Obama unveils biggest gun-control push

2013-01-16 19:18

Washington - President Barack Obama proposed a new assault weapons ban and mandatory background checks for all gun buyers on Wednesday in a bid to channel national outrage over the Newtown school massacre into the biggest US gun-control push in generations.

Rolling out a wide-ranging plan for executive and legislative action to curb gun violence, Obama set up a fierce clash with the powerful US gun lobby and its supporters in Congress, who are expected to resist what they see as an encroachment on constitutionally protected gun rights.

Obama presented his agenda at a White House event in front of an audience that included children from around the country, a poignant reminder of the 20 first-graders who were killed along with six adults by a lone gunman on 14 December at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

"While reducing gun violence is a complicated challenge, protecting our children from harm shouldn't be a divisive one," Obama said.

Until now, Obama had done little to rein in America's weapons culture during his first four years in office.

But just days before his second inauguration, he appears determined to champion gun control in his next term with a concerted drive for tighter laws and other steps aimed at preventing further tragedies like the one at Newtown.

The proposals stem from a month-long review led by Vice President Joe Biden, who on orders from Obama met with advocates on both sides, including representatives from the weapons and entertainment industries.

Obama's plan calls on Congress for a renewed prohibition on assault weapons sales that expired in 2004, a requirement for criminal background checks on all gun purchases, including closing a loophole for gun show sales, and a new federal gun trafficking law - long sought by big-city mayors to keep out-of-state guns off their streets.

He also announced 23 steps he intends to take immediately without congressional approval. These include improvements in the existing system for background checks, lifting the ban on federal research into gun violence, putting more counsellors and "resource officers" in schools and improved access to mental health services.

Ban on assault weapons

The most politically contentious piece of the package is Obama's call for a renewed ban on military-style assault weapons, a move that Republicans who control the House of Representatives are expected to oppose.

The Newtown gunman, 20-year-old Adam Lanza, used a Bushmaster AR-15 assault rifle to shoot his victims, many of them 6- and 7-year-olds, before killing himself.

Underscoring the tough political fight ahead, the National Rifle Association (NRA), launching a scathing advertising campaign against Obama's gun control effort and deployed its representatives in force on Capitol Hill.

The NRA, which says it has about 4 million members, took aim at Obama in a stinging TV and internet spot, accusing him of being "just another elitist hypocrite" for accepting Secret Service protection for his two daughters but turning down the lobby group's proposal to put armed guards in all schools.

Obama's plan appears to tread cautiously on the question of whether violent movies and video games contribute to the gun violence, which would open up issues of freedom of expression.

A senior administration official said, however, that Obama would be asking for $10m for the federal Centres for Disease Control and Prevention to study the root causes of gun violence, including any relationship to video games and media images.

  • Baasdeets - 2013-01-16 19:39

    If anyone cares to look around and do some research they would be horrified by the influence of medication on the people committing these atrocities. Read for yourself. Ban psychotropic drug and leave the 2nd Amendment alone

  • beverly.young3 - 2013-01-16 19:40

    Well, as much as I agree with his sentiments, that is him out the next time around.

      nicholas.wessels - 2013-01-16 20:19

      You are quite ignorant. American presidents can only serve a maximum of two terms. So either way he is out next time.

      raymond.mcnelly - 2013-01-16 23:23

      Would it surprise you if Obama lobbied to have the 2 term limit removed? I know I would not be surprised.

      dane.herbst.5 - 2013-01-21 16:57

      raymond, fully agree, got a very good feeling he will be planning this behind the scenes, well put it this way, his OWNERS will be planning it

  • sean.bagley.50 - 2013-01-16 19:42

    The 2nd Amendment in the US constitution is for American people to protect themselves.The enormous scale and consistency of mass murder in America is a sign of a decaying society.America therefore needs to look beyond gun control.They need to be much kinder to their fellow human beings which is not always tangible.Tongue-in-cheek by starting to developed less violent computer games,movies,etc and that might push selfish behavior out of its existence. The Aurora Colorado theater killings and the Sandy Hook Elementary school massacre in Newtown Connecticut,was sadly the price Americans pay for having a limitless number of semi-automatic weapons with stockpiles of ammunition to go with it.Gun owners gets support from the National Rifle Association that ensures Americans rights to protect themselves are protected by elected officials in Congress.Obama wants to bring sanity to all that by calling for huge changes to be made in America's gun laws.

