Gun-control issue hits boiling point

President pledges to act

  • Women embrace at the site of a makeshift memorial for school shooting victims at the village of Sandy Hook in Newtown, Conn., on Sunday, Dec. 16, 2012. A gunman opened fire at Sandy Hook Elementary School in the town, killing 26 people, including 20 children, before killing himself on Friday. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)Women embrace at the site of a makeshift memorial for school shooting victims at the village of Sandy Hook in Newtown, Conn., on Sunday, Dec. 16, 2012. A gunman opened fire at Sandy Hook Elementary School in the town, killing 26 people, including 20 children, before killing himself on Friday. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
  • Jessica Henderson, 19, walks past a sign with a bouquet of flowers to lay at a memorial at the Sandy Hook School in Newtown, Conn., on Saturday, Dec. 15, 2012. The massacre of 26 children and adults at Sandy Hook Elementary school elicited horror and soul-searching around the world even as it raised more basic questions about why the gunman, 20-year-old Adam Lanza, would have been driven to such a crime and how he chose his victims. (AP Photo/Allen Breed)

Jessica Henderson, 19, walks past a sign with a bouquet of flowers to lay at a memorial at the Sandy Hook School in Newtown, Conn., on Saturday, Dec. 15, 2012. The massacre of 26 children and adults at Sandy Hook Elementary school elicited horror and soul-searching around the world even as it raised more basic questions about why the gunman, 20-year-old Adam Lanza, would have been driven to such a crime and how he chose his victims. (AP Photo/Allen Breed)
  • A man clutches two sobbing women at the site of a makeshift memorial for school shooting victims at the village of Sandy Hook in Newtown, Conn., on Sunday, Dec. 16, 2012. A gunman opened fire at the Sandy Hook Elementary School, killing 26 people, including 20 children, before killing himself on Friday. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

A man clutches two sobbing women at the site of a makeshift memorial for school shooting victims at the village of Sandy Hook in Newtown, Conn., on Sunday, Dec. 16, 2012. A gunman opened fire at the Sandy Hook Elementary School, killing 26 people, including 20 children, before killing himself on Friday. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
  • A priest embraces a woman outside St. Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church between Masses on Sunday, Dec. 16, 2012, in Newtown, Conn. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)A priest embraces a woman outside St. Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church between Masses on Sunday, Dec. 16, 2012, in Newtown, Conn. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
  • Daniel Barden (Family handout)Daniel Barden (Family handout)
  • A man reacts placing candles on a makeshift memorial in honor of the victims who died a day earlier when a gunman opened fire in an elementary school, Saturday, Dec. 15, 2012, in Newtown, Conn. The man, who died from a self-inflicted wound, allegedly killed his mother at their home and then opened fire Friday inside the Sandy Hook Elementary school, massacring 26 people, including 20 children. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)A man reacts placing candles on a makeshift memorial in honor of the victims who died a day earlier when a gunman opened fire in an elementary school, Saturday, Dec. 15, 2012, in Newtown, Conn. The man, who died from a self-inflicted wound, allegedly killed his mother at their home and then opened fire Friday inside the Sandy Hook Elementary school, massacring 26 people, including 20 children. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
  • A message is seen on a candle outside the St. Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church, Saturday, Dec. 15, 2012, in Newtown, Conn. A man killed his mother at their home and then opened fire Friday inside the Sandy Hook Elementary school, massacring 26 people, including 20 children, as youngsters cowered in fear to the sound of gunshots reverberating through the building and screams echoing over the intercom. (AP Photo/David Goldman)A message is seen on a candle outside the St. Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church, Saturday, Dec. 15, 2012, in Newtown, Conn. A man killed his mother at their home and then opened fire Friday inside the Sandy Hook Elementary school, massacring 26 people, including 20 children, as youngsters cowered in fear to the sound of gunshots reverberating through the building and screams echoing over the intercom. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
  • ** FILE ** Parents walk away from the Sandy Hook Elementary School with their children following a mass shooting at the school on Friday, Dec. 14, 2012, in Newtown, Conn. Twenty schoolchildren and six adults were killed. (AP Photo/The Journal News, Frank Becerra Jr.)** FILE ** Parents walk away from the Sandy Hook Elementary School with their children following a mass shooting at the school on Friday, Dec. 14, 2012, in Newtown, Conn. Twenty schoolchildren and six adults were killed. (AP Photo/The Journal News, Frank Becerra Jr.)
  • A couple of volunteer firefighters place flowers at a makeshift memorial at a sign for the Sandy Hook Elementary school, Saturday, Dec. 15, 2012, in Sandy Hook village of Newtown, Conn. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

