WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) — President Barack Obama’s Twitter account retweeted a picture of John Lennon’s bloody glasses that he wore when he was killed at the hands of Mark David Chapman.
The picture was first put up by Lennon’s widow Yoko Ono on her Twitter account in an effort to denounce gun violence.
“Over 1,057,000 people have been killed by guns in the USA since John Lennon was shot and killed on 8 Dec 1980,” Yoko tweeted Thursday with the picture.
She continued: “The death of a loved one is a hollowing experience. After 33 years our son Sean and I still miss him.”
Organizing for Action – a nonprofit organization started by Obama’s former campaign manager which runs the president’s Twitter account – retweeted the post to its nearly 29 million followers as the fight over gun control legislation heats up.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Thursday that next month’s debate on gun control legislation will include an expansion of federal background checks for firearms buyers.
The announcement underscores that Democrats intend to take an aggressive approach in the effort to broaden the checks, currently required for transactions involving federally licensed firearms dealers but not private sales at gun shows or online.
Obama and many supporters of curbing guns consider an expansion of the system to private gun sales to be the most effective response lawmakers could take in the wake of December’s elementary school massacre in Newtown, Conn. The system is designed to keep guns from criminals, people with serious mental problems and others considered potentially dangerous.
The overall gun measure will also include legislation boosting penalties for illegal gun trafficking and modestly expanding a grant program for school security, said Reid, D-Nev. Its fate remains uncertain, and it will all but certainly need Republican support to survive.
Reid said that during Congress’ upcoming two-week break, he hopes senators will strike a bipartisan compromise on broadening background checks. Without a deal, he indicated the gun bill would include a stricter version approved this month by the Senate Judiciary Committee and authored by Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., expanding the system to virtually all private gun transactions with few exceptions.
“I want to be clear: In order to be effective, any bill that passes the Senate must include background checks,” Reid said in a written statement.
Opponents including the National Rifle Association say background checks are easily sidestepped by criminals and threaten creation of a government file on gun owners — which is illegal under federal law.
“We remain as committed as we have been to opposing gun bans. History shows us that gun bans don’t work to reduce crimes,” said Andrew Arulanandam, an NRA spokesman. He declined to comment on a potential compromise but said if the Senate considers Schumer’s version of background checks, “We will do whatever we can to defeat it.”
The NRA wants Congress to fund more armed guards at schools, step up prosecutions of people who file false gun applications and increase the background check system’s access to state records of people with serious mental illness and other problems.
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