Obama urges lawmakers to support stricter gun control
Obama made an emotional plea on Monday urging American lawmakers to support stricter gun control in the USA.
Speaking at the University of Hartford in Connecticut – a short distance from Newtown where 20 children and 6 adults died in a shooting at an elementary school last December – Obama pointed to the overwhelming majority of Americans who want changes to gun control and went on to say: “Now is the time for everyone to make their voices heard.”
The president made it clear that his motivation for implementing such measures was above politics. “This is about doing the right thing for all the families who are here that have been torn apart by gun violence.”
Stating: “Nothing’s going to be more important in making sure that the Congress moves forward this week than hearing from them,” the president criticised Republican senators who have threatened a filibuster in order to delay the bill.
“They’re not just saying they’ll vote ‘no’ on ideas that almost all Americans support. They’re saying they’ll do everything they can to even prevent any votes on these provisions. They’re saying your opinion doesn’t matter. And that’s not right.”
Stricter gun controls have been high on Obama’s agenda ever since the massacre at Newtown and he is keen for new laws to be adopted nationwide. His reforms have, however, faced opposition from gun rights groups including the National Rifle Association who have been lobbying against the bill.
Obama’s key legislative aims are to strengthen background checks on those buying guns, limit the size of ammunition magazines to ten rounds and ban assault weapons. The latter two aims have, however, already been rejected by the US Senate, who do not believe there is sufficient support for the measures.
Last week, however, state officials in Connecticut passed sweeping gun-control measures, giving Connecticut some of the toughest gun laws in the US, alongside Colorado and New York State.
In attempt to further push this agenda forward, the president has taken 11 parents of children who were victims at Newtown to Washington DC to lobby members of Congress who are yet to support the gun control bill.
Senators could start debating gun legislation by the end of this week, but with the strength of the pro-gun lobby and the influence it wields over America’s political elites, it will remain an uphill struggle for Obama to pass his reforms, in any shape or form, anytime soon.