A couple of volunteer firefighters place flowers at a makeshift memorial at a sign for the Sandy Hook Elementary school, Saturday, Dec. 15, 2012, in Sandy Hook village of Newtown, Conn. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
  • In this photo provided by the Newtown Bee, Connecticut State Police lead children from the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., following a reported shooting there Friday, Dec. 14, 2012.  (AP Photo/Newtown Bee, Shannon Hicks)  In this photo provided by the Newtown Bee, Connecticut State Police lead children from the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., following a reported shooting there Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. (AP Photo/Newtown Bee, Shannon Hicks)
  • A woman waits to hear about her sister, a teacher, following a shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., about 60 miles (96 kilometers) northeast of New York City, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. An official with knowledge of Friday's shooting said 27 people were dead, including 18 children. It was the worst school shooting in the country's history. (AP Photo/The New Haven Register, Melanie Stengel) A woman waits to hear about her sister, a teacher, following a shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., about 60 miles (96 kilometers) northeast of New York City, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. An official with knowledge of Friday's shooting said 27 people were dead, including 18 children. It was the worst school shooting in the country's history. (AP Photo/The New Haven Register, Melanie Stengel)
  • Victims family leave a firehouse staging area following a shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., about 60 miles (96 kilometers) northeast of New York City, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. An official with knowledge of Friday's shooting said 27 people were dead, including 18 children.  (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)Victims family leave a firehouse staging area following a shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., about 60 miles (96 kilometers) northeast of New York City, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. An official with knowledge of Friday's shooting said 27 people were dead, including 18 children. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
  • A woman waits to hear about her sister, a teacher, following a shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., about 60 miles (96 kilometers) northeast of New York City, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. An official with knowledge of Friday's shooting said 27 people were dead, including 18 children. It was the worst school shooting in the country's history. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)A woman waits to hear about her sister, a teacher, following a shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., about 60 miles (96 kilometers) northeast of New York City, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. An official with knowledge of Friday's shooting said 27 people were dead, including 18 children. It was the worst school shooting in the country's history. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
  • A mother hugs her daughter following the shootings at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., about 60 miles northeast of New York City, on Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. (AP Photo/The New Haven Register, Melanie Stengel)  A mother hugs her daughter following the shootings at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., about 60 miles northeast of New York City, on Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. (AP Photo/The New Haven Register, Melanie Stengel)
  • This satellite image provided by Google shows the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. A shooting at the school Friday, Dec. 14, 2012, left the gunman dead and at least one teacher wounded. (AP Photo/Google)This satellite image provided by Google shows the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. A shooting at the school Friday, Dec. 14, 2012, left the gunman dead and at least one teacher wounded. (AP Photo/Google)
  • Law enforcement canvass an area nearby a school shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., about 60 miles (96 kilometers) northeast of New York City, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. An official with knowledge of Friday's shooting said 27 people were dead, including 18 children. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)Law enforcement canvass an area nearby a school shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., about 60 miles (96 kilometers) northeast of New York City, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. An official with knowledge of Friday's shooting said 27 people were dead, including 18 children. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
  • Heavily armed Connecticut State troopers are on the scene at the Sandy Hook School following a shooting at the school, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012 in Newtown, Conn. A man opened fire inside the Connecticut elementary school where his mother worked Friday, killing 26 people, including 18 children, and forcing students to cower in classrooms and then flee with the help of teachers and police. (AP Photo/The Journal News, Frank Becerra Jr.) MANDATORY CREDIT, NYC OUT, NO SALES, TV OUT, NEWSDAY OUT; MAGS OUTHeavily armed Connecticut State troopers are on the scene at the Sandy Hook School following a shooting at the school, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012 in Newtown, Conn. A man opened fire inside the Connecticut elementary school where his mother worked Friday, killing 26 people, including 18 children, and forcing students to cower in classrooms and then flee with the help of teachers and police. (AP Photo/The Journal News, Frank Becerra Jr.) MANDATORY CREDIT, NYC OUT, NO SALES, TV OUT, NEWSDAY OUT; MAGS OUT
