Newtown shootings: Obama seeks 'complex' gun reform

People placing an angel on top of a Christmas tree at a makeshift memorial in Newtown, Connecticut, 18 December

US President Barack Obama has met senior officials to discuss how to respond to Friday's school shootings in Newtown, Connecticut, in which 20 children and six adults died.

The White House said curbing gun violence was a "complex" problem that required a comprehensive solution.

On Sunday Mr Obama told Newtown residents he would do everything in his power to prevent further tragedies.

The first two funerals of victims of the shooting were held on Monday.

Novelist Lionel Shriver discusses the place of the gun in US society

Sandy Hook school pupils Noah Pozner and Jack Pinto, both aged six, were buried, and other victims' funerals will be held throughout the week.

The town has been removing Christmas decorations in mourning.

The Sandy Hook gunman was named as Adam Lanza, who took his own life at the end of a killing spree that began with him shooting dead his own mother.

'Action needed'

On Monday Mr Obama met Vice President Joe Biden, Education Secretary Arne Duncan, Attorney General Eric Holder, and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to discuss proposals aimed at reducing gun violence.

Mr Biden will be put in charge of the initiative, the Washington Post said quoting unnamed sources close to the government.

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I have covered stories for 15 years in the field, some of the biggest, and have never seen anything like this, nor felt so uncomfortable about being part of it”

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Earlier, White House spokesman Jay Carney said tighter gun control laws were part of the answer to violence in the US.

"It's a complex problem that will require a complex solution," Mr Carney said. "No single piece of legislation, no single action will fully address the problem."

He added that the president supported reinstating an assault weapons ban that expired in 2004.

Correspondents say Democrats have been reluctant to pursue gun control legislation, but that there are signs that fear could be abating, with two pro-gun senators calling for changes.

Mark Warner and Joe Manchin, who have "A" ratings from the National Rifle Association (NRA), now say action is needed after the massacre.

West Virginia Senator Mr Manchin told US network MSNBC on Monday that it was time to "move beyond rhetoric".

Murder by firearms in 2011

Map of worst 10 states for firearms murder in 2011, by rate. DC 12.5, LOUISIANA 8.8, SOUTH CAROLINA 4.8, MARYLAND 4.7, MISSISSIPPI 4.6, MISSOURI 4.6, MICHIGAN 4.6, TENNESSEE 3.8, GEORGIA 3.8, ARKANSAS 3.7. For comparison: CONNECTICUT 2.6, USA 2.8

Rate per 100,000 people

Source: FBI Uniform Crime Reports

Mr Manchin, a gun owner and frequent hunter, said: "I don't know anyone in the sporting or hunting arena that goes out with an assault rifle."

Virginia Senator Mark Warner said that the "status quo isn't acceptable" and called for "rational gun control".

Mr Warner said he had been approached repeatedly over the weekend as people began to seek answers and solutions.

California Senator Dianne Feinstein, a long-time advocate for gun regulations, said on Sunday she would introduce assault weapons ban legislation in the beginning of the next congressional session.

On Sunday President Barack Obama told residents at a vigil in Newtown the US must do more to protect its children.

"We can't tolerate this any more," Mr Obama said. "These tragedies must end and to end them we must change."

Map showing Sandy Hook school and the location of the Lanza family home

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US gun debate


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  • rate this

    Comment number 582.

    @552 - so you believe the price of other people's lives, including that of children is a worthy price for the (perceived) security of your own? That is what you are saying isn't it?

  • rate this

    Comment number 581.

    I'd imagine that 99.9% of all licensed firearm holders in the US have never once discharged their weapons in anger or have had to draw their guns in the face of immediate danger. Its insanity to have such a carte blanche attitude towards gun ownership, if people own guns without any justifiable reason then a minority will always have the potential to use them to devastating affect.

  • rate this

    Comment number 580.

    The assault weapons ban was in place during Columbine. Reinstating it will make little difference. Action must go further than that, much further. Will this happen? I'll believe it when I see it. Until then little will change. For the past 4 days the NRA has been calling up every lobbyist they can get their hands on. They'll do whatever it takes to get this issue hushed up before the new year.