      gary.landman - 2013-01-19 22:40

      Again Sean, what has the action of a criminal or an insane person got to do with the ownership of guns or ammo. By your logic we should eliminate all black africans because they have a higher incidence of rape and murder than any other ethnic group. concentrate on the control of the criminal..

      dane.herbst.5 - 2013-01-21 17:02

      gary your comparison is down right racist

  • lybon1 - 2013-01-16 19:46

    Now thats a president with some balls...right there

      raymond.mcnelly - 2013-01-16 23:24

      Wow... Your staggering ignorance...

  • sharmay.thuynsma - 2013-01-16 19:51

    It's a positive move.. American will go down the tubes if they don't start changing some bygone era things. New situations, new solutions. Besides, even if it is your right to protect yourself, why the heck do you need an assault rifle? That's a bit of overkill..

      mofstok - 2013-01-16 20:04

      Somethings, like their constitution, is not bound by time, fashion or what is "in" at the time. I don't think that we as South Africans can point fingers considering we are a society of child and granny rapists, murderers, and thieves.

      sharmay.thuynsma - 2013-01-16 20:31

      How many school shootings have you heard of lately in South Africa??

      mofstok - 2013-01-16 20:43

      Not any at all. But I hear daily of people shot in hijackings, home invasions, farm attacks and robberies. Their murder rate per capita is about 2.1, ours is over 31.0. Not even close. Next.

      mark.barker.370 - 2013-01-16 20:50

      @Sharmay - lots of baby rapes and other violence u f-ing retard

      diran.pillay - 2013-01-16 21:04

      Americans are shot and murdered daily as well. Read a few news papers from the states for a week or so and you will see what I mean.

      mofstok - 2013-01-16 21:14

      Not contesting that fact diran, but we far exceed the amount of violence per capita, and I mean FAR exceed it. There is no comparison, go look up the stats for yourself.

      Sharmay - 2013-01-16 21:20

      Thanks for the potty mouth Mark. Do you feel better now? Baby rapes are not the issue here. Guns are. Unfortunately in SA, guns can be obtained illegally and yes, are used for crimes like hijackings, robberies etc. It's a different story when it is legally obtained without proper checks on the people buying them, hence the psycho that shot all those kids. Columbine, Virginia Tech, Oikos University, Sandy Hook Elementary.. the list goes on. These are mass shootings, not a random robbery or hijacking. Criminologist Philip J. Cook hypothesized that if guns were less available, criminals might commit the same crime, but with less-lethal weapons. He finds that the level of gun ownership in the 50 largest U.S. cities correlates with the rate of robberies committed with guns, but not with overall robbery rates. A significant number of homicides are the consequence of an unintended escalation of another crime in which firearms are present, with no initial intent to kill. Gun-related death rates in the United States are eight times higher than they are in countries that are economically and politically similar to it. If curbing the sale of guns, assault rifles etc make the government feel that they are doing something that can help, let them do it. At least they are being proactive.

      tgenov - 2013-01-16 21:57

      "Gun related deaths" is a statistic which merely indicates that criminals aren't total idiots. Violent crime thrives on the monopoly of force and the threat of using it, naturally a gun is better tool than a knife for the job. As for why one needs a rifle for self-defence - it's a more effective man-stopper than a handgun, it's instinctively more accurate and easier to shoot than a handgun in untrained hands. The only reason people carry pistols is because it's hard to conceal a rifle under a t-shirt.

  • ian.robertreid - 2013-01-16 20:13

    Slow but sure and clandestine ~world rule and control??

