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Colorado shooting puts heat on Obama over gun control Last Updated : 21 Jul 2012 12:59:25 PM IST Colorado shooting puts heat on Obama over gun control
The deadly shooting at the Colorado movie theatre showing Batman premiere turned up the pressure on President Barack Obama over gun control, an issue critics say he has largely ignored.
At least 12 people were killed and around 40 wounded when a gunman opened fire in a Colorado cinema, in one of the nation's worst acts of gun violence since the Virginia Tech bloodbath in April 2007 in which 33 died.
"There are some shootings that basically make the American public stop and look at gun violence, and this ma be one of them," Josh Sugarmann, chief executive of the Violence Policy Center think tank in Washington, told .
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who favours more gun control measures such as thorough background checks, swiftly
called upon Obama and his Republican challenger Mitt Romney to speak out immediately on the issue.
"Maybe it's time that the two people who want to be president of the United States stand up and tell us what they are going to do about it, because this is obviously a problem across the country," he said.
White House spokesman Pat Carney said: "The president believes we need to take common sense measures that protect the Second Amendment rights of Americans (to keep and bear arms) while ensuring that those who should not have guns under existing laws do not get them."
"We're making progress in that regard in terms of improving the volume and quality of information on background checks (on gun purchasers), but I have nothing additional on that for you," he told reporters.
The well-funded US gun lobby, led by the National Rifle Association (NRA), accuse Obama of favoring a United Nations treaty as a ruse to limit Americans' constitutional right to own as many guns as they wish.
The Arms Trade Treaty, now under negotiation in New York,is intended to bring order to the global trade in small arms,but the US gun lobby alleges it will lead in time to stricter domestic gun laws.
Gun control campaigners, on the other hand, have been less than impressed with Obama's track record on guns, with the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence giving him an severe "F grade" for failing to lead on the issue.
Citing statistics from the Centers for Disease Control,it says around 1,00,000 people in the United States are shot over the course of a year, many of them children, and that more than 31,500 die as a result of gun violence.
Obama, Romney temporarily suspend their presidential campaigns
US President Barack Obama and his Republican challenger Mitt Romney temporarily suspended their presidential campaigns in view of the tragic killing of 12 people in a movie theater shootout which also left 59 others injured.
While Obama returned to White House yesterday afternoon from Florida, mid-way through his election campaign, Romney
addressed a meeting in New Hampshire.
"Our hearts break with the sadness of this unspeakable tragedy...I stand before you today not as a man running for office, but as a father and grandfather, a husband, an American," Romney said in his remarks in the meeting.
"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's so much love and goodness in the heart of America," Romney said as his campaign announced to pull out the negative advertisements from Colorado in view of the tragic shooting.
Soon after his return from Florida, Obama held a series of meetings with his top national security aides on the shootings in Colorado, including the Vice President Joe Biden, FBI Director Robert Muller and Deputy National Security Advisor John Brennan.
However, Obama would go ahead with his five-State three-day trip beginning Monday, the White House said later in the evening.
"We have asked affiliates in Colorado to pull down all of our advertising for the time being. Not just contrast spots. "It takes time for stations to be able to do this, but we are making every effort," a Obama campaign official said.
Though Romney has no public events scheduled through Monday, he is likely to hit the campaign trail for at least a couple of days next week before departing to London for Olympic games. "There are going to be other days for politics. This, I think, is a day for prayer and reflection," Obama said in Florida.
He ordered all flags to be flown at half-staff through Wednesday of next week. "The reason this is so deeply felt by all Americans is that, but for the grace of God, the victims could have been any one of our children, in any one of our towns.
"It is every parent's worst nightmare to receive 'that phone call' and to sit by their child's bedside, praying. We know what it's like to wait and wonder and the helplessness a parent feels at this moment," Biden said.loading...
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