You are currently viewing the printable version of this article, to return to the normal page, please click here.

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 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."

He said the reaction to this massacre is markedly different from what he saw after mass shootings in Columbine, Colo., and Virginia Tech; the attack on Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in Arizona; and the recent killings in Aurora, Colo.

"The response to those shootings was significant, but I have never seen the outrage to what we've seen in the past 48 hours," he said. "The tone of the commentary has shifted from 'Do we do something?' to 'What do we do?' The will is there right now."

Mayors Against Illegal Guns, the group co-chaired by New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, has launched an online petition to "demand a plan" from Mr. Obama and Congress to end gun violence.

Mr. Bloomberg said on NBC's "Meet the Press" that the issue should be Mr. Obama's "No. 1 agenda."

"He's the president of the United States, and if he does nothing during his second term, something like 48,000 Americans will be killed with illegal guns," Mr. Bloomberg said. "That is roughly the number of Americans killed in the whole Vietnam War."

A petition on the White House website to "immediately address the issue of gun control through the introduction of legislation in Congress" has received more than 120,000 signatures since Friday. The White House must respond within 30 days to petitions that acquire at least 25,000 signatures.

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rogers, Washington Republican and chairwoman of the House Republican Conference, cautioned against introducing legislation immediately.

"We need to find out what happened and what drove this individual to this place," she said. "I think we have to be careful about new, suggesting new gun laws. We need to look at what drives a crazy person to do these kinds of actions and make sure that we're enforcing the laws that are currently on the books. And yes, definitely, we need to do everything possible to make sure that something like this never happens again."

The country's response to the Sandy Hook shootings was a topic in pulpits across the country on Sunday.

Speaking to worshippers at the Washington National Cathedral, the Very Rev. Gary R. Hall announced that "enough is enough" and that it was time for the church to take up the gun-control issue and not put it down.

"What does it say about us as a society that we continue to tolerate so much violence against children?" Mr. Hall said. "To my way of thinking, the best way for us to mourn the Sandy Hook shooting is to mobilize the faith community for gun control. ... Today we grieve, but soon we act."

Gun rights advocates say the violence might have been mitigated if people in the school had been armed.

Rep. Louie Gohmert, Texas Republican, said he wished Dawn Hochsprung, the principal of Sandy Hook, who was shot as she ran and attempted to overpower gunman Adam Lanza, had access to a rifle during the shooting spree Friday.

"Hearing the heroic stories of the principal, lunging, trying to protect. ... I wish to God she had had an M-4 [carbine rifle] in her office locked up so when she heard gunfire, she pulls it out, and she didn't have to lunge heroically with nothing in her hands, but she takes him out, takes his head off before he kills those precious kids," Mr. Gohmert said on "Fox News Sunday."

Philip Van Cleave, president of the pro-gun Virginia Citizens Defense League, said that moves to take away assault weapons wouldn't stop events like the one in Connecticut.

"[If] evil wants to strike, it's going to strike," he said. "Everybody in that school was disarmed — that's gun control. And once [Lanza] started, there was no way to stop him. And the police didn't get there in time for all those children and adults."

The National Rifle Association, meanwhile, has gone largely silent. The last entry on the organization's Twitter feed was at 9:36 a.m. Friday, boasting "10 Days of NRA Giveaways — Enter today for a chance to win an auto emergency tool!"

On Dec. 13, a tweet proclaimed that the group's Facebook page had reached 1.7 million "likes," but the page disappeared from the online social-networking site. A spokeswoman for the group said in an email that "until the facts are thoroughly known, NRA will not have any comment."

Jerry Seper contributed to this report.

© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Comments
blog comments powered by Disqus
TWT Video Picks