  • Teachers walk away from the Sandy Hook School following a shooting  at the school, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012 in Newtown, Conn. A man opened fire inside the Connecticut elementary school where his mother worked Friday, killing 26 people, including 18 children, and forcing students to cower in classrooms and then flee with the help of teachers and police. (AP Photo/The Journal News, Frank Becerra Jr.) MANDATORY CREDIT, NYC OUT, NO SALES, TV OUT, NEWSDAY OUT; MAGS OUTTeachers walk away from the Sandy Hook School following a shooting at the school, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012 in Newtown, Conn. A man opened fire inside the Connecticut elementary school where his mother worked Friday, killing 26 people, including 18 children, and forcing students to cower in classrooms and then flee with the help of teachers and police. (AP Photo/The Journal News, Frank Becerra Jr.) MANDATORY CREDIT, NYC OUT, NO SALES, TV OUT, NEWSDAY OUT; MAGS OUT
  • Parents leave a staging area after being reunited with their children following the shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., about 60 miles northeast of New York, on Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. Twenty schoolchildren and six staff members died in the rampage. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)Parents leave a staging area after being reunited with their children following the shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., about 60 miles northeast of New York, on Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. Twenty schoolchildren and six staff members died in the rampage. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
  • School children wait for their parents at the Sandy Hook firehouse following a mass shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. on Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. (AP Photo/The Journal News, Frank Becerra Jr.) NYC OUT, NO SALES, TV OUT, NEWSDAY OUT; MAGS OUT; MANDATORY CREDIT: THE JOURNAL NEWS, FRANK BECERRA JR.School children wait for their parents at the Sandy Hook firehouse following a mass shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. on Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. (AP Photo/The Journal News, Frank Becerra Jr.) NYC OUT, NO SALES, TV OUT, NEWSDAY OUT; MAGS OUT; MANDATORY CREDIT: THE JOURNAL NEWS, FRANK BECERRA JR.
  • Heavily armed Connecticut State troopers are on the scene at the Sandy Hook School following a shooting at the school, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012 in Newtown, Conn. A man opened fire inside the Connecticut elementary school where his mother worked Friday, killing 26 people, including 18 children, and forcing students to cower in classrooms and then flee with the help of teachers and police. (AP Photo/The Journal News, Frank Becerra Jr.) MANDATORY CREDIT, NYC OUT, NO SALES, TV OUT, NEWSDAY OUT; MAGS OUTHeavily armed Connecticut State troopers are on the scene at the Sandy Hook School following a shooting at the school, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012 in Newtown, Conn. A man opened fire inside the Connecticut elementary school where his mother worked Friday, killing 26 people, including 18 children, and forcing students to cower in classrooms and then flee with the help of teachers and police. (AP Photo/The Journal News, Frank Becerra Jr.) MANDATORY CREDIT, NYC OUT, NO SALES, TV OUT, NEWSDAY OUT; MAGS OUT
  • President Obama wipes his eye as he talks in the White House briefing room in Washington about the Connecticut elementary school shooting on Dec. 14, 2012. (Associated Press)President Obama wipes his eye as he talks in the White House briefing room in Washington about the Connecticut elementary school shooting on Dec. 14, 2012. (Associated Press)
  • Parents walk away from the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., on Friday, Dec. 14, 2012, after a gunman killed 20 schoolchildren and 6 adults there. (AP Photo/The Journal News, Frank Becerra Jr.)Parents walk away from the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., on Friday, Dec. 14, 2012, after a gunman killed 20 schoolchildren and 6 adults there. (AP Photo/The Journal News, Frank Becerra Jr.)
  • Parents walk away from the Sandy Hook School with their children following a shooting at the school Friday, Dec. 14, 2012 in Newtown, Conn. A man opened fire inside the Connecticut elementary school where his mother worked Friday, killing 26 people, including 18 children, and forcing students to cower in classrooms and then flee with the help of teachers and police. (AP Photo/The Journal News, Frank Becerra Jr.) MANDATORY CREDIT, NYC OUT, NO SALES, ONLINE OUT, TV OUT, NEWSDAY OUT; MAGS OUTParents walk away from the Sandy Hook School with their children following a shooting at the school Friday, Dec. 14, 2012 in Newtown, Conn. A man opened fire inside the Connecticut elementary school where his mother worked Friday, killing 26 people, including 18 children, and forcing students to cower in classrooms and then flee with the help of teachers and police. (AP Photo/The Journal News, Frank Becerra Jr.) MANDATORY CREDIT, NYC OUT, NO SALES, ONLINE OUT, TV OUT, NEWSDAY OUT; MAGS OUT
  • Teachers walk away from the Sandy Hook School following a shooting at the school Friday, Dec. 14, 2012 in Newtown, Conn. A man opened fire inside the Connecticut elementary school where his mother worked Friday, killing 26 people, including 18 children, and forcing students to cower in classrooms and then flee with the help of teachers and police. (AP Photo/The Journal News, Frank Becerra Jr.) MANDATORY CREDIT, NYC OUT, NO SALES, TV OUT, NEWSDAY OUT; MAGS OUTTeachers walk away from the Sandy Hook School following a shooting at the school Friday, Dec. 14, 2012 in Newtown, Conn. A man opened fire inside the Connecticut elementary school where his mother worked Friday, killing 26 people, including 18 children, and forcing students to cower in classrooms and then flee with the help of teachers and police. (AP Photo/The Journal News, Frank Becerra Jr.) MANDATORY CREDIT, NYC OUT, NO SALES, TV OUT, NEWSDAY OUT; MAGS OUT
