Entries in Gun Violence (3)


President Obama's Weekly Address: Reducing Gun Violence 

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) -- In his weekly address, President Obama calls on Congress to pass "commonsense measures" to protect the nation's children by reducing gun violence.

The president says in the three months since 20 innocent children and six dedicated adults were lost in the Newtown, Conn. tragedy, Americans "began asking ourselves if we’re really doing enough to protect our communities and keep our children safe."

Those three months, he says, have forced the nation to answer difficult questions about what can be done to prevent the kinds of massacres that occurred in Newtown, Aurora and Oak Creek, and everyday tragedies that take place in cities and towns across America.

"Today there is still genuine disagreement among well-meaning people about what steps we should take to reduce the epidemic of gun violence in this country," Obama says. "But you – the American people – have spoken.  You’ve made it clear that it’s time to do something.  And over the last few weeks, Senators here in Washington have listened and taken some big steps forward."

Obama mentions actions the Senate has taken in an effort to make changes to reduce gun violence: advancing a bill to make it harder for criminals and people with severe mental illness to obtain guns; making progress on another bill to crack down on any gun buyer who intends to funnel it to criminals; and reinstating and strengthening a military-style assault weapons ban as well as setting a 10-round limit for magazines.

"These ideas shouldn’t be controversial – they’re common sense. They’re supported by a majority of the American people.  And I urge the Senate and the House to give each of them a vote," he says.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Obama Reflects on Absent Father in Gun Violence Appeal

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(CHICAGO) – President Obama punctuated a week spent promoting his economic agenda with an emotional appeal on the impact of guns.

Speaking at a Hyde Park high school, the last stop on his post-State of the Union tour, Obama reflected on the root causes of an epidemic of gun violence that has plagued cities across the country. In his hometown Chicago, more than 500 were shot and killed last year, making it the epicenter of a national problem.

Obama said absent fathers, particularly in the African-American community, and broken marriages are one of the contributing factors in cases of youth poverty, violence and crime. He said one of the solutions is strengthening parental role models.

“There’s no more important ingredient for success, nothing that would be more important for us reducing violence than strong, stable families, which means we should do more to promote marriage and encourage fatherhood,” Obama said.

“You know, I — don’t get me wrong. As the son of a single mom who gave everything she had to raise me, with the help of my grandparents, you know, I turned out O.K.,” he continued. “But at the same time, I wish I had had a father who was around and involved.”

Before taking the stage, Obama spent over an hour meeting privately with a group of male students from Hyde Park Academy, many of whom come from at-risk backgrounds, some without fathers involved in their lives, and have a personal connection to gun violence.

“A lot of them have had some issues. That’s part of the reason why you guys are in the program,” Obama said later. “But what I explained to them was, I had issues too when I was their age. I just had an environment that was a little more forgiving. So when I screwed up, the consequences weren’t as high as when kids on the South Side screw up. So I had more of a safety net."

“But you guys are no different than me. And we had that conversation about, what does it take to change? And the same thing that it takes for us individually to change, I said to them — well, that’s what it takes for communities to change. That’s what it takes for countries to change,” he said. At the top of his remarks, Obama invoked the memory of local student Hadiya Pendleton as a symbol of the tragic cost of urban killing. The South Side teenager was gunned down days after performing at the inauguration in a park three miles from here.

“Too many of our children are being taken away from us,” Obama said in a gymnasium Friday as Pendleton’s parents looked on from the front row.

“Last year there were 443 murders with a firearm on the streets of this city, and 65 of those victims were 18 and under,” he said. “So that’s the equivalent of a Newtown every four months. And that’s precisely why the overwhelming majority of Americans are asking for some common-sense proposals to make it harder for criminals to get their hands on a gun.”

Earlier Friday, Obama presented the Presidential Citizens Medal to families of six adult victims of December’s shooting massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary — a day Obama has called the worst of his presidency. But Pendleton’s story has also touched the Obamas in many of the same ways, her death occurring blocks from the first family’s private home in Kenwood.

Last weekend, First Lady Michelle Obama attended Pendleton’s funeral in Chicago; Hadiya’s parents were invited guests at the State of the Union on Tuesday night.

While Obama today called for an “up or down vote” on his gun control plan, he said cities like Chicago demonstrate that the roots of the problem run deeper and require solutions that no single law can provide.

“When a child opens fire on another child, there is a hole in that child’s heart that government can’t fill,” he said. “Only community and parents and teachers and clergy can fill that hole.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Biden Gun Violence Meetings: NRA Criticism Draws No Comment

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Vice President Joe Biden described his meeting with the National Rifle Association Thursday as “productive” and said that even advocates for gun owners do not agree on one single solution to minimizing gun violence

“I thought we had a very straightforward, productive meeting,” Biden told reporters at the beginning of his meeting with representatives from the video game industry Friday.

Asked what he thought about the NRA’s stinging statement after the meeting yesterday, Biden only said, “I don’t have any comment on what anybody said about the meetings.”

Shortly after Thursday’s meeting, the NRA blasted Biden, saying the administration is not trying to produce legitimate ideas about how to curb gun violence and instead went after the Second Amendment.

“We were disappointed with how little this meeting had to do with keeping our children safe and how much it had to do with an agenda to attack the Second Amendment,” the NRA said Thursday. “While claiming that no policy proposals would be ‘prejudged,’ this task force spent most of its time on proposed restrictions on lawful firearms owners — honest, taxpaying, hardworking Americans.”

“It is unfortunate that this Administration continues to insist on pushing failed solutions to our nation’s most pressing problems,” the NRA said. “We will not allow law-abiding gun owners to be blamed for the acts of criminals and madmen. Instead, we will now take our commitment and meaningful contributions to members of Congress of both parties who are interested in having an honest conversation about what works — and what does not.”

The vice president tried to draw a distinction between the NRA and other gun ownership groups he met with this week, saying, “There is actually difference among them as well. It’s not a uniform view.”

Biden, who was joined by Attorney General Eric Holder and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, met Friday with representatives from the video game industry, including members of Electronic Arts, the Entertainment Software Ratings Board, and Activision Blizzard, Inc., the makers of the highly popular Call of Duty games.

In the weeks after the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., the video game industry was criticized for promoting violent video games, but Biden assured the group that he was keeping an open mind.

“I come to this meeting with no judgment. You all know the judgments other people have made,” Biden said.

“There’s no silver bullet, there’s no, as one of my friends said, no seat belt that you can put on to assure that you will not be in this circumstance again,” he said.  “I want you to know you have not been, quote, singled out for help, but we’ve asked a whole lot of people.”

The vice president made no reference to an assault weapons ban, a topic which has not come up in the public portion of his meetings this week, raising questions about the administration’s intent to pursue such a ban.

Biden said he’s still “shooting for Tuesday” as his deadline to submit recommendations to the president.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio