Obama cites Sikh gurdwara shooting to press for gun reforms

Washington, Feb 13 (IANS) Citing several incidents of gun violence from the massacre of 20 innocent schoolchildren to the shooting of six worshippers at a Sikh gurdwara, President Barack Obama has sought support for "common sense" gun law reforms.

Noting that "Overwhelming majorities of Americans" have come together around "commonsense reform - like background checks that will make it harder for criminals to get their hands on a gun," Obama Tuesday asked the Congress to vote on these proposals.

Referring to the killing of 26 people, including 20 children at a Newtown, Connecticut school in December and the shooting of six Sikh worshippers at Oak Creek, Wisconsin last August, he said the communities ripped open by gun violence deserve a vote.

"The families of Newtown deserve a vote... The families of Oak Creek, and Tucson, and Blacksburg, and the countless other communities ripped open by gun violence - they deserve a simple vote," Obama said.

Citing among others the example of a police officer who fought back the shooter at the Oak creek Sikh gurdwara, he said: "We were sent here to look out for our fellow Americans the same way they look out for one another, every single day, usually without fanfare, all across this country."

"We should follow the example of a police officer named Brian Murphy," said Obama as the police officer watched as one of the special guests in the First Lady's Box.

When a gunman opened fire on a Sikh temple in Wisconsin, and Brian was the first to arrive, he did not consider his own safety.

"He fought back until help arrived, and ordered his fellow officers to protect the safety of the Americans worshiping inside - even as he lay bleeding from twelve bullet wounds.

"When asked how he did that, Brian said, 'That's just the way we're made.' That's just the way we're made," Obama said.

"Lt. Murphy was the first police officer to arrive at the scene of the tragic Sikh temple shooting in Oak Creek, Wisconsin last August. Lt. Murphy directly confronted the shooter, and took fifteen bullets to his head, neck, and body before the rest of the police force arrived," according to the White House

Murphy is currently on medical leave from the force and still recovering from his injuries. Lt. Murphy has served as a police officer for more than twenty years and previously served in the Marine Corps and the United National security force.

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at

Arun Kumar

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