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.

Start Quote

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”

End Quote

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

More on This Story

US gun debate


This entry is now closed for comments

Jump to comments pagination
  • rate this

    Comment number 562.

    Re # 503.Stephen Page

    Yet another hundred workers in Bangladesh died in a factory fire.

    [that easily preventable tragedy being merely last of many similar].

    Yet I don't recall a debate/blog on the subject.

    Just like on dozens of deadly accidents in Chinese coal mines.

    Or people expressing outrage about it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 561.

    I am from the U.S. and do not own a gun. However, there are legitimate reasons to do so with the exceptions of assault weapons. Banning guns altogether has often been discussed here and dismissed quickly. That certainly is not the answer. Realize that the killings that we witness are not the result of legally owned guns but those which are illegally owned or stolen from legitimate owners.

  • rate this

    Comment number 560.

    (1) Civilians should only be allowed hand guns and manual rifles for farmers and hunters.
    (2) Guns should only be sold in licensed gun shops, not at stores like k-mart etc or given away at banks or when buying a car etc. There should be far less gun shops.
    (3) Gun and shooting advertising should only be accessible to people over 18.
    (4) Guns must be kept in locked boxes with the keys hidden.

  • rate this

    Comment number 559.

    Its more fundamental than this. The Swiss have greater gun ownership than the US but their citizens tend not to go on the rampage as they do in the USA. In Switzerland, every man has had militia training and keeps their weapon at home. Its not about gun ownership, its about the problems within the society of the USA. Legislation won't solve the underlying sickness.

  • rate this

    Comment number 558.

    'Loners should be closely monitered'

    You mean like put an electronic survellance device under the skin of anyone who is shy, quiet and prefers their own company? None of these means you're a nutjob in waiting!

    Who would dare to be different eh?

  • rate this

    Comment number 557.

    Its disgusting how countries lie and manipulate. This was engineered as the world govt doesnt want poeple to be armed.

    Just look at the UK gun laws. Law abiding citizens who shoot at clubs, are penalised. And you can go into any UK city and buy weapons and ammunition.
    So you really dont keep them out of the bad guys hands. EVER

  • rate this

    Comment number 556.

    Between 2005 and 2010, 1.4 Million firearms were stolen during burglaries and other property crimes. 1.4 million, is enough to give every man, woman and child a gun in Estonia and still have nearly 80,000 left over for spares!

    Clearly there is another problem if the owners can not secure thier firearms properly.

  • rate this

    Comment number 555.

    517. D; Well, there was a school shooting here, the same, with a handgun. The Brittish Governments banned handgun ownership in the UK. Guess how many school shootings there have been since? Don't you think there is some colleration between these facts? You ban gun ownership and people can't shoot each other with them, it is NOT a complex issue, it is as simple as that. Ban them.

  • rate this

    Comment number 554.

    1.The 2nd Amendment gives you the right to bear such arms as flintlock muskets that take a minute to load & fire a round.

    2. A gun is 22 times more likely to be used in suicide attempt, criminal assault, homicide or accidental death or injury than for self-defence!

  • rate this

    Comment number 553.

    Banning assault weapons will not work; there are too many floating through the US waiting to land in the hands of some deranged person. The economy is against positive action as more people lose jobs, homes, possessions and perhaps land on the street = frustration, stress, anxiety, rage - maybe murderous rage.
    The US is ripe for insurrection...

  • rate this

    Comment number 552.

    "So put simply, it's better to have guns so you can secure your home and family but never mind when it goes wrong"

    The odds on it going "wrong" are far far lower than the odds of having my property invaded, so yes - it is better.

  • rate this

    Comment number 551.

    "The right to own a gun? What about the right to not get shot?"

    This has already been implemented. It is illegal to go around shooting people in the USA

  • rate this

    Comment number 550.

    My condolences to all those affected in Fridays tragic event.
    I want to paint the picture as it stands now for children all over this country. Our children in the United States of America must live in fear, with weekly school drills, and all doors locked, because the NRA and those who support the NRA(Gun manufacturers) want to have the right

  • rate this

    Comment number 549.

    @ 288. Draconis

    A gun compared to baseball bat or a kitchen knife is a wmd. It may be true that it's people who kill and not the weapons by themselves, but with such accessibility as is the case in the US the it's easy for this type of murder, which I think is different from gang & armed robbery related murders, to continue as the former in contrast to the later seem to involve legal guns.

  • rate this

    Comment number 548.

    @511 Dr_Ads
    "If you don't burgle my house then I won't shoot you in the face - is that a deal?"
    I don't quite know how you're thinking this, but I was just thinking along the lines of me not wanting to get shot while I'm doing shopping, watching a film, at a mall... or have my six-year-old child shot while he/she is learning to read.

  • rate this

    Comment number 547.

    Guns are only part of the problem. The criminal, unstable or vengeful will always find a weapon to enact their fantasy or make a dramatic 'statement'. We need to stop glorification of aggression and violence through TV, films, video games too.

  • rate this

    Comment number 546.

    I'm sick and tired of the USA killing people in other countries, I'm sick of the profit-churning-wars, their bias backing of the Jews in Gaza, and yes, their ridiculous ideologies that are so outdated and redneck that the few interlectuals amongst them cringe... let them have guns and when they wipe themselves out then watch the rest of the world sigh with relief

  • rate this

    Comment number 545.

    Guns don't kill people, violent people do. Guns just kill very effectively compared to a weapon like a dagger or a hammer.

  • rate this

    Comment number 544.

    This is basically a game of brinkmanship between American Households and Criminals.The problem being that Criminals can get hold of all the stuff that households can, thus households buy more.If I knew that myself, I'd make feather dusters and wooden spoons legal.In other words, remove the Empowerment that is inherent with a gun from the equation altogether.It's a lifestyle choice, not a 'Right'.

  • rate this

    Comment number 543.

    Our next door neighbor,Mexico where the use of Gun is prohibited but use of it more open than others being govern by a particular character of doing an illicit Business.We cannot kill both but yet we can educate all enough;not to harm others which shall bring more pain to the doer than the victim being none is available without a job assigned to work together to get oneself a bigger entity


Page 17 of 45


More US & Canada stories



BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.