UK & World News
Obama Commissions Panel To Curb Gun Violence
Barack Obama has commissioned a new panel tasked with developing proposals to curb gun violence, saying the country has a "deep obligation" to prevent events similar to Friday's massacre in Connecticut.
"If there is even one thing we can do to prevent any of these events, we have a deep obligation - all of us - to try," Mr Obama said.
Vice President Joe Biden - a longtime gun control advocate - will head up the panel, from which Mr Obama expects "concrete proposals" no later than January.
"This is not some Washington commission," he said. "This is not something where folks are going to be studying the issue for six months and publishing a report that gets read then pushed aside.
"This is a team that has a very specific task to put together real reforms right now."
Mr Obama said he plans to push through the proposed reforms as soon as the panel completes its work.
"I will use all the powers of this office to help prevent tragedies like this," the president said at the White House on Wednesday, less than a week after 20-year-old Adam Lanza went on a killing spree inside Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut.
Twenty children and six adults were killed by Lanza, who earlier shot dead his mother Nancy at the home they shared, and then killed himself at the school as police closed in.
Police say Lanza had hundreds of rounds of ammunition at his disposal as he conducted his shooting rampage with an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle.
The new panel will explore possible new gun legislation to rein in the sale of assault rifles and high-capacity magazines, but will also look at mental health policies and violence in popular culture.
The massacre has re-ignited the debate over gun control in the US, with some calling for a clampdown on firearms.
During a Google Hangout debate moderated by Sky News' Greg Milam on Wednesday, participants from across America voiced their disparate views on the future of gun control.
Connecticut resident Cheryl Rice said a reinstatement of the ban on assault weapons that expired in 2004 should not be considered a violation of the Second Amendment that gives Americans the right to bear arms.
Dave Powell of West Virginia agreed, saying that hunting rifles and the like should suffice for self protection.
Mr Powell called the American infatuation with handguns and automatic weapons "a national insanity".
But Rosa Linda Roman, a New Mexico mother and gun owner, rejected the idea of being told what kind of gun she could use to protect her family.
"I feel and I've learned, living up here, that it's not just my right to defend my family but it's actually my responsibility", she said.
Mr Obama said this week he is backing a new bill to reintroduce the expired assault weapon ban.
White House spokesman Jay Carney said the president is "actively supportive" of an attempt by California Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein to write the bill early next year.
Meanwhile, the other Democratic senator from California, Barbara Boxer, introduced new legislation on Wednesday that would allow state's to seek reimbursement from the federal government if they choose to use National Guard troops to watch over schools.
"This legislation will help state and local officials protect our children by utilising all of the law enforcement tools at our disposal," Sen Boxer said in a statement.
Mr Obama has also telephoned pro-gun Senator Joe Manchin, who has shifted his position on firearms laws since Friday's carnage in Connecticut.
Mr Manchin, along with fellow democrat Mark Warner, who have so-called "A" ratings from the National Rifle Association, said the Newtown massacre has convinced them the time for reform has come.
The NRA broke its silence over the Sandy Hook school massacre on Tuesday, saying its members were "shocked, saddened and heartbroken by the news of the horrific and senseless murders".
The group pledged "to help to make sure this never happens again" and has scheduled a news conference for Friday.
On Monday, 75 activists demonstrated outside the NRA's headquarters in Washington DC.
"More than anyone else, the NRA is responsible for the more than 12,000 people murdered by guns every year in this country," said Josh Nelson, the campaign manager for the progressive Credo Action group that organised the protest.
"We call on the NRA's lobbyists to stand down and allow Congress to pass common-sense gun laws."
what do you think?
This comment has been removed for violations of our Terms and Conditions.
they should seize back all registered guns and if anyone else illegally caught with a gun to be jailed ! Assaults rifles for crying out loud . what do ordinary people need with assault rifles. Unbelievable !
How do not rember wacco ? You would never be able to do it
Mark what point are you trying to make about the Waco incident? You keep referring to it, but i'm not sure what you mean.
This comment has been removed for violations of our Terms and Conditions.
Nobody needs to own a machine gun, other than the police or army. Not even people who enjoy hunting.
Thay should also lock up all nut jobs not send them to normal schools.better still a paded cell.
Cruel and ignorant remarks Mark! Pretty ironic too!
Louisa so is it right for this type of kid to be in a normal school when in the uk thay have there own school?
Mark, these kids are now being integrated into UK schools more and more. Keeping up with your habit of mixing both ignorant and nasty comments..
Kids like adam lanza tricky one.
In a world where we are able to see into the future, where we can see who is about to commit horrific violent acts, then yes, maybe they should be locked up. Otherwise no, your suggestion is an absolutely ridiculous statement to make. Are you suggesting everyone with autism/aspersers/bad migraines/pre menstrual/bi-polar/anxious should be locked up? Just incase they are the 1 in a million who might flip? Which part of the autism spectrum do you suggest should warrant such treatment? Do you really not understand that there are millions and millions of kids like Adam who will never commit such acts? And your suggestion to lock them all up is without doubt the most stupid thing anyone could do. Seriously Mark.. Like i said. You make ignorant and nasty comments.
Do we know wot the kid had.could the mother of brainwashed the kid into a killing machine.you might like to read some of wot church groups say before you have a go
All of the shootings sadley have one thing in common that is mental health.someone who is not well should not be near guns
Mark i have to agree with Tricky on this one. Your remarks are coming across as pretty ignorant. You presume to know that this lad's mum turned him into a "killing machine". Tricky is right about our schools system. Integration into mainstream education is very appropriate for many kids with disabilities. Please stop using expressions such as "nut job", "mental home" and "normal" as you will be offending any people
Louisa sorry just used to saying it how it is .it is the texas way stright talking is wot thay call it
Mark, seeing as you have all the answers... My step-son is showing signs of autism at an early age but doing really well in a 'normal' school as you put it... His confidence and self esteem has massively improved and although he may never be 'normal' we view that as one of his quirks and love him all the more for it... Should we just take all this and any chance he might have to function amongst 'normal' people, let him know that people like you view him as a danger and have him grow up with a complex?
Nancy, for personal reasons i feel yours is a beautiful comment. Please ignore everyone here and continue to love and nurture your child and his unique abilities :)
Mark, I see you also employ that other American trait of not knowing when to admit you're wrong. Out of interest if (god forbid) you have kids and one of them was diagnosed with aspergers or autism, would you want them locked in a padded cell for being a 'nut job' too?
Slack nancy you do not have guns in the house do you.Do WE EVEN NO WOT WAS A MATTER WITH THIS KID AS POLICE HAVE NOT SAID YET .SCHOOL MED REPORTS SAID HE WAS HEARING VOICES TRLLING HIM TO KILL Nancy lanza was going to have him locked up. and that was the trigger.
Ah i see so the brainwashing mothers are to blame... Sorry of course!
Wise man say: Never argue with a fool
El bubiso i have seven girls mate oldest go to virginia tech youngest all girls cathlic school.the onley problem in my family comes from my stepsister and that is to do with the fact her mom shot herself infront of them leaveing me to look after them
Standard reply Mark do you read the replies to your comments? Or just get confused and describe another of your 'alleged' previous atrocities? Feel free to ignore this comment and reply with something irrelevant
Mark, one minute your saying the mother may have brainwashed him then your saying she was going to have him locked up! So what, she brainwashed him just to get him locked up?
Slack Nancy ( love that name by the way!) Very well said and your son's condition is so misunderstood. Keep loving him and ignore Mark's nonsense.
Mark, is that "the" Virginia Tech, where a previous atrocity occured? Is that really where your kids are schooled? Of all the colleges in the states! Do you have a nephew at Columbine High too? I'm beginning to smell a lot of stories here Mark.
Mark, in the case of my step-son we don't know what "this kid has" yet, my point to your cruel and openly offensive comment implies he too should not be sent to a 'normal' school... And locked in a padded cell. And no, we don't own any guns but neither did the guy who attacked 22 children in China. Care to comment any further..?
Tricky and Louisa, thank you for your kind words :)
Louisa yes same one dads paying plus he lives and works in the area.never happen in same place twice.Aney way i Have never said aneything on autisim all i said was nut jobs now were you get autisim from that
You yourself have admitted you don't know what was wrong with him... Maybe he was just a 'nutjob' or maybe he was schizophrenic, maybe he was autistic, had aspergers or any other number of 'issues' that in your mind should keep him and anyone else locked up. As you seem to be incapable of backing up your posts without entering the realms of fantasy, and I'm farely sure you didn't mean offense, I will help you out by saying please think about what you say on here, I know we're all faceless and in some cases hiding behind pseudonyms, but the gross ignorance you show just exacerbates what some people face every day.
Wow, Mark. It's difficult to know where to begin with your drivel, but I'll have a go. You say you've never mentioned autism, but you're making your ignorant comments in reply to an article about a young man with Aspergers, a form of autism. It doesn't take a genius to realise what you're implying. Next, you say that his mother could have brainwashed him. For what possible reason would she want to brainwash him to go and shoot up a school full of kids? Also, she didn't do a very good job if the first thing he did was to shoot her. What's next? Aliens were controlling him? You also fail to answer the question I put to you. I didn't ask how many children you have or if anyone in your family has committed suicide, I asked if any of your kids was diagnosed with Aspergers or autism, would you want them labelled a 'nut job' and locked up in a padded cell? Next, you claim to have seen medical records which show his mother was planning to have him locked up. However, after looking online, the closest to that I could find was a report saying his neighbours had heard her say she was going to send him for medical evaluation, and this was from a trashy news site. Hardly the same thing. You cite the fact that mental health is a consistent factor in mass shootings (although many of the shooters involved had no history of mental health issues). Well here's some other interesting facts for you - 1. Of the 62 mass shootings in the USA since 1982, at least 49 of the shooters used legally owned weapons. 2. 15 of the worst 25 shootings of the last 50 years took place in the USA (and one more in Afghanistan by Robert Bales, a US soldier). The next closest are the UK and Finland with 2 (And we did something to stop it afterwards) 3. As the number of legally owned guns in the USA has risen, so have the number of mass shootings, whereas conversely, 4. States with stricter gun laws have fewer deaths from gun violence.
