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Another mass killing, another debate on US gun control


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Supporters of gun control gather on Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House in Washington, Friday, Dec 14, 2012, during a vigil for the victims of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Ct., and to call on President Obama to pass strong gun control laws. - AP Photo
Supporters of gun control gather on Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House in Washington, Friday, Dec 14, 2012, during a vigil for the victims of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Ct., and to call on President Obama to pass strong gun control laws. - AP Photo

WASHINGTON: The deaths of 20 children in a devastating shooting rampage at an elementary school in Connecticut on Friday once again reignited the debate over US gun laws that until now has yielded little change.

After the latest massacre, at the Sandy Hook Elementary School, President Barack Obama appeared on television with tears in his eyes to make an emotional plea for “meaningful action” in the wake of the latest outrage.

“As a country we have been through this too many times,” Obama said, mentioning earlier shooting massacres, in Colorado, Oregon and Wisconsin.

Earlier, though, White House spokesman Jay Carney declined to discuss the political fallout, telling reporters this was a day “to feel enormous sympathy for families that are affected.”

But congressman Jerrold Nadler, a Democrat, immediately responded: “If now is not the time to have a serious discussion about gun control and the epidemic of gun violence plaguing our society, I don't know when is.”

“Yet another unstable person has gotten access to firearms and committed an unspeakable crime against innocent children. We cannot simply accept this as a routine product of modern American life,” he said. “I am challenging President Obama, the Congress, and the American public to act on our outrage and, finally, do something about this.”

Obama's presidency has been marred by several mass killings since 2009, including a 2011 attack on Democratic congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who survived a point-blank shot to the head, and a rampage at a Colorado movie theater in July that left 12 dead, including the shooter.

After a massacre this summer that killed six people at a Sikh temple, the White House rejected the idea of new gun control legislation.

Obama's position was that the administration would do everything in its power to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and unstable individuals, while protecting Americans' constitutional right to bear arms.

The constitution's Second Amendment is defended tooth and nail by the US gun lobby, which has been successful in blunting past drives to restrict the sale of high powered weapons.

To change the laws, Obama needs Congress to act, and so far the Republican opposition has blocked all reforms of the federal gun laws, including a return of the ban on assault rifles passed under president Bill Clinton but which expired in 2004 under president George W. Bush.

The US media has once again revived the debate, as it did after the killings in Aurora, Colorado this summer and earlier this week after three people were killed in a shooting at an Oregon shopping mall.

“Today is not the day to talk about the politics,” USA Today's Washington bureau chief Susan Page told Politico. “Is this the tipping point? I don't know the answer to that.”

“There has got to be some kind of measurable change, some kind of reaction,” said Alex Wagner, an anchor at MSNBC. “One would hope that there will be some political capital to reform the way in which we handle gun and gun violence in this country.”

But defenders of the Second Amendment are unmoved. Just as after previous killings, they insist that restrictions on the sale of semi-automatic weapons is not the solution.

“There's a good side of guns and you can't forget about either,” said Alan Gottlieb, the head of the Second Amendment Foundation, told AFP.

“There was nobody in that school who was allowed to have a firearm to protect themselves or those children. And I find that to be deplorable”

“I'm sure the person who committed this horrible act knew he could go in and do it because no one else could have a gun. He didn't care about the law because he was going to break it anyway,” he said.

