News24

Biden to head new US gun policy

2012-12-19 16:18

Washington - President Barack Obama will announce on Wednesday that Vice President Joe Biden will lead an effort to come up with policies to address gun violence amid calls for action following the massacre of 26 people including 20 children in a Connecticut elementary school last week.

The president is not expected to announce policy decisions but rather lay out the process by which his administration will move forward, White House aides said.

Obama has turned to Biden in the past to take a role in high-profile policy initiatives, such as efforts to seek a deficit-reduction compromise with congressional Republicans in 2011.

Biden's mission - to co-ordinate a process among government agencies to formulate policies in the wake of the Newtown shootings - comes just days after an event that appears to have generated a national outcry for greater efforts to stem gun violence.

The Connecticut massacre was the fourth shooting rampage to claim multiple lives in the US this year.

The president issued a call to action at a memorial service in Newtown on Sunday, demanding changes to the way the US deals with gun violence. Obama said that in coming weeks he would "use whatever power this office" holds to start efforts to preventing further such tragedies.

However, gun control has been a low priority for most US politicians due to the widespread popularity of guns in America and the clout of the National Rifle Association, the powerful gun industry lobby.

Gun regulation

The constitutional right to bear arms is seen by many Americans as set in stone, and even after mass shootings, politicians have tiptoed around specific steps to limit access to lethal weapons.

Even so, the horror of the Newtown killings, in which a 20-year-old man killed 6- and 7-year-old children and their teachers in their classrooms before taking his own life, has provoked an apparent change of heart in some politicians who have previously opposed gun control.

One such official is Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia. The gun rights advocate said he would now be open to more regulation of military-style rifles like the one used in Newtown. Obama spoke with him on Tuesday, the White House said.

The White House spelled out some gun control measures on Tuesday that Obama would support.

White House spokesperson Jay Carney said Obama would back US Senator Dianne Feinstein's effort to reinstate an assault weapons ban. The president also would favour any law to close a loophole related to gun-show sales, he said.

Efforts to limit high-capacity gun ammunition clips would be another area of interest, Carney said.

Comments
  • werner.nel.712 - 2012-12-19 17:05

    Guns point out the wrongs in society. The swiss have no gun crimes yet every citizen has his military issued weapon. Stop blaming guns. Timothy Mcveigh did not use a gun....

      jack.russel.14268769 - 2012-12-19 18:00

      ye the gun laws of the 200 years are responsible for the violence. There's something wrong when the governments want to disarm the nations

  • leon.roux.58 - 2012-12-19 17:09

    The History of Gun Control In 1929, the Soviet Union established gun control. From 1929 to 1953, about 20 million dissidents, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated. In 1911, Turkey established gun control. From 1915 to 1917, 1.5 million Armenians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated. Germany established gun control in 1938 and from 1939 to 1945, a total of 13 million Jews and others who were unable to defend themselves were rounded up and exterminated. China established gun control in 1935. From 1948 to 1952, 20 million political dissidents, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated. Guatemala established gun control in 1964. From 1964 to 1981, 100,000 Mayan Indians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated. Uganda established gun control in 1970. From 1971 to 1979, 300,000 Christians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated. Cambodia established gun control in 1956. From 1975 to 1977, one million educated people, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated. Let’s see how many defenseless people were exterminated in the 20th Century because of gun control: Country Year(s) People Exterminated USSR 1929-1953 20,000,000 Turkey 1915-1917 1,500,000 Germany 1939-1945 13,000,000 China 1948-1952 20,000,000 Guatemala 1964-1981 100,000 Uganda 1971-1979 300,000 Cambodia 1975-1977 1,000,000

      piet.swart.946 - 2012-12-19 18:03

      Roux. Lots of impressive stats. But nothing to justify ordinary citizens having open access to assault weapons that belongs in a military environment. Nothing wrong with owning a hunting rifle or a pistol for self protection. But for goodness sakes how can you justify the American situation where disturbed individuals can get fairly easily get access to weapons like an M16? So despite all your facts, you miss the point by a mile. The US needs to seriously revamp its gun laws. Only certain types of guns belong in civilian hands. And those civilians should not include lunatics. This is a situation that should be nuanced - it is not an all or nothing thing like the NRA likes to frame it.

