Entries in Shooting (30)


White House Photo Shows Obama Firing Shotgun

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) -- After a week of speculation over the authenticity of claims by President Obama that he regularly participated in skeet shooting at Camp David, the White House released a photograph on Saturday showing him firing a shotgun.

The photo shows Obama targeting clay pigeons at the presidential retreat last August, according to the White House. In an interview published last Sunday the president said he shoots skeet “all the time” during stays at the compound. The comment was a response to a question of whether he had ever held a gun.

“Not the girls, but often times guests of mine go up there. And I have a profound respect for the traditions of hunting that trace back in this country for generations. And I think those who dismiss that out of hand make a big mistake,” he said.

But amid a White House-backed push for stronger gun-control in the U.S., some questioned whether the claim was an embellishment or even true. Politicians who regularly use firearms often advertise the fact to gun owners, but ABC News has not found a quote from Obama referencing his own use before the statement from last Sunday.

This the only known image of Obama holding a gun.

Asked Monday about the president’s interview, Press Secretary Jay Carney responded to reporters about how often the president participates in shooting.

“I would refer you simply to his comments,” he said. “I don’t know how often. He does go to Camp David with some regularity, but I’m not sure how often he’s done that.”"

On Wednesday, Carney addressed the issue again, telling press that when the president travels to
“Camp David, he goes to spend time with his family and friends and relax, not to produce photographs.”

White House officials and some Obama supporters have compared skeet-doubters to “skeeters” or “birthers,” the label fixed to those who deny Obama was born on birth on U.S. soil in his home state of Hawaii, and therefore is ineligible for the Oval Office.

“Attn skeet birthers. Make our day — let the photoshop conspiracies begin!” senior adviser David Plouffe wrote on Twitter Saturday morning, referencing the popular photo-editing software.

In January, Obama signed several executive orders strengthening gun regulation and revealed proposals that, if enacted, would include bans on assault weapons and high capacity magazines. The move began in response to the December mass-shooting of 20 first graders and six adults at a Newtown, Conn., elementary school.

A recent ABC News/Washington Post poll released found 53 percent of Americans viewed Obama’s gun control plan favorably, 41 percent unfavorably.

The photo’s release comes two days before Obama travels to Minneapolis for a speech continuing his push for tougher gun control, where he is expected to appear alongside local law enforcement officials.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Obama: Newtown Shooting ‘Worst Day’ of Presidency

The White House(NEW YORK) -- President Obama said the Newton, Conn., shootings on December 14 were the “worst day” of his time in office.

Recollecting the tragic shooting deaths of 20 first graders and six adults at a Newtown, Conn. elementary school on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” the president had been asked how his administration planned to move forward on gun control measures he had suggested in recent weeks. Ultimately, the president said, any coming legislation would be dependent on public approval.

“The question then becomes whether we are actually shook up enough by what happened here that it does not just become another one of these routine episodes where it gets a lot of attention for a couple of weeks and then it drifts away,” he said. “It certainly won’t feel like that to me. This is something that – you know, that was the worst day of my presidency. And it’s not something that I want to see repeated.”

President Obama pledged to put his “full weight” behind additional gun control measures in 2013, repeating his call for a renewal of the assault weapons ban and the closing of the so-called “gun show loophole,” which allows private sellers to offer firearms to people without a background check. A CNN poll in July reported 96 percent of Americans supported background checks for all purchases, regardless of origin.

 “I think there are a vast majority of responsible gun owners out there who recognize that we can’t have a situation in which somebody with severe psychological problems is able to get the kind of high capacity weapons that this individual in Newtown obtained and gun down our kids,” he continued. “And, yes, it’s going to be hard.”

The president said the White House would put forward “very specific” proposals after a fact-finding task force headed by Vice President Biden concluded.

Host David Gregory also asked the president what he thought of the call from the National Rifle Association to place armed security in every American school, an opinion first voiced by the organization’s president, Wayne LaPierre. Obama stated that while he wouldn’t “prejudge” recommendations, he was hesitant.

