Gun control push at heart of Obama speech

2013-02-13 09:14
Residents look over the school bus where a shooting occurred just north of Midland City, Alabama. (The Dothan Eagle, Danny Tindell/ AP)

Residents look over the school bus where a shooting occurred just north of Midland City, Alabama. (The Dothan Eagle, Danny Tindell/ AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Video

State of the Union address

2013-02-13 08:18

Watch US President Obama deliver the 2013 State of the Union address to Congress and America. WATCH

kalahari.com

  • The Amateur
    A gripping read that reveals never before published details about the Obama administration's... Now R321.00
    buy now
Washington - President Barack Obama brought the wounds inflicted by the recent spate of shooting deaths to Congress on Tuesday, ending his State of the Union address with an emotional plea for tougher gun control.

Speaking for victims' relatives and gun crime survivors among the guests attending the joint session of Congress, he demanded their voices be heard amid the raucous debate triggered by a spate of bloody mass shootings.

Many of those present wore green ribbons to signal support for tighter gun laws, a campaign that has gained strength since December, when a troubled young man burst into a Connecticut school and slaughtered 20 young children.

The massacre in the Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown has become a symbol of the threat posed by the millions of guns in private American hands, but it was only the latest of several such attacks to shock the nation.

"It has been two months since Newtown. I know this is not the first time this country has debated how to reduce gun violence. But this time is different," Obama told lawmakers and a national television audience.

Citing polls that suggest most American voters now support some new limit on citizens' access to guns, or at least to military-style assault weapons and high-capacity clips, Obama said it was time for Congress to vote on new laws.

Victim's families

"Because, in the two months since Newtown, more than a thousand birthdays, graduations and anniversaries have been stolen from our lives by a bullet from a gun," he said, in an unabashedly emotional passage of his address.

"One of those we lost was a young girl named Hadiya Pendleton. She was 15 years old. She loved Fig Newtons and lip gloss. She was a majorette. She was so good to her friends, they all thought they were her best friend," he said.

"Just three weeks ago, she was here, in Washington, with her classmates, performing for her country at my inauguration. And a week later, she was shot and killed in a Chicago park after school, just a mile away from my house."

Indicating first Hadiya's parents in the crowd, Obama saluted a series of gun attack victims as tears erupted and applauding supporters came to their feet around the House of Representatives.

"Hadiya's parents, Nate and Cleo, are in this chamber tonight, along with more than two dozen Americans whose lives have been torn apart by gun violence. They deserve a vote," Obama declared.

"Gabby Giffords deserves a vote," he said, pointing out the former Arizona congresswoman who was severely wounded in a 2011 gun attack that left six more people dead and 13 wounded, and who now campaigns for gun control.

Gun violence

"The families of Newtown deserve a vote," he said, before turning to a list of other communities devastated in recent mass shootings.

"The families of Aurora deserve a vote," he said, as applause swelled. "The families of Oak Creek, and Tucson, and Blacksburg, and the countless other communities ripped open by gun violence - they deserve a simple vote."

There were an estimated 310 million non-military firearms in the United States in 2009, roughly one per citizen, and people in America are 20 times more likely to be killed by a gun than someone in another developed country.

Polls may point to increasing support for gun control, but despite all the recent killings, previous attempts to limit firearms ownership have foundered in Congress and a previous assault weapon ban expired in 2004.

The 1791 Second Amendment to the US Constitution states that "a well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed".

Many interpret this as enshrining the right of all citizens to carry firearms as they see fit, and any moves by federal authorities to limit access to guns are always fiercely opposed by a well-funded firearms lobby.

Obama's vice president, Joe Biden, is working on gun control options and leading Democratic senators are preparing legislation to ban large-capacity magazines and an array of assault weapons.

Giving no ground

But Republicans, many of whom represent states and regions with strong gun-owning traditions, oppose many of the measures.

And, along with the victims of gun violence in Tuesday's audience, there were also unapologetic supporters of gun ownership like rock musician Ted Nugent, a stanch conservative and supporter of the firearms lobby.

Responding to Obama's impassioned address, Republican Senator Marco Rubio gave no ground.

"We were all heartbroken by the recent tragedy in Connecticut," he said.

"We must effectively deal with the rise of violence in our country. But unconstitutionally undermining the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Americans is not the way to do it."

But Obama's peroration brought most of the room to its feet.

"Our actions will not prevent every senseless act of violence in this country," he declared. "But we were never sent here to be perfect. We were sent here to make what difference we can."

Read more on:    barack obama  |  us  |  us school shooting  |  gun control
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/World
 

7 insanely cool smartphone photography tips

With these smartphone photography tips your pics will have some edge!

 
 

For chic geeks...

10 mind-blowing explosions done in the name of science
Wearable Tech: Sleek or geek?
Google is bringing you self flying delivery drones
Polaroid’s new rugged action cam is badass

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Camping gear!

We’ve got all your camping must have’s right here at mind blowing low prices. Check them out now!

Herbex – buy 3 & get 1 free!

Fat burn packs, appetite control chewies, stretch mark cream and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

30% off Jinger Jack handbags

Spice up your wardrobe and save 30% on stylish Jinger Jack handbags. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Buy 3 books & pay for 2

The cheapest of the 3 books will be free. Offer valid while stocks last. T&Cs apply. Shop now!

Deal of the week!

Hisense 40” Full HD LED Television now R3999. Offer valid while stocks last. Buy now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Mercury has moved into Libra which adds a more social energy to the way you can communicate and connect things. Today is about...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.