Gun Control: US Democrats Occupy Congress

Gun Control, US CongressA mild drama has taken place at the U.S. Senate where democrats staged a sit-in on the floor of the lower house to demand tighter gun control.

This comes after a man claiming allegiance to the Islamic State group, Omar Mateen, killed 49 people at the pulse nightclub in Orlando, in the deadliest shooting in modern US history.

Although the 16-hour sit-in at the US House of Representatives failed to force a vote on tougher laws, members of the centre-left Democratic Party said they will keep fighting for gun control

Unlike the Senate, there is no formal mechanism for lawmakers in the House to hold the floor indefinitely.

One congressman, John Lewis, told his colleagues to never give up.

“How many more mothers, how many more fathers need to shed tears of grief before we do something? We were elected to lead, Mr Speaker,” Lewis said during the sit-in.

However, Republican speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, dismissed the protest as a publicity stunt.

“This bill was already defeated in the United States Senate,” the Speaker of the House said, justifying Republican opposition to the bill by adding: “We are not going to take away a citizen’s constitutional rights to due process.”

Ryan further denied that the issue was gun control, but rather terrorism.

“Let’s find out what we need to do to prevent future terrorist attacks. And if a person is on a terror watch list and they go try to buy a gun, we have procedures in place to deal with that,” he told CNN.

Senators are pushing for a compromise, with top Democratic senator Harry Reid, supporting a Republican proposal that would stop gun sales to a limited number of people on some terrorism watch lists.

UN Urges America To Adopt Robust Gun Regulation

Gun RegulationThe UN human rights office on Tuesday (June 14) urged the leadership in the United States of America to live up to its obligations to protect its citizens from the “horrifyingly commonplace but preventable violent attacks that are the direct result of insufficient gun control.”

This is in the aftermath of the mass killing of 49 people by a gunman in a gay nightclub in Florida.

The Quoting the High Commissioner (HC), Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) Rupert Colville, said in a press conference, “It is hard to find a rational justification that explains the ease with which people can buy firearms, including assault rifles, in spite of prior criminal backgrounds, drug use, histories of domestic violence and mental illness, or direct contact with extremists – both domestic and foreign.”

He said “how many more mass killings of school-children, of co-workers, of African-American churchgoers — how many more individual shootings of talented musicians like Christina Grimmie, or politicians like Gabrielle Giffords, will it take before the United States adopts robust gun regulation? Why should any civilian anywhere be able to acquire an assault rifle or other high-powered weapons designed to kill lots of people?”

A new UN human rights report on the civilian acquisition, possession and use of firearms highlights the “devastating impact” of gun violence on a host of human rights, including the rights to life, security, education, health, an adequate standard of living and participation in cultural life.

Colville said, “The protection of human rights must be central to the development of laws and regulations regarding the availability, transfer and use of firearms.

“UN and regional human rights experts have long recommended that firearm control measures must include adequate background check systems, the periodic review of licenses, clear gun removal policies when intervening in domestic violence cases, mandatory training, and the criminalization of illegal sale of firearms, among other measures.”

According to the High Commissioner, “Examples from many countries clearly show that a legal framework to control the acquisition and use of firearms has led to a dramatic reduction in violent crime.

“In the United States, however, there are hundreds of millions of guns in circulation, and every year thousands of people are killed or injured by them.”

He added that it was “particularly reprehensible – indeed dangerous – that this terrible event is already being utilized to promote homophobic and Islamophobic sentiments.

He urged everyone in the United States “to ensure that the human rights, and consequently the security, of all are strengthened in the aftermath of this horrendous incident.”

50 Dead In Orlando Nightclub Shooting

Orlando ShootingPolice have confirmed that 50 people were killed and 53 others injured in a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida in the United States.

Reports suggested that the gunman called 911 before the shooting and claimed to have sworn his allegiance to the Islamic State.

However, Police authorities believed that the killings were most likely ideologically motivated.

In his reaction, President Barack Obama said Americans were bonded in grief, outrage and “resolve to defend our people”, after “an act of terror and an act of hate”.

The gunman, named by officials as Omar Mateen, of Afghan descent, was said to have come from the town of Port St. Lucie.

Police disclosed that he was not on a terrorism watch list, but was being investigated for an unrelated criminal act.

In the meantime, a state of emergency has been declared across the city of Orlando to allow law enforcement officials to focus on investigation of the incident termed ‘the worst mass shooting in US’ history.