“I am skeptical that the only answer is putting more guns in schools,” he said. “And I think the vast majority of the American people are skeptical that that somehow is going to solve our problem.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Senate Democrats Plead for Gun Control Debate in Wake of Newtown Shootings

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The Senate floor Monday was filled with Democrats calling for a renewed debate on gun control in the wake of the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut.
Sen. Menendez, D-N.J., called for Newtown to be the “turning point” to change laws and that there should be “no more excuses” or delay.
“Let us finally pass commonsense gun laws,” Menendez said, “We need a national debate about the role of firearms in our society and we need to address mental health issues and we need to act immediately. … These high-capacity clips must be outlawed. I don't believe that there's any reason why a law-abiding citizen would need the capability to shoot multiple rounds like a street sweeper.”
Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., announced plans to reintroduce his high-capacity magazine ban legislation in January, which prohibits the manufacture and sale of ammunition magazines that have a capacity of, or could be readily converted to accept, more than 10 rounds of ammunition.
“In light of yet another horrific shooting tragedy, it is clearer than ever that there is no place in our communities for deadly high-capacity gun magazines and I will keep working to pass my bill to reinstate the ban on them,” Lautenberg said in a paper statement, “We must take immediate action to ban high-capacity gun magazines and assault weapons so that we can prevent the next massacre.”
Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said that too many in the Senate feel duty-bound by the NRA’s scorecard on this issue and he said he is “encouraged” by some of his colleagues -- like Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W. Va. -- who have spoken out Monday in support of limiting firearms in some capacity.
“What holds us back are political organizations that are well funded, organized and determined to resist even the most reasonable limitations. There is a close political parallel between the gridlock in Washington on dealing with our economy and national debt and the eerie silence in Congress as the list of horrific gun crimes grows by the day.”
Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., added that there can be a way to move forward in the middle and called for the conversation to start now and without delay.
“I believe that you can be both pro-gun and pro-gun safety, just like you can be in favor of free speech but also against child pornography,” Schumer said.
Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., said Monday that, as chairman of the Judiciary Committee, he will be holding a hearing very early in the next congressional session in the coming weeks to help in the search for understanding and answers.
“It’s not a matter just of guns, which is a significant part, of course. It’s a matter of mental illness. It’s a matter of how we run our educational facilities, all these things should be talked about. If there are practical, sensible and workable answers to prevent such unspeakable tragedies, we should make the effort to find them.”
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Politicians Call Connecticut Shooting ‘Senseless,’ Some Urge Gun Restrictions

DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Politicians on Twitter and in written statements reacted with horror to the school shooting that left 27 people dead, including 18 children, in Newtown, Conn., Friday.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said he was “shocked and saddened” by the tragic shooting. He also said society should “unify” to “crack down on the guns.”

“During times of such unthinkable tragedy, all New Yorkers stand together with the people of our neighboring state to grieve the loss of life and help bear the pain and anguish that will be felt by so many in the weeks, months, and years to come,” Gov. Cuomo wrote in a statement. “While we don’t have all the facts and our focus must be on the victims, this is yet another senseless and horrific act of violence involving guns. We as a society must unify and once and for all crack down on the guns that have cost the lives of far too many innocent Americans. Let this terrible tragedy finally be the wake-up call for aggressive action and I pledge my full support in that effort.”

Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., also called immediately for tougher gun laws. He said he was “absolutely horrified” by news of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

“Yet another unstable person has gotten access to firearms and committed an unspeakable crime against innocent children.  We cannot simply accept this as a routine product of modern American life,” Congressman Nadler said in a statement.

Nadler reacted to White House Press Secretary Jay Carney‘s assertion that Friday -- on the same day as the tragedy -- is not the day to discuss gun control policy. Carney was asked if Friday’s shooting makes “limiting handgun violence or other gun violence” a higher priority for the president.

“There is, I’m sure — will be, rather, a day for discussion of the usual Washington policy debates, but I don’t think today is that day,” Carney said.

“If now is not the time to have a serious discussion about gun control and the epidemic of gun violence plaguing our society, I don’t know when is.  How many more Columbines and Newtowns must we live through?  I am challenging President Obama, the Congress, and the American public to act on our outrage and, finally, do something about this.”

Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell related Friday’s events to the shooting that took the lives of 32 people at a university in his state.