  • School children wait for their parents at the Sandy Hook firehouse following a mass shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School  Friday, Dec. 14, 2012 in Newtown, Conn. A man opened fire inside the Connecticut elementary school where his mother worked Friday, killing 26 people, including 18 children, and forcing students to cower in classrooms and then flee with the help of teachers and police. (AP Photo/The Journal News, Frank Becerra Jr.) MANDATORY CREDIT, NYC OUT, NO SALES, TV OUT, NEWSDAY OUT; MAGS OUTSchool children wait for their parents at the Sandy Hook firehouse following a mass shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School Friday, Dec. 14, 2012 in Newtown, Conn. A man opened fire inside the Connecticut elementary school where his mother worked Friday, killing 26 people, including 18 children, and forcing students to cower in classrooms and then flee with the help of teachers and police. (AP Photo/The Journal News, Frank Becerra Jr.) MANDATORY CREDIT, NYC OUT, NO SALES, TV OUT, NEWSDAY OUT; MAGS OUT
  • A woman weeps as she arrives to pick up her children at the Sandy Hook Elementary School, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012 in Newtown, Conn. A man opened fire inside the Connecticut elementary school where his mother worked Friday, killing 26 people, including 18 children, and forcing students to cower in classrooms and then flee with the help of teachers and police. (AP Photo/The Journal News, Frank Becerra Jr.) MANDATORY CREDIT, NYC OUT, NO SALES, TV OUT, NEWSDAY OUT; MAGS OUTA woman weeps as she arrives to pick up her children at the Sandy Hook Elementary School, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012 in Newtown, Conn. A man opened fire inside the Connecticut elementary school where his mother worked Friday, killing 26 people, including 18 children, and forcing students to cower in classrooms and then flee with the help of teachers and police. (AP Photo/The Journal News, Frank Becerra Jr.) MANDATORY CREDIT, NYC OUT, NO SALES, TV OUT, NEWSDAY OUT; MAGS OUT
  • A woman hugs her daughter after being reunited at the Sandy Hook firehouse after a mass shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., on Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. (AP Photo/The Journal News, Frank Becerra Jr.)A woman hugs her daughter after being reunited at the Sandy Hook firehouse after a mass shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., on Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. (AP Photo/The Journal News, Frank Becerra Jr.)
  • Ambulances leave an area near the scene of a shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., about 60 miles (96 kilometers) northeast of New York City, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. An official with knowledge of Friday's shooting said 27 people were dead, including 18 children.  (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)Ambulances leave an area near the scene of a shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., about 60 miles (96 kilometers) northeast of New York City, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. An official with knowledge of Friday's shooting said 27 people were dead, including 18 children. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
  • People embrace at a firehouse staging area for family around near the scene of a shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., about 60 miles (96 kilometers) northeast of New York City, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. An official with knowledge of Friday's shooting said 27 people were dead, including 18 children.  (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)People embrace at a firehouse staging area for family around near the scene of a shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., about 60 miles (96 kilometers) northeast of New York City, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. An official with knowledge of Friday's shooting said 27 people were dead, including 18 children. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
  • A man and woman leave the staging area for family around near the scene of a shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., about 60 miles (96 kilometers) northeast of New York City, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. An official with knowledge of Friday's shooting said 27 people were dead, including 18 children.  (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)A man and woman leave the staging area for family around near the scene of a shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., about 60 miles (96 kilometers) northeast of New York City, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. An official with knowledge of Friday's shooting said 27 people were dead, including 18 children. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
  • Law enforcement canvass an area following a shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., about 60 miles (96 kilometers) northeast of New York City, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. An official with knowledge of Friday's shooting said 27 people were dead, including 18 children.  (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)Law enforcement canvass an area following a shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., about 60 miles (96 kilometers) northeast of New York City, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. An official with knowledge of Friday's shooting said 27 people were dead, including 18 children. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