  • dtangocci - 2013-01-16 20:14

    I'm a supporter of the 2nd amendment. But seriously, why would an ordinary citizen need a fully automatic assault weapon? And it doesn't take a genius to figure out the importance of a background check.

      mofstok - 2013-01-16 20:21

      They aren't fully automatic: they are semi-automatic. SLR's : Self-Loading Rifles. "Assault Weapon" is a misnomer conjured up by ignorant politicians and stupid journalists.

      gary.wawn - 2013-01-16 20:35

      Fully automatic assault weapons have been banned in America for a long time. The only weapon they can get their hands on at the moment are "Semi-automatic" which means, one trigger, one bullet. Almost every gun sold these days, ranging from the smallest handgun to the biggest rifle are semi-automatic. These "Assault" weapons are actually really hard to class, and currently are just placed there because they look like a military weapon. If you are interested in another opinion about the subject, give the bellow a read. Bans will not prevent deaths, instead leave more people defenceless. People like to quote the UK's and Australia's gun death rate, but fail to mention that it increased since the bans. Australia's gun death rates dropped by 28% since bans? Check out the drop rate before the bans... It was dropping by a larger amount far before the bans. The bans just slowed down the rate at which it is decreasing. Facts can easily be twisted. I fear that more people will die as a result of these bans... Our own country is a sad but accurate example. I know the people lobbying for these bans on this thread are good people. They are thinking what is best in their eyes, and I am glad they speak up for what they believe. I just feel there is a side they aren't seeing, and kindly ask they read the article I posted before they disagree with me.

      JohncarlosBiza - 2013-01-16 21:16

      Gary, most assault rifles are not used for self defense. I've heard only 2% perform that purpose. Perhaps the cost of keeping them (eg shootings) should be evaluated over the frequency of them used for self-defense per year. Also, regarding Australia - if they can keep their country safe without armed citizens, perhaps the same strategy should be considered for the US. I appreciate your post but I do not believe giving semiautomatic rifles to Joe Average is the best gun crime-fighting strategy feasible.

      WarrenStylin - 2013-01-16 21:22

      @Gary - I have a question. In a situation would you rather be holding. A 9mm semi-automatic handgun or a high powered semi-automatic rifle if someone had a gun pointed at you?

      gary.wawn - 2013-01-16 21:39

      @John Thanks for your reply. I agree that there are very few cases of people defending themselves with assault weapons, but then out of the total homicide rate caused by assault rifles compared to other weapons are even lower than that. Check out these FBI Stats: If there was a way to protect everyone without the use of guns, I would definitely go with that. I have no desire to ever use one and hope I never have to, but the reality is the evil in the world arms themselves with it and aim to take away what I love. I will not sacrifice what I love to evil, so I will find a way to protect them as best I can. Now I do agree that the guns are too easily accessible (even with America's good 200+ laws they have in place already for gun ownership) and it should be addressed. But I do feel banning all assault weapons is the wrong move. Only the law abiding people obey laws, so the only people we would be disarming would be the law abiding. It is also against the law to murder in America, yet these people clearly obeyed that law. Why would people need assault weapons though? If you look in cases through out history, governments have turned on their people and people turned on their governments. If this should happen one day (Either way) and you find a group of these militia threatening you and your family, you should have the right means to defend them. @Warren In that situation I would rather have the smaller weapon, but for not for the above.

      gary.wawn - 2013-01-16 21:56

      Also I wanted to add that not only should you worry about conflicts between your government and the people (any side can start it), but also look at the increase in public demonstrations going wrong. Look at South Africa at the moment with the miners getting more violent in their protests. With the economy in the state as it is now and the gap between the rich and the poor increasing, more people are going to grow unhappy and unrest easily increases. At any stage an unhappy mob can get out of hand and cause havoc in the area. You can see if you look around you, people are resorting to violence more and more. Should a mob approach you and your family and try cause them harm, which weapon would you rather have? I would love to think gun bans would cause less violence. I would love to never worry about people causing myself and my loved ones harm, but from what I see I get more anxious for them. From what I see I just don't see good coming from this, but I do hope I am incorrect. I really really do :(

      tgenov - 2013-01-16 22:12

      @garry.wawn Google for "Carbine vs. Shotgun vs. Pistol for home defense" - willingly picking a handgun over a rifle in a gunfight is about the same as entering a boxing match with one hand tied behind your back.

