News Column

Obama Calls for Action on Guns

March 28, 2013

U.S. President Barack Obama on Thursday urged lawmakers to take serious action against gun violence, telling Americans not to forget the tragedy of the mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut just months ago.

"Tears aren't enough, expressions of sympathy aren't enough," Obama said.

Congress is currently considering a bill that would institute background checks on all gun purchases and punish those who buy weapons with the intention of turning them over to criminals.

Obama also reiterated his calls for a ban on assault weapons, which is not included in the main legislation to be considered by Congress.

Harry Reid, leader of the majority Democrats in the Senate, did not include the proposal in the bill because he felt it was unlikely to pass amid opposition from gun-rights advocates. However an assault weapons ban will likely be voted on as an amendment to the main measure.

"There's absolutely no reason why we can't get this done," Obama said. "But the reason we're talking about it here today is because it's not done until it's done. And there are some powerful voices on the other side that are interested in running up a clock of changing the subject or drowning out the majority of the American people to prevent any of these reforms from happening at all."

He called on Americans to remember the shooting in Newtown that left 20 children and six teachers dead just over three months ago, saying the tragedy should be turned into action.

"Shame on us if we've forgotten. I haven't forgotten those kids," he said.

Obama's message coincided with the release of details of the police investigation into the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.

The shooter, Adam Lanza, 20, killed his mother in the home they shared on December 14, then went to the school in Newtown, Connecticut and turned his gun on children and teachers. The police documents show that he took his own life within five minutes of shooting his way into the building, Connecticut state attorney Stephen J Sedensky III said.

Lanza used a single weapon - a Bushmaster .223-caliber rifle - to kill the children and school employees, then used a Glock 10 millimetre handgun to kill himself, the records show. Investigators also found a loaded 12-gauge shotgun in the car he drove to the school and shotgun ammunition.

Other details of the investigation reveal that Lanza had a gun safe in his bedroom and had received a Christmas card from his mother with a check inside for the purchase of a gun, according to a search warrant.

Details of the investigation also said police interviewed a person who said that Lanza rarely left his home and was an avid gamer, who played the computer war game Call of Duty.

A recent poll published by CNN shows public support for major restrictions on guns or making all guns illegal has declined from 52 per cent immediately after the shooting to 43 per cent now. The poll was conducted by CNN/ORC International.

Source: Copyright 2013 dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH

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