Comments (24) Closed

rana Dec 17, 2012 06:04pm
.... irony is that the mother of the killer was a firearm enthusiast. The gun that Adam Lanza used belonged to his mother! how careless was she that her guns were accessible to her family.
Imran Dec 15, 2012 12:01pm
I suppose this was a "lone gunman". Not a Christian Terrorist.
Saif Dec 17, 2012 04:34am
Hindus in USA are mostly from India. Muslims in USA on the other hand, are from all over the world including hundreds of thousands African Americans, white Americans, and native Americans. So, Mr. 'raw is war' FYI, there are way more Muslims in America than Hindus unless you meant equal number of Hindus in America as Pakistanis. Besides, go do something better than speculating if it is a showoff.
abbastoronto Dec 15, 2012 11:43am
I do not own a gun. And 4 months ago I was held up at gunpoint in America a few months ago at night at a gas station. Yet I do not think banning guns is the answer to violence. Private guns may be the ultimate equalizer, giving the weak some sort of parity with the strong. I am comfortable with guns, having had military training and target practice. The fundamental problem with public violence is the underlying injustice in the society. People have tried many ways to resolve this problem. Socialism was one, but that has been discredited. Then one can become a police state as here in Canada or in India, with individual freedom greatly curtailed. But the best solution is to start the moral/ethical training from the very beginning as in most of East Asia. In the past religions did the job. What is their equivalent today? Violence at US universities and schools is becoming endemic. My son will enter university next year, and his mother wishes him to go to Columbia U. I am resisting, leaning on sending him to Singapore or Russia (his mother tongue). Moreover, you get better bang for your buck there anyway.
yahah Dec 17, 2012 05:41am
Chances are those drone children would grow up to become vest bomber. May be God did not want to see that.
arifa Dec 15, 2012 03:21pm
AHA Dec 16, 2012 11:27am
I think you are drawing too much from a snapshot showing 10 and a half people.
ImmI Dec 15, 2012 10:24am
My condolences and grievances are with the families of innocent children killed in this mass shooting.As a human it was my first reaction but the next moment the images of the innocent Palestinian children passed before my eyes.Their blood bathed and torn ruined bodies,the misery and helplessness in the eyes of their parents shocked my body as well.Then being of human creed a question arose in my mind that the organisms of the same specie are not treated and mourned equally. And unless and until we are lacking this equality we cannot bring order in our world dominated by the humans.
raw is war Dec 15, 2012 10:44am
Why so many Muslims are participating in this demonstration? Is it for a show off? Do you find Hindus doing likewise in USA? (There are equal number of Hindus in USA fyi. ) This is known as guilty syndrome.
Rehan Dec 15, 2012 07:38am
AHA Dec 15, 2012 11:51am
This is a really sad tragedy. I sympathize with the families and friends died in such a meaningless, specially the young innocent ones,
mfbfanboy Dec 15, 2012 06:48pm
There were no tears when innocent children got killed from drone attacts and the mistake bombings on schools..
Arousha Iqbal Dec 17, 2012 03:09pm
So, what's Obama's stance on the killing of children in Gaza?
Syed Ahmed Dec 15, 2012 06:42pm
.After the latest massacre, at the Sandy Hook Elementary School, President Barack Obama appeared on television with tears in his eyes to make an emotional plea for
afrem Dec 16, 2012 11:59pm
Did he shout "Jesus is Great" before killing the innocent children?....Unlike terrorists who kill in the name of religion. Please do not create a diversion from the discussion at hand.
Muhammad Dec 17, 2012 08:07am
Guns need to be outlawed, no matter what else we do.
asif Dec 18, 2012 04:29am
I would like to say we ought to stop taging muslims as terriorists or whoever defend their countries called terriorists, What this terriorism be called?
thoughtpurification Dec 18, 2012 03:22am
You need discriminatory judgement.You are comparing apple and oranges.
thoughtpurification Dec 18, 2012 03:24am
He does not. Dec 18, 2012 03:36am
What makes you think Russia has any less crime rate than US.
rana Dec 17, 2012 05:53pm
yayah......what goes around comes back to you!
hasan haider Dec 17, 2012 04:43pm
This is the killing of whole humankind as the one killed will always be remembered, but the point is how to eradicate the cause from the fabric of existence????
G.A. Dec 15, 2012 11:15pm
"Guns don't kill people. People kill people. And people with guns kill even more people" - wonderful comment I read somewhere.
Vittal Pyati Dec 16, 2012 04:46pm
Muslims are not the sole source of terrorists and suicide bombers. We have our own version like Adam Lanza and his kind. Had he been a Muslim, Pres. Obama would have been blamed just as in the case of attack on our consulate in Benghazi. Now is the time to rein in the NRA. The gun culture must be condemned by one and all.