Obama criticizes `powerful voices’ opposing gun control

Washington, March 29 (IANS/EFE) President Barack Obama said Thursday that “powerful voices” are seeking to prevent the US Congress from voting to exert greater control over firearms in this country.

During an event in the White House East Room just 100 days after the massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, the president emphasized that, for the victims of firearm violence, “the grief doesn’t ever go away”, and the proposals he presented in January are not radical and do not seek to eliminate the constitutional right to bear arms.
In insisting that Congress vote on “common-sense proposals to reduce the epidemic of gun violence”, Obama emphasized that the country must not forget the 20 children and six adults slain at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown.
“Shame on us if we’ve forgotten,” said the president, flanked by Vice President Joe Biden, the mothers of victims of violence and law enforcement officers.
The Dec 14 bloodbath in Newtown was the catalyst for both Obama and civic groups to launch a campaign to get Congress to vote on several measures with the aim of increasing control over guns, especially military-style assault weapons.
Although Obama supports the reestablishment of a federal law banning assault rifles such as the AR-15 used at Newtown, the bill the Senate is considering does not include that provision.
The proposal to renew the assault-weapons ban that expired in 2004 does not have the 60 votes needed to overcome a filibuster.
The bill the Senate will consider next month is predicted to include a system of background checks for all weapons purchasers and sanctions for intermediary buyers in illicit arms trafficking as well as improving access to mental health services, among other elements.