“My thoughts and prayers go out to the families of those impacted by the events transpiring today, and to the teachers, emergency responders, and all others touched by this tragedy. Unfortunately, Virginia has our own painful memories of the tragic shootings at Virginia Tech in 2007. Those memories will never fade, and we continue to grieve for all those lost on that April day,” Gov. McDonnell wrote in a statement. “We are all too aware of the impact that events like this can have on a community. If there is anything Virginia can do to assist Governor Malloy and the citizens of Connecticut, we stand ready to do so.”

Gov. John Hickenlooper, of Colorado where the Columbine High School shooting took 13 lives, also offered his condolences.

“The shooting in Connecticut is absolutely horrific and heartbreaking,” the Colorado governor wrote in a statement. “We know too well what impact this kind of violence has on a community and our nation. Our thoughts and prayers are immediately with the families of those killed. We can offer comfort, but we all know the pain will stay forever.”

More than 70 members of the House of Representatives used Twitter to express their sadness over the violence in Connecticut.

Rep. Joe Courtney, R-Ct., tweeted his reaction.

@RepJoeCourtney: #Newtown shooting is an horrific, senseless tragedy. Thoughts and prayers for victims, families, and the Sandy Hook Elementary community.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi predicted the nation will support Newtown in the weeks to come in her statement.

@NancyPelosi: "No words can console the parents of the children murdered at Sandy Hook. We share our prayers and our grief over these horrifying events."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Antonin Scalia Hints Second Amendment Not Absolute

Paul Morigi/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Is private possession of hand-held rocket launchers protected by the Second Amendment?

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia said Sunday that it might be up to him and the eight other judges to decide just how far "the right to bear arms" goes.

Asked to comment about the Aurora, Colo., movie shooting and accused gunman James Holmes legally purchasing an assault rifle and high-capacity magazine, Scalia, a strict constitutionalist by his own admission,  said it remains to be seen whether there "are some limitations that can be imposed."

In 2008, Scalia was the lead author of a ruling that invalidated a ban on handgun ownership in Washington, D.C., saying it violated the basic tenets of the Second Amendment.  He mentioned that it does not apply to "arms that cannot be hand-carried," such as cannons.

But are hand-held rocket launchers, which are just as powerful as cannons, in that category? Scalia said it will probably fall to the court to determine what limitations should be applied to modern weapons.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


House Observes Moment of Silence for Colorado Victims

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call(WASHINGTON) -- The House of Representatives observed a somber moment of silence today to honor the 12 killed and 58 wounded in last Friday’s shooting at a movie theater in Aurora, Colo.

Rep. Ed Perlmutter, the Colorado Democrat who represents the part of Aurora where the tragedy struck, led the House with remarks on behalf of Colorado’s entire House delegation.

“I stand here with a lot of sadness with my friends from the Colorado delegation. We’re a pretty tight-knit group,” Perlmutter began, surrounded in the well of the House chamber by Colorado Democrats and Republicans. “We had a terrible incident in Aurora, Colorado on Friday. You all are well aware of it. Twelve people were killed, 58 were wounded and it with sadness and grief that we come before you today.”

Perlmutter said that while Coloradoans remember the victims of the shooting, there is “silver lining in this very, very dark moment in the history of Colorado” characterized by the “bravery, and selflessness and heroism among the people that were in that theatre that night.”

“Anyone of us can tell you stories of how people to complete strangers were willing to give up their own lives to save the life of the stranger next to them. In times when it is difficult like that you want to find bright spots, and there were many,” he said. “Another bright spot was the courage demonstrated by the Aurora police and the fire department and the FBI and the ATF in the face of what was a monstrous action by this guy.”

James Holmes, 24, is suspected of bursting into a movie theater and engaging in a shooting spree shortly after the opening night showing of The Dark Knight Rises began. Holmes was quickly arrested behind the theatre without incident.

“In Colorado, we consider ourselves to be pretty tough. Aurorans where this act took place are pretty tough,” he continued. “It hurts. We all hurt, but we’re resilient and we will get through it and the stories that some of those who are injured are sharing actually really do lighten the day.”

Perlmutter thanked his colleagues in the House for a “tremendous outpouring of sympathy and condolences and compassion” before observing 21 seconds of silence in the House chamber.