As for your statement that some guns cost $20,000, well sorry but if someone spends that much on one gun, they're obviously rich enough to not be too bothered when it's confiscated. Or perhaps make the NRA and other groups who advocate owning assault rifles and the like pitch in to reimburse people. Oh, and you say that straight talking is the Texas way. I think we in the UK call it something else. It rhymes with walking fit.
El Bubsio. thank you- i didn't have the energy to reply to MH in the detail i wanted to! Well said!
I don't care how unpopular my comments the problem is not guns it's the media. Can you name the victims? Well maybe you can but everyone knows Adam Lanza . . He sells plenty of papers doesn't he? Now everyone is screaming ban ban ban. . Well sorry folks it won't happen due to the second amendment. I would support restrictions on assault rifles but America is vast and if I had a farm out in the sticks and didn't see a police officer in a year I would definitely own a gun!! Common sense! Personally I wish our own police were armed instead of having one hand tied behind their backs. You are still a million times more likely to die in a road pile up than die of a gunshot wound. Look at what's happened in Australia since the gun ban . . Crime up robberies up break ins up . .another huge country. This is because many criminals don't fancy a one way
As someone who lived in texas you are right.A ban will not work as you could not ever collect 1milion plus guns.thay need to inprove mental health care and stop put ing nut jobs in normal schools
Mark you should not refer to people with mental health problems as "nut jobs". It's so ignorant and offensive - attitudes towards mental ill health are still primitive and many people hide their illnesses through shame and stigmatisation. Calling people "nut jobs" is so wrong!
Louisa in the uk you have schools for sick or disabled kids.in the states thay put them in normal school are thay not better in a proper safe school or mental home for the real bad ones
Re: the Australia part of your post Tim - I'd like to see sources for your figures please as all the info I found says only some crimes in Australia are up, and most of those don't really involve guns. This from a paper by the Australian Institute of criminology - Homicides - 354(96) - 260(12) Robberies - 16,372(96) - 14,582(12) Assault - 114,156(96) - 171,083(12) Sexual Assault - 14,542(96) - 17,757(12) Please note that the assault numbers don't include assault with guns which under Australian law are classed as aggravated assault. It should also be noted that the population in Australia has risen by about 4 million (about 22%) between 1996 and 2012, making the drops listed above even more dramatic. Also, considering the story you're posting about, it should also be noted that in the 16 years prior to 1996, Australia had 13 massacre style shootings, whilst the USA had 16. Pretty bad, I'm sure you'll agree. But, since the ban in 96, the USA has had a further 41 mass shootings and Australia has had none (ignoring the Monash University shooting which by Australian standards did not qualify as such). Finally considering the abandon the police here seem to use pepper spray and tasers with, I for one am VERY glad they're not armed.
Mark the words you use are quite offensive. Actually many, many children with learning disabilities attend mainstream schools in this country. A secondary school near me has an excellent autism/asperger's unit where kids can be educated within the school with specialised help available where necessary
Ban calibres over .22. That's as good a starting place as any. Banning ALL guns in a place like the U.S just isn't possible and will never happen.
Probley best you can hope for is 1994 assult rifile ban.as for baning large cal guns unlikley as there is not the man power.or the will to take guns in as it will cost inexcess of 30milion dollers just for assult rifiles.you also need to rember wot happend at wacco
And how will people defend themselves against predators of both animal and human varieties? How will you explain to a woman who got raped and is dying of aids that taking her .357 away from her which she could have used to defend herself and stop the rapist dead was a good idea?
probably realistic as a starting place Lorgar, just to get the foot in the door. It's going to be a long term thing
Wot happens if you run into a brown bear a .22 will not stop it
Most small towns have onley about six cops .if there is a robery thay hsve to call state truppers.plus if john doe did not hand is guns over and you kicked his door in he will sue you
Sage, I imagine a 22 calibre bullet to the leg would be quite effective at stopping a rapist's 'advances'. Mark, and what if a train came through the Wall? Not many people run into bears in the local supermarket, even in the good ol' USA.
He won't even feel a .22 bullet. He won't feel a .40 calibre if he's high on PCP - which most ra-pists etc are.
Sage, trying to sell your point by coming up with convoluted and unlikely worst case scenarios isn't really helping. Besides, I can do that too. What if the attacker is wearing body armour? Or is in a gang? What if the woman accidentally shoots someone when they approach her to ask directions? What if she gets the gun taken off her and that person then goes and shoots half a dozen other people? What if her attacker is an 8ft cyborg that's escaped from a government lab? From what you're saying, unless every person in America carries a howitzer in their pocket, no one is safe. Unless you live in one of the death wish films, pcp addled super r@pists are not that common.
Wot you need to rember is some guns cost over $20,000 dollers each.would you give it a way for free
They should ban all guns in USA