  • leon.roux.58 - 2012-12-19 17:10

    Total: 56 million. Governments around the World need a history lesson. It has now been 12 months since gun owners in Australia were forced by new law to surrender 640,381 personal firearms to be destroyed by their own government, a program costing Australian taxpayers more than $500 million dollars. The first year results are now in: 1) Australia-wide, homicides are up 3.2 percent. 2) Australia-wide, assaults are up 8.6 percent. 3) Australia-wide, armed robberies are up 44 percent (yes, 44 percent!) 4) In the state of Victoria alone, homicides with firearms are now up 300 percent. Note, that while the law-abiding citizens turned them in, the criminals did not, and criminals still possess their guns! While figures over the previous 25 years showed a steady decrease in armed robbery with firearms, this has changed drastically upward in the past 12 months, since criminals now are guaranteed that their prey is unarmed. There has also been a dramatic increase in break-ins and assaults of the ELDERLY. Australian politicians are at a loss to explain how public safety has decreased, after such monumental effort and expense was expended in successfully ridding Australian society of guns.

  • leon.roux.58 - 2012-12-19 17:10

    The Australian experience and the other historical facts above prove it. You won’t see this data on the US evening news, or hear politicians disseminating this information. Guns in the hands of honest citizens save lives and property and, yes, gun-control laws adversely affect only the law-abiding citizens. Take note! The next time someone talks in favor of gun control, please remind them of this history lesson. With guns, we are ‘citizens.’ Without them, we are ’subjects.’

  • leon.roux.58 - 2012-12-19 17:18

    It is a common fantasy that gun bans make society safer. In 2002 -- five years after enacting its gun ban -- the Australian Bureau of Criminology acknowledged there is no correlation between gun control and the use of firearms in violent crime. In fact, the percent of murders committed with a firearm was the highest it had ever been in 2006 (16.3 percent), says the D.C. Examiner. Even Australia's Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research acknowledges that the gun ban had no significant impact on the amount of gun-involved crime: In 2006, assault rose 49.2 percent and robbery 6.2 percent. Sexual assault -- Australia's equivalent term for rape -- increased 29.9 percent. Overall, Australia's violent crime rate rose 42.2 percent. Moreover, Australia and the United States -- where no gun-ban exists -- both experienced similar decreases in murder rates: Between 1995 and 2007, Australia saw a 31.9 percent decrease; without a gun ban, America's rate dropped 31.7 percent. During the same time period, all other violent crime indices increased in Australia: assault rose 49.2 percent and robbery 6.2 percent. Sexual assault -- Australia's equivalent term for rape -- increased 29.9 percent. Overall, Australia's violent crime rate rose 42.2 percent. At the same time, U.S.violent crime decreased 31.8 percent: rape dropped 19.2 percent; robbery decreased 33.2 percent; aggravated assault dropped 32.2 percent.Australian women are now raped over three times as often as American women.

  • leon.roux.58 - 2012-12-19 17:19

    While this doesn't prove that more guns would impact crime rates, it does prove that gun control is a flawed policy. Furthermore, this highlights the most important point: gun banners promote failed policy regardless of the consequences to the people who must live with them, says the Examiner. Source: Howard Nemerov, "Australia experiencing more violent crime despite gun ban," D.C. Examiner, April 8, 2009: http://www.ncpa.org/sub/dpd/index.php?Article_ID=17847 The odd thing about gun control is that a culture of censorship often increases after anti-gun laws fail to deliver. So, it would be hard for an Australian writer to submit a piece on Switzerland’s pro-gun ownership culture and low gun crime rate because our media isn’t “ready” to accept opposing views. Only a “thought control” culture can sustain a “gun control” culture. At times like these, it’s easy to fall prey to post-massacre opportunists. Still, reason and not emotion is our best guide. The facts (to quote the Sporting Shooters’ Association of Australia) are as follows: Between July 1 1997 and 30 June 1999 nine in ten offenders of firearm-related homicide were unlicensed firearm owners. Raw data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) reveals that while suicide by firearms is continuing to decrease from a high in the 1980s, suicide by hanging steadily increased throughout the 1990s and increased for three consecutive years after the 1996 buy-back.

  • leon.roux.58 - 2012-12-19 17:20

    In the year 2002/2003, over 85% of firearms used to commit murder were unregistered. Recent legislation introduced by all states further strengthened controls on access to legitimate handguns by sporting shooters. The AIC’s ‘Homicide in Australia: 2006-07 National Homicide Monitoring Program annual report’ stated that 93 per cent of firearms involved in homicides had never been registered and were used by unlicensed individuals. Gun control is a myth, or rather a mountain of myths sustained by campaigning elites in secure buildings with armed bodyguards. America, don’t repeat Australia’s gun control mistake: http://dailycaller.com/2011/01/19/america-dont-repeat-australias-gun-control-mistake/#ixzz2FBztmIkq ****************************** Gun Control in Australia - Watch and Weep http://youtu.be/fGaDAThOHhA By a friend from Oz

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