“I ask that all of you stand with me and our delegation in a moment of silence to honor the memory of those that were killed, the wounded victims and all Americans during this time of healing,” Perlmutter declared. “We will remember these people who were hurt and we will help them all along the way.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Stronger Gun Laws? Schumer Points to Lack of Political Will

Win McNamee/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Sen. Chuck Schumer was one of the biggest cheerleaders for the assault weapons ban back when it passed the House. The New Yorker helped usher it through Congress and in part built his senate campaign on passing the Brady Bill.

But Tuesday, in the wake of the Aurora, Colo., massacre, Schumer suggested there is no political will for new gun laws or re-instating the assault weapons ban, which lapsed in 2004. Under the ban it would have been illegal for James Holmes to purchase the deadliest of the weapons he used - the AR-15 assault rifle.

Schumer blamed the NRA and the Republicans who control the House of Representatives for blocking any legislation. But Schumer held a press conference today on tax measures, not gun laws, and he made clear that he thinks the political mandate for gun laws needs to come from the people before politicians will change anything.

"I am still an advocate of the assault weapons ban. I was the author of it in the House," he said, adding that it could potentially have kept the AR-15 away from Holmes. "But we see what's in the House and we see the power of the NRA around here and it's something we ask, the way to overcome it is for citizens, the silent majority, who believe in the right to bear arms, the majority of Americans including myself."

"I believe in the right to bear arms. I think the 2nd amendment has validity. I thought the Heller decision was appropriate. But there can be reasonable limitations on those rights to bear arms. We limit the 1st amendment, you can't falsely scream fire in a crowded theater, or anti-pornography laws. The 2nd amendment can have reasonable limits as well," he said.

House Speaker John Boehner, meanwhile, resisted calls Tuesday from other congressional Democrats to tighten gun control laws in the wake of the shooting in Aurora last week, couching his lack of enthusiasm for new legislation to President Obama's decision not to push for new laws either.

"We had a shooting by a deranged person in Colorado and our hearts and souls go out to the victims and those who were killed and those who were injured, and their families," Boehner said. "The president has made clear that he's not going to use this horrific event to push for new gun laws. I agree."

Pressed whether there is anything the government should do to make it harder for someone to purchase such large amounts of ammunition, the speaker stuck to his script.

"Listen, the White House had made clear they're not going to use this horrific event to push for new legislation," he repeated. "I agree with them."

Over the weekend, White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters aboard Air Force One that President Obama believes the government should protect the Second Amendment while also ensuring that weapons do not fall "into the hands of individuals who should not, by existing law, obtain those weapons."

"The president's view is that we can take steps to keep guns out of the hands of people who should not have them under existing law," Carney said Sunday. "And that's his focus right now."

James Holmes, 24, is suspected of killing 12 people and wounding another 58 in Friday morning's shooting at opening night of the new Batman movie, The Dark Knight Rises. With no significant police record, law enforcement sources say he acquired all four of his guns, body armor and thousands of rounds of ammunition legally.

House Democrats including Reps. Earl Blumenauer of Oregon and Carolyn McCarthy of New York, both long-time gun control advocates, point to the shooting in Colorado and other mass shootings as proof that the country's gun laws are insufficient.

Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, the No. 3 Republican in the House, said that Congress "should get all the facts" before moving any new legislation "because you want to make sure it is done right."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Aurora Shooting: Senate Observes Moment of Silence

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call(WASHINGTON) -- The Senate on Monday observed a moment of silence for the 12 people who died and 58 who were injured in the Aurora, Colo., shooting last week.

Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., led the Senate in the pause as the Senate opened up the floor for business for the week.

“This afternoon the Senate pauses to remember those killed in last week's horrific shooting in Colorado,” Reid said. “Today we pause to mourn the dead but also honor how they lived. We pledge our support to the people of Aurora, Colo., both as they grieve and as they begin to heal from this terrible tragedy.”

Reid asked how to “make sense of something that’s so senseless,” and said that the nation may never know the “motivations behind this terrible crime.”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., read the names of the 12 victims and asked for prayers for the injured as they recover.

“There are few things more common in America than going out to a movie with friends, which is why the first response most of us had to the shootings in on aurora was to think, it could have been any of us,” McConnell said. “It's the randomness of a crime like this that makes it impossible to understand and so hard to accept.”

