December 21, 2014 06:52 UTC

In the News

Shooting at Connecticut School has Americans Re-Examining Gun Laws

Read, listen and learn English with this story. Double-click on any word to find the definition in the Merriam-Webster Learner's Dictionary.

NRA Flexes Political Muscle in Gun Control Fight
NRA Flexes Political Muscle in Gun Control Fight

Multimedia

Play or download an MP3 of this story
  • Shooting at Connecticut School has Americans Re-Examining Gun Laws

Documents
From VOA Learning English, this is IN THE NEWS in Special English.
 
This week, families and friends buried victims of the second worst attack on a school in the United States. A gunman killed 20 young children and six adults at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut last Friday. Police believe 20 year old Adam Lanza killed his mother at home then took some of her guns with him to the school. They say he used a military-style assault rifle to carry out the shooting spree. Such weapons can fire ammunition quickly, without the shooter having to reload.
 
The attack shocked Americans whose opinions on gun laws have changed in the past week. A recent survey found that 52 percent of Americans questioned said they supported “major restrictions on guns or making them illegal.”  
 
President Obama says he recognizes the need for change. He has called on Congress to reestablish an assault weapons ban that ended in 2004.
 
"We may never know all the reasons why this tragedy happened. We do know that every day since more Americans have died of gun violence. We know such violence has terrible consequences for our society. And if there is even one thing that we can do to prevent any of these events, we have a deep obligation, all of us, to try."
 
The president has named Vice President Joe Biden to lead an effort to propose gun law reforms. He also called for background investigations for anyone buying weapons from a private dealer.
 
No matter how hard the president tries, he will face opposition from gun rights activists. The second amendment to the Constitution protects the right of Americans to carry and use arms.
 
The 4,000,000 member National Rifle Association is one of the most influential organizations in the United States. On Friday, the NRA’s chief executive, Wayne LaPierre, told reporters that armed guards can prevent tragedies like the one in Newtown.
 
“The only way -- the only way -- to stop a monster from killing our kids is to be personally involved and invested in a plan of absolute protection. The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.”
 
Mr. LaPierre blamed movies and video games for creating a violent culture for children.
 
The NRA has protected the rights of gun owners for over 140 years. The group is widely recognized as a major political force. Observers say the NRA spends millions of dollars on television advertising and campaign donations every year to influence members of Congress.
 
One thing the NRA cannot control is the sale of gun manufacturers. This week, an American investment company announced plans to sell the manufacturer of the rifle reportedly used in the school shooting.
 
Cerberus Capital Management said it was “shocked and deeply saddened” by the attack. Cerberus said it has no desire to take part in the debate over gun ownership rights. But the company said it immediately plans to start looking for a buyer for Freedom Group, the country’s biggest manufacturer of guns and ammunition. Cerberus bought Freedom Group with the help of the California State Teachers’ Retirement System and other investors.
This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: BIJU.P.Y. from: SOUTH INDIA
01/02/2013 4:57 PM
Alas! Americans must be trained to live without guns. It will take a long while for Americans to get accustomed to such a way of life. They should be totally fear free. Movies and TVs are the breeding ground for violence for growing ups. Their bad impact cannot be compressed into brief. Instances of Gun fighting should be kept hiding from childrens' finding, me think. Effective laws should be enforced that would prevent the misuse of guns. To put it in brief, 'no gun, no cry'. Thanking you and waiting for our comments, lovingly,

Learn with The News

  • Chinese President Xi Jinping, left, and U.S. President Obama participate in a welcome ceremony for President Obama at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China Wednesday, Nov. 12, 2014. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

    Audio Is China Starting to Live its Dream?

    Trust in the American dream may be disappearing. But halfway around the world, a new dream has been gaining strength -- the Chinese dream. To be exact: President Xi Jinping’s Chinese dream. But, what is the Chinese dream? And how has President Xi started to make his dream for the country a reality? More

  • Audio I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas

    Music fills the air. Colorful lights shine brightly in windows. Children and adults open gifts from loved ones and friends. These are all Christmas traditions. Another tradition is snow. In many places, a blanket of clean white snow covers the ground on Christmas Day, making it a "White Christmas." More

  • FILE - A Muslim woman releases a dove as a symbol of peace during a rally against the Islamic State group in Jakarta, Indonesia, Sept. 5, 2014.

    Audio Indonesia Reports Increase in Citizens Joining Islamic State

    Indonesia estimates that more than 350 of its citizens are now in Syria or Iraq to fight with Islamic State militants. That would represent an increase of 50 since last month. Most of the Indonesian fighters do not come directly from their homeland, but from other countries where they may be working More

  • Audio Turkey Rejects Criticism of Raids on Opposition Media

    Turkish officials say recent arrests of more than 20 journalists were made in connection with a plot against the government. But the European Union says Turkey is increasingly becoming more authoritarian. It said the media raids were in conflict with European values. More

  • US Cuba

    Audio Obama Moves to Normalize Relations with Cuba

    President Barack Obama announced a major change in United States’ policy toward Cuba this week. He said he wants Congress to ease more than 50 years of U.S. sanctions against the island nation. And he said the two nations should once again formally recognize one another. More

Featured Stories

  • Video Music Shows in Private Homes Gain Popularity

    Attending a live musical performance, be it in a huge arena or a small cafe, is an exciting experience. But here in the U.S., a very different kind of performance is gaining popularity: house concerts. “There's just a totally unique experience as opposed to playing like a coffee shop or a bar." More

  • Lee Surrenders to Grant at Appomatox

    Audio Southern General Robert E. Lee Surrenders at Appomattox

    General Robert E. Lee’s military skill and intelligence helped extend the war between the states. But even his skill could not save the South from the industrial power of the North and its mighty armies -- armies that were better-fed and better-equipped. On Sunday, August 9, Lee surrendered. More

  • Uganda Playground for Disabled Children

    Audio Helping Uganda’s Disabled Children Play

    You may think that all children have freedom to play. But for children who look differently from others or have physical disabilities, the idea of play can seem far away. An organization in Uganda is seeking to change that. Read on to learn words needed to talk about this sometimes difficult topic. More

  • A microneedle used to inject glaucoma medications into the eye is shown next to a liquid drop from a conventional eye dropper. (Georgia Tech Photo: Gary Meek

    Audio Tiny Needles Treat Eye Disease

    Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness around the world. In the United States, more than two million people suffer from the disease. Now, researchers are developing very small needles that may offer a more effective and painless treatment for glaucoma and other eye diseases. More

  • The National Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement in Las Vegas

    Audio Mob Museum Tells About the Mafia in America

    The U.S. government has long used public money to fight organized crime. Now, public money is also paying for a museum in Las Vegas to tell about "The Mob,” and not everyone is happy about that. But some say it helps the local economy by bringing people to a part of Las Vegas that few visit. More

Practice Your Writing

Confessions of an English Learner BlogConfessions of an English Learner Blog

Tell us About Our Programs