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.

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Comment Sorting
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?
In Response

by: Shraydin from: Missouri
January 28, 2013 10:41 PM
Do we need AR-15's in our normal daily 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.

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