  • A young girl is comforted following a shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., about 60 miles (96 kilometers) northeast of New York City, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. An official with knowledge of Friday's shooting said 27 people were dead, including 18 children. It was the worst school shooting in the country's history. (AP Photo/The New Haven Register, Melanie Stengel)  A young girl is comforted following a shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., about 60 miles (96 kilometers) northeast of New York City, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. An official with knowledge of Friday's shooting said 27 people were dead, including 18 children. It was the worst school shooting in the country's history. (AP Photo/The New Haven Register, Melanie Stengel)
  • A woman weeps as she arrives to pick up her children at the Sandy Hook Elementary School, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012 in Newtown, Conn. A man opened fire inside the Connecticut elementary school where his mother worked Friday, killing 26 people, including 18 children, and forcing students to cower in classrooms and then flee with the help of teachers and police. (AP Photo/The Journal News, Frank Becerra Jr.) MANDATORY CREDIT, NYC OUT, NO SALES, TV OUT, NEWSDAY OUT; MAGS OUTA woman weeps as she arrives to pick up her children at the Sandy Hook Elementary School, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012 in Newtown, Conn. A man opened fire inside the Connecticut elementary school where his mother worked Friday, killing 26 people, including 18 children, and forcing students to cower in classrooms and then flee with the help of teachers and police. (AP Photo/The Journal News, Frank Becerra Jr.) MANDATORY CREDIT, NYC OUT, NO SALES, TV OUT, NEWSDAY OUT; MAGS OUT
  • A man reacts following a shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., about 60 miles (96 kilometers) northeast of New York City, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. An official with knowledge of Friday's shooting said 27 people were dead, including 18 children. It was the worst school shooting in the country's history. (AP Photo/The New Haven Register, Melanie Stengel)  A man reacts following a shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., about 60 miles (96 kilometers) northeast of New York City, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. An official with knowledge of Friday's shooting said 27 people were dead, including 18 children. It was the worst school shooting in the country's history. (AP Photo/The New Haven Register, Melanie Stengel)
  • A young girl cires following a shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., about 60 miles (96 kilometers) northeast of New York City, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. An official with knowledge of Friday's shooting said 27 people were dead, including 18 children. (AP Photo/The New Haven Register, Melanie Stengel)  A young girl cires following a shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., about 60 miles (96 kilometers) northeast of New York City, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. An official with knowledge of Friday's shooting said 27 people were dead, including 18 children. (AP Photo/The New Haven Register, Melanie Stengel)
  • Parents leave a staging area after being reunited with their children following a shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., about 60 miles (96 kilometers) northeast of New York City, on Dec. 14, 2012. It was the worst school shooting in the country's history. (Associated Press)Parents leave a staging area after being reunited with their children following a shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., about 60 miles (96 kilometers) northeast of New York City, on Dec. 14, 2012. It was the worst school shooting in the country's history. (Associated Press)
  • Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, right, talks with officials at a staging area following a shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., about 60 miles (96 kilometers) northeast of New York City, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. An official with knowledge of Friday's shooting said 27 people were dead, including 18 children. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, right, talks with officials at a staging area following a shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., about 60 miles (96 kilometers) northeast of New York City, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. An official with knowledge of Friday's shooting said 27 people were dead, including 18 children. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
  • A mother runs with her children as police above canvass homes in the area following a shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., about 60 miles (96 kilometers) northeast of New York City, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. An official with knowledge of Friday's shooting said 27 people were dead, including 18 children. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)A mother runs with her children as police above canvass homes in the area following a shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., about 60 miles (96 kilometers) northeast of New York City, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. An official with knowledge of Friday's shooting said 27 people were dead, including 18 children. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
  • Two people embrace following a service at the Congregation Adath Israel in Newtown, Conn., Saturday, Dec. 15, 2012. Rabbi Shaul Praver said a six-year-old boy from the congregation was a school shooting victim and that he would be buried on Sunday. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)Two people embrace following a service at the Congregation Adath Israel in Newtown, Conn., Saturday, Dec. 15, 2012. Rabbi Shaul Praver said a six-year-old boy from the congregation was a school shooting victim and that he would be buried on Sunday. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