Not mentioning suspect James Holmes by name, McConnell called him a “monster,” and called on the nation to come together to honor the memory of the victims.

“As is almost always the case in moments like this, the horror has been tempered somewhat by the acts of heroism and self-sacrifice that took place in the midst of the violence.” McConnell said. “We were also moved by the outpouring of compassion that followed and by the refusal of the people of Aurora to allow the monster who committed this crime to eclipse the memory of the people he killed.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Rep. Blumenauer Accuses NRA of Political Bullying on Gun Laws

US House of Representatives(WASHINGTON) -- As the flags over the U.S. Capitol continue to fly at half-staff in honor of the victims of the shooting in Aurora, Colo., last week, one Democratic congressman says there is a renewed opportunity “to deal with an epidemic of gun violence” in the United States.

Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., took to the House floor Monday afternoon to speak out for stronger gun control, blaming the National Rifle Association for poisoning the political dialogue around the controversial issue and “creating phony threats to gun ownership.”

“What is as appalling as the loss of life, is the fact that we not only refuse to do anything about it, but we allow political bullies to intimidate us from even researching the facts,” Blumenauer blasted. “Anytime there is a mass-killing spree, I hope against hope, for a more enlightened reaction.”

Blumenauer targeted the NRA for making it “impossible” to close the gun show loophole, where he said people can purchase “unlimited amounts of guns without a reasonable background check.” He also criticized the gun lobby for helping people on the no-fly list purchase guns while also preventing national security data from being shared between two government agencies.

“The NRA argues that all we need is for existing gun laws to be enforced while they systematically set about to dismantle which laws we have,” he said. “I continue to feel that there’s no reason to permit armor-piercing, cop-killer bullets to be sold like Tic-tac’s, that automatic weapons should be available over the counter with 100-bullet magazines like killer in Colorado had, that facilitate such sprees.”

The nine-term Democrat called on gun owners to “join with politicians, business, [and] the health community to come together to deal with an epidemic of gun violence in a way we would treat any other threat to the safety of our families and our communities.”

“We would study, we would work on solutions together, and we would act,” he imagined. “Sadly, we’re still waiting.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Romney Reacts to Colorado Shooting, Evokes God and Prayer

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(BOW, N.H.) -- Mitt Romney addressed the first major national tragedy of his candidacy today, offering condolences to those affected in this morning’s Colorado shooting. He also told supporters that the events of the day serve as a reminder to “appreciate our blessings in life.”

The candidate, dressed in a dark suit and a tie, spoke for just under four minutes at a lumberyard that had been chosen to be the site of a Victory Event for his campaign. The original plan was scrubbed as soon as news of the shooting broke earlier in the day.

“I stand before you today not as a man running for office but as a father and grandfather, a husband, an American,” said Romney, standing before an American flag, two others hanging nearby, his podium naked of its usual décor. “This is a time for each of us to look into our hearts and remember how much we love one another. And how much we love and how much we care for our great country. There is so much love and goodness in the heart of America.”

Romney for President signs that are usually staples at the candidate’s events were gone, and no music blared over the speakers as a crowd of about 300 awaited Romney remarks, which were brief and solemn. It was the first time Romney has taken to a national stage to offer condolences to a country in mourning.

To do so, Romney, who rarely mentions his own faith on the trail, evoked God and read from scripture during his remarks. An Anglican Catholic priest led a prayer prior to Romney’s remarks.

“Our hearts break for the victims and their families, we pray that the wounded will recover and that those that are grieving will know the nearness of God,” said Romney. “This morning Colorado lost youthful voices which would have brightened their homes, enriched their schools, and brought joy to their families."

“Our prayer is that the comforter might bring the peace to their souls that surpasses our understanding,” he said. “The Apostle Paul explained, Blessed Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them who are in any trouble.”

The Romney campaign cancelled an event scheduled to be hosted by Ann Romney, and announced that they would also pull their campaign ads currently airing in Colorado.

Romney walked off the stage following his remarks but quickly reemerged, standing beside New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte as well as the priest in a makeshift receiving line, shaking hands and speaking briefly with the long line of supporters filing out of the event. An aide told ABC News that the decision to stay to shake hands with attendants was done at Romney’s request.

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