      WarrenStylin - 2013-01-17 10:34

      @Gary - I understand if there is a Militia, but realistically in the USA that is very far from reality at this point in time. It could happen far in the future but not anytime soon. Also, Militia are soldiers and would more than likely have grenades, rocket launchers, automatic rifles etc. So what chance do you stand anyway? How far up the arsenal ladder do you go? In 2012, out of all the murders where the owner had firearms, how many successfully defended themselves, in SA or in USA or anywhere in the world? I think it just gives people a false sense of security. If the person\people attacking you have the intention to kill you or hurt, you more than likely going to be dead or hurt. Criminals rarely work alone, so you will need to be an excellent marksman to kill 4 to 8 criminals with the intent to kill you.

      tgenov - 2013-01-17 13:36

      @WarrenStylin - estimated defensive use of firearms in USA are between 100000 (by the Brady campaign - an organization whose agenda is a gun-free society) and up to 2 million by other sources. Even if the gun-grabber statistic is to be taken as true that's still 15:1 against the murder rate. Still, you can't make decisions for the whole of society based on a numbers game. The difference between you and me isn't the gun - it's mindset. You simply wish to escape a violent encounter with minimal injury to your person (and a gaping wound to your psyche). Maybe - criminals willing. I want to win the fight, even if I didn't start it! The individual choice to not being a victim starts with the conscious decision first, and then comes the change of tools (guns), mindset and training to be enable to you respond to threats effectively.

  • Jack - 2013-01-16 20:16

    The land of the free and the brave? Now comes their time to show what they are really made of. Unlike SA, they've had excellent examples of leadership in the past to leverage of. Quite an exciting tim in history.

  • godwin.symons - 2013-01-16 21:17

    What the retard Obummer is doing is going to provoke the shootings and crime to escalate in the USA. Look what happenned in SA after implimenting the new firearms control act. It gave cart blanche for criminals to use unregistered guns. This country's criminal death rate has never been so high. Crime is now almost out of control. If guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have them. No worry though, I hate the yanks and I say let them slaughter themselves anyway!

  • sean.bagley.50 - 2013-01-16 21:25

    Here's an idea for President Obama if you don't mind me saying:Why not regulate guns in America by introducing insuring guns the same way as people do with cars,etc?Also how about the victims of gun violence and family members of people killed by gun violence to sue gun manufacturers?In America 3000 children are killed by gunfire incidents every year and in Japan it's almost zero. The rest of the civilized world watches the same violent ridden movies and video games as American do,and yet they all have less than a fraction of the gun related murders that America has.And why is that?

      jasonstiles123 - 2013-01-17 14:02

      "In America 3000 children are killed by gunfire incidents every year" It would be nice to know how many of those "children" were gang bangers and classified as children because they're under 18? I think we'd be suprised.

      gary.landman - 2013-01-19 22:56

      Since you are using a blanket incident count now, I will answer your question, and being a person of color I have that right.. There are no blacks or mexicans in Japan. Most children killed in the USA are due to drug addled parents not controlling unregistered weapons in their homes, Gang bangers doing drive by shootings, and home invasions by south amaerican and black gangs. the rest are mentally challenged and drug using liberal kids shooting up schools. Now you know why America has those issues. IT STEMS FROM LIBERAL POLICIES about crime and punishment, immigration and gangs. Please reply in a logical manner..

  • michiel.meyer.56 - 2013-01-16 21:32

    Nowhere is there a single instance worldwide where gun control reduced crime. The opposite is actually true. Increase the availability of guns, and crime drops. The move by Obama is very bad.

  • Joel Lutendo Ndadza - 2013-01-16 21:36


  • Notrax123 - 2013-01-16 21:40

    Obama should "Tread Lightly", there is a handbook for the American people, which indicates that the people will go against the state should the state become "Un-American". This handbook contains above other things the full plans for manufacturing the AR15 Rifle.

      godwin.symons - 2013-01-16 22:13

      I have had a look at the blueprint for the manufacture of the AR15 rifle as well as others. There is a major aspect of the manufacture missing. They do not cover how the rifeling in the barrel is made, that part is still a trade secret. No can do. They can use plenty of other weapons allowed, such as black powder which don't all need rifeling in the barrels

      gary.landman - 2013-01-19 22:58

      Godwin, barrels are freely available here, no restrictions on production, and a lot of local shops in the USA produce their own,

  • Bujomojo PaPas - 2013-01-16 21:41

    OBoma...Ka boom!!!

  • pieter.scheepers1 - 2013-01-16 21:49

    "These include lifting the ban on federal research into gun violence".. Now who would implement such a silly ban ?

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