Scepticism over Obama's gun plea

2012-08-08 13:12
US President Barack Obama (AP)

US President Barack Obama (AP)

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

kalahari.com

  • The Amateur
    A gripping read that reveals never before published details about the Obama administration's... Now R321.00
    buy now
Washington - Despite a rash of mass killings, many Americans are sceptical of calls by President Barack Obama and others for "soul searching" on ways to reduce gun violence in the United States.

"Americans are not ready for soul searching about guns," Jeffrey Reiman, a philosophy professor at American University in Washington, said in the wake of Sunday's bloodshed at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin.

"Americans have made up their minds about guns," he said. "A large number of people seem to want them," with 258 million firearms in the United States held in private hands.

On Monday, a day after the Wisconsin shooting, Obama extended condolences to the families of the dead, then proposed that "soul searching" was needed on how to reduce violence in America.

"These terrible, tragic events are happening with too much regularity" not to prompt "soul searching" to assess "additional ways that we can reduce violence", he said.

His suggestion was timely.

Tucson shooting

On 20 July, a gunman burst into a midnight showing of the latest Batman movie in Aurora, Colorado, killing 12 people. Then came Sunday's death of six worshippers at the Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin.

By coincidence, the young man accused of killing six people in Tucson, Arizona - in a parking-lot rampage that wounded then-congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords - was to appear in court on Tuesday.

Memories of the Virginia Tech and Columbine high school shootings, which left 32 and 12 dead in 2007 and 1999, respectively, remain fresh in American minds.

Each incident revives a divisive debate on gun control and the Second Amendment of the Constitution, which asserts every citizen's right "to keep and bear arms".

"Soul-searching won't stop mass killers, and soul-searching won't stop the NRA," said law professor Adam Winkler of the University of California in Los Angeles, referring to the powerful gun lobby, the National Rifle Association.

"We don't need soul searching. We need better gun laws," he said.

47% own a gun

"Firearms are here to stay, but we can put in place better safeguards, like background checks for every gun purchase," he added.

"While such laws won't prevent madmen from killing a lot of people, they can reduce the daily gun violence that plagues America's cities."

In a Gallup poll in October 2011, 47% of Americans said they possessed a firearm, the highest proportion in 20 years, while 26% favoured gun control, the lowest proportion ever.

The gun industry - with 1 996 manufacturers in May - has enjoyed growth of 27% since 2010 despite an overall economic slump, according to official data cited by Time magazine.

Online, criticism of Obama's proposal in the comment sections of major newspapers has been unanimously negative, even if there is division over the question of gun control.

"I guess he wants to take our right to bear arms so only the nut jobs and criminals will have the free reign on helpless people!" wrote William Molnar of Florida on the website of the USA Today newspaper.

The g-word


From Boston, Sean Hamilton said: "Shootings are isolated incidents. I don't need to do any soul searching. This is no one's fault but the killer's."

Writing on the New York Times website under the avatar DWK, a Los Angeles resident asked: "How many weekly mass murders will there need to be before our political leaders, apparently wholly emasculated by the NRA, say anything other than the sound bite equivalent of a cheap sympathy card?"

On an ironic note, Sherman, from Oakland, California, saluted both Obama and his Republican presidential rival Mitt Romney for their "yeoman efforts to avoid even the mention of the word 'gun'".

Back in Washington, professor Reiman said: "We've had these tragedies before, and they haven't made much of a difference in the gun control debate."

"So I don't expect any soul searching, or new attitudes toward guns, or changes in the law due to this awful event. It will fall out of the public's memory - until the next one."

Read more on:    barack obama  |  mitt romney  |  us  |  us shooting  |  us temple shooting  |  us cinema shooting
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
4 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
Traffic & Train Alerts
Traffic
Cape Town 07:45 AM
Road name: N2 Inbound

STATIONARY VEHICLE in the left lane at the Mowbray Main Road exit - DELAYS from the N7 Highway

Newlands 07:36 AM
Road name: M3 Inbound

DELAYS between Constantia Main Road and Hospital Bend

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

Up to 60% off - clearance sale!

Save up to 60% on appliances, books, electronics, toys, movies and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Deal of the Week!

Get bestselling John Green novels now just R99 each! Hurry and get yours while stocks last. Shop here.

Mind blowing deals on beauty & fragrances

Save up to 30% off beauty and fragrances. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 50% off hair care products!

Save up to 50% on professional hair care products at kalahari.com. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

30% off academic books

Score a mind blowing 30% off academic books! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop 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

Social media is pulling you in and you have the desire to find out everything you know about your friends and you have the urge to...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.