  • rate this

    Comment number 579.

    continuation of 549

    ...There's no way of keeping people of questionable character away from guns without some sort of gun control! Nothing could have probably prevented this rampage from occurring given the status quo, even though he was suppossedly brought up to be responsible with the gun by his mother, but if he didn't have access to them, maybe this wouldn't have happened, at least not as bad

  • rate this

    Comment number 578.


    Think your dangerously close to the mark. It just will be in 'those' neighbourhoods (Black/Latino) and not effect all the gun-ho white NRA members so muhc

  • rate this

    Comment number 577.

    Pink Guns! If all legally owned firearms in the USA had to be painted pink I belive gun crime would be massively reduced. Guns would not be "cool", they would not be macho and pink has been shown to reduce aggression. Apparantly two thirds of firearms used in mass shootings have been legally owned, painting them pink would also help distinguish between legal and illegal firearms.

  • rate this

    Comment number 576.

    So when a burglar gets into your home when you are asleep and shoots your daughter in her bed with a gun he legally obtained, that's fine.
    But at least you'll be able to shoot him afterwards.ok.
    In the uk, when someone breaks into my house to steal my tv, he will not have a gun, because they are very hard to come by.

    I may lose an appliance but my family will still be ok.

  • rate this

    Comment number 575.

    Again - gun control alone won't solve this. People will still want to go out and buy guns. Obama needs to focus on WHY they want guns, WHY America has a gun culture and WHY gun crime is so high despite similar abundance of firearms in other countries such as Canada which has essentially no gun crime. There's clearly a much wider problem in America than easy access to guns - they need pragmatism.

  • rate this

    Comment number 574.

    It is all about paranoia. This whackjob is like many I have met from the US (and other places-but mainly the US) paranoid as you like, running scared from an imaginary threat, delusional, and armed. These and their pro guns for everyone playground chums are very weak and scared, we should help them- but it is best to disarm an unhinged person before talking them down.

  • rate this

    Comment number 573.

    This is all just terribly tragic

    There are USA gun laws like this article talks about+then there is the mental health issue

    We keep asking why, of course knowing no answer justifies anything

    But if Adam Lanza had mental issues why did his mother take him to shooting range all the time?

    If Adam Lanza was a straight A student why did his mother take him out of school+home school him?

  • rate this

    Comment number 572.

    Asking Americans to give up guns.............not a snowball's chance in hell, they love their armour.

  • rate this

    Comment number 571.

    The whole argument that guns are used to defend their homes is flawed anyway, its basically saying that you have the right to take a persons life for trying to steal a couple of ur belongings.

    In most states u dont even have the death sentance for someone who comitts murder so what should give u the right to kill someone just for entering your home??

  • rate this

    Comment number 570.


    Switzerland and Germany both have higher rates of gun related deaths than the UK, I don't know where you get your stats from.

  • rate this

    Comment number 569.

    You know what? Everyone who says that removing guns from society won't stop people killing other people - you're right. Absolutely spot on.

    Thing is, it WILL stop it being so EASY.

    That's the tragedy here. A gun allows you to go on a spree and kill twenty children. Bit trickier to do that with a knife or something like that.

    Guns enable killers to be killers. Why do you think that's OK?

  • rate this

    Comment number 568.

    You can't ban guns when there are 300 million of them already in circulation. Handguns have been banned in the UK since 1996 but even smackheads whose brains are running on three cylinders seem to have no problem getting them. Any psychopath with very basic machining skills could make an AK47 using plans that are readily available on the internet.
    Pandora's box cannot be closed.

  • Comment number 567.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 566.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 565.

    I agree that the USA needs strict gun control but to really think that incidents like this latest one will be less common if we had strict gun control is naive. It's estimated that there are as many as 300 million guns already out there. Good luck getting them back.

  • rate this

    Comment number 564.

    @531 Darebeet.
    I agree the nutcase response comparing cars to guns is annoying.
    Its not difficult, what is the purpose of a car..... to transport people from a-b.
    What is the purpose of a gun.... To kill
    Its a world of difference between accidental and intentional.
    The same argument applies to the loon that thinks hammers are a comparison to guns.

  • rate this

    Comment number 563.

    As an ex military man, only military, police and federal personnel require the justification and requirement to own the kind of weapons that freely circulate around the nation. The old adage that `guns don`t people, people do` is just as outdated as the Constitutional militia related article that allows citizens to `bare arms` in the first place. You can`t commit such acts with a spoon can you!


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