Killings of journalists puts gun violence in US in focus

Washington, Aug 27 (IANS) As the killing of two journalists on live TV brought the issue of gun violence in America back into sharp focus, the White House renewed a call for Congress to pass gun control laws.

“This is another example of gun violence that is becoming all too common in communities large and small all across the United States,” press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters Wednesday.

“There are some common sense things that only Congress can do that we know would have a tangible impact on reducing gun violence in this country,” he said.

“Congress could take those steps in a way that would not infringe on the constitutional rights of law abiding Americans.”

A powerful gun lobby has foiled President Barack Obama’s efforts to tighten gun laws leading him to describe it as the greatest source of frustration during his time in office.

Even Obama’s Indian-American nominee for Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, who has described gun violence as a public health issue, had to cool his heels for more than a year before his Senate confirmation in the face of fierce opposition from the National Rifle Association.

Murthy told the Asian American Journalists Association convention gala in San Francisco recently that he doesn’t regret his gun-control statement calling his difficult confirmation process a consequence of speaking out.

Commenting on Wednesday’s killings of two journalists, the New York Times lamented “an increasingly horrific fact of life and death in the United States that easily available guns offer troubled Americans the power to act out their grievances in public.”

Noting “a grim reality” that the estimated 300 million guns in America owned by a third of the population, far more per capita than any other modern nation,” it felt that “no change is likely, for all the social media grotesquerie.”

“The woeful truth underlying this latest shooting is more mundane than alarming. There are too many guns, and too little national will to do anything about them,” it said.

In a similar vein, the Washington Post also asked: “Will America finally do something to stop our gun-fuelled carnage?”

Any rational government would carefully regulate “highly dangerous machines that have some legitimate uses and many illegitimate ones,” it said.

“Instead, our leaders,” it said had “thwarted efforts to study the effects of having a society saturated with firearms and generally cowered before the lobbying might of a political fringe.”

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