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Kerry: Foreign students 'scared' of US gun violence

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The secretary of State said Japan, where firearm ownership is exceedingly rare and not a constitutionally protected right, was a safer place “where people are not running around with guns.”

Japan's severe restrictions on gun ownership mean that gun deaths are rare in the country. In 2011, the country reported 11 gun deaths; by contrast, the United States had 8,583 gun deaths.

President Obama has called for a package of new gun restrictions in the aftermath of last year's Newtown, Conn. elementary school shooting that left 20 children and six educators dead.

The Senate is currently debating a bill that would expand background checks on weapons sales and penalties for straw purchases of weapons, but it is unclear whether the package will have the 60 votes necessary to proceed or if the Republican-controlled House would act on a successful Senate bill.