President Obama on Sunday night pledged the remainder of his presidency to taking steps to end the string of spree shootings that have scarred the nation’s consciousness in recent years.

Addressing both the grief-stricken Newtown, Conn., residents packed into a crowded high school auditorium and an outraged nation watching the televised speech at home, the president said tragedies like the shooting that claimed the lives of 20 children and six adults inside Sandy Hook Elementary must end.

“I’ll use whatever power this office holds to engage my fellow citizens,” the president said, “in an effort aimed at preventing more tragedies like this. Because, what choice do we have?

“Are we really prepared to say that we’re powerless in the face of such carnage?” he said. “That the politics are too hard? Are we prepared to say that such violence visited upon our children year after year is simply the price of our freedom?”

The president stopped short of describing specific legislation, but new gun-control measures are already coming together on Capitol Hill, where Democrats are promising action in the wake of the Friday massacre in Newtown, in which a 20-year-old man armed with three semiautomatic weapons broke into a school and executed two classrooms full of children and the adults who tried to protect them.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, California Democrat (Associated Press)

Enlarge Photo

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, California Democrat (Associated Press) more >

Sen. Dianne Feinstein said Sunday that she would introduce a bill to reinstate the federal ban on assault weapons on the first day of the next Congress in January as gun-control advocates pressure Mr. Obama to tackle the issue in the wake of the school massacre Friday.

The shooting deaths could force the president to tackle an issue that was largely on the sidelines during his first term in office as he dealt with an anemic economy, perpetual overseas tumult and a bruising battle to push his health care overhaul through Congress.

“It will ban the sale, the transfer, the importation and the possession, not retroactively, but prospectively,” Mrs. Feinstein, California Democrat, said of her bill on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “We exempt over 900 specific weapons that will not fall under the bill. But the purpose of this bill is to get … weapons of war off the streets.

“I think America is ready,” she said, adding that she thinks Mr. Obama will support the bill.

The president said in his weekly address Saturday that “we have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this. Regardless of the politics.”

Rep. Jerrold Nadler, New York Democrat and a staunch gun-control advocate, said if now isn’t the time to have a serious discussion about gun control, he doesn’t know when that time is.

“How many more Columbines and Newtowns must we live through?” he said. “I am challenging President Obama, the Congress and the American public to act on our outrage and, finally, do something about this.”

Sen. Joe Lieberman, Connecticut independent, and Sen. Richard J. Durbin, Illinois Democrat, said on “Fox News Sunday” that they support reinstating the federal ban on assault weapons, which took effect in 1994 and lapsed in 2004. Other Connecticut Democrats, such as Sen. Richard Blumenthal and Sen.-elect Christopher S. Murphy, said action must be taken soon, but they were focused on the victims’ families in the immediate future.

Gun-control advocacy groups are pushing Mr. Obama hard to pursue specific policy.

Ladd Everitt, a spokesman for the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, said Sunday that the group is “tremendously disturbed” by the incident and “our feeling is that we never should have allowed our country to reach this point.”

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