campaign to left the price. Quit Alex Jones and go to bed. You hear me. Now!

    by: Schar from: USA
    January 27, 2013 10:08 PM
    Why do civilians need ARs? If in the shootings in Connecticut it was not AR, it means it was not needed by anyone, even those mentally not sound! So why should others fret if ARs taken out of circulation? Why does America have more gun deaths per unit of 1000 persons than Germany, Britain or other countries? Is it because some people want to let guns talk if others oppose them, rather than have a decent conversation? Even when people are promised that their Second Amendment rights will not be broached why this needless buildup about gun rights which in any case are for the “militia”? And where are all those prolife religious leaders? If fetus is a living entity isn’t someone large-as-life, life? Or is it just plain old dirty politics that even religious leaders find necessary to indulge in favor of the NRA and pro-NRA legislators?
    Schar
    In Response

    by: Shraydin from: Missouri
    January 28, 2013 10:41 PM
    Do we need AR-15's in our normal daily lives....no. Should we still be allowed to have them besides that fact? Yes. We are given that right by the current interpretation of the second amendment of the Constitution of the United States by the Supreme Court. Feel free to look it up.

    by: John from: Raleigh
    January 27, 2013 12:54 AM
    This article is full of lies. First and last, because I don't have time to go into anymore, military style assault weapons were not used in the Conn. shooting (that gun was in the vehicle).

    by: Shraydin from: Missouri
    January 26, 2013 8:08 PM
    I don't know how people fail to sse the real issue here. The laws that they want to pass are incapable of protecting people because the people who put us in danger don't care about laws. The laws the current administration want to pass only puts those who follow them at risk. What do you think the likelyhood is that someone who wants to kill people won't ignore the law and get weapons illegally.
    This is just an opportunity for them to push their own agendas while trying to convince the public that it is all for us. Come on people use some common sense. Gun Control LAWS only put those who follow them more at risk.
    In Response

    by: Joseph marcucilli from: Santa Clarita ca.
    January 27, 2013 12:09 PM
    Criminals are not responsible for most of the deaths due to gun violence, your are more likely to die by accidents with guns, domestic violence , suicide, and of course the use of assault weapons which is not the weapon of choice for criminals.Criminals don't go around killing 30 people at a time they frankly are not as nuts as some Americans waiting for the next revolution of guys who think they are Batman.
    In Response

    by: Matt from: Nature Coast
    January 27, 2013 8:53 AM
    Shraydin, I couldn't have said it any better. And despite what the media tells us, the overwhelming majority of comments on these articles are against new legislation.
    In Response

    by: will from: USA
    January 26, 2013 9:59 PM
    It is evident what the viewpoint of the author is but I would like some a fcat check. What shooting in December involved the use of an AR? Feel free to speak your opinions and beliefs I welcome that it is something this country was founded on. But please do not base your opinions on things that were not true and do not continue to spread untruths. The shootings in Connecticut in December used a pistol not an AR. The demonization of this rifle by public figures for its use in this shooting is based on a lie. NBC even admitted that autopsy reports and investigation show that no one died from injuries sustained from .223 caliber rounds. Instead injuries inflicted where caused by the pistols the shooter carried. The AR was not even present in the biulding. Nor was the shotgun. But who likes to use facts? When spin offs and sensational media claims support your arguements to a greater degree.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growthi
    X
    February 10, 2016 5:54 AM
    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Civil Rights Pioneer Remembers Struggle for Voting Rights

    February is Black History Month in the United States. The annual, month-long national observance pays tribute to important people and events that shaped the history of African Americans. VOA's Chris Simkins reports how one man fought against discrimination to help millions of blacks obtain the right to vote
    Video

    Video Jordanian Theater Group Stages Anti-Terrorism Message

    The lure of the self-styled “Islamic State” has many parents worried about their children who may be susceptible to the organization’s online propaganda. Dozens of Muslim communities in the Middle East are fighting back -- giving young adults alternatives to violence. One group in Jordan is using dramatic expression a send a family message. Mideast Broadcasting Network correspondent Haider Al Abdali shared this report with VOA. It’s narrated by Bronwyn Benito
    Video

    Video Migrant Crisis Fuels Debate Over Britain’s Future in EU

    The migrant crisis in Europe is fueling the debate in Britain ahead of a referendum on staying in the European Union that may be held this year. Prime Minister David Cameron warns that leaving the EU could lead to thousands more migrants arriving in the country. Meanwhile, tension is rising in Calais, France, where thousands of migrants are living in squalid camps. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Families Flee Aleppo for Kurdish Regions in Syria

    Not all who flee the fighting in Aleppo are trying to cross the border into Turkey. A VOA reporter caught up with several families heading for Kurdish-held areas of northern Syria.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.