President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama will observe a moment of silence at the White House Saturday in honor of victims of the Newtown, Conn., school shooting on the one-year anniversary of the massacre.
The White House said the Obamas will honor “the lives and legacy” of the victims of the shooting at the Sandy Hook elementary school. Twenty first-graders and six adult educators at the school were killed by a lone gunman, who then killed himself.
After the shootings, the president sought to impose tighter gun restrictions in Congress, a move that was rejected by the Senate.
On Capitol Hill, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, pledged Friday to continue the fight on gun-purchase background checks, saying that “the American people will prevail on this issue” and that those who are trying to stop such legislation “should be embarrassed [and] ashamed of themselves.”
“As it did a year ago, my heart goes out to the families and those little angels, to all of those affected by this tragedy,” Mr. Reid said on the chamber floor, reading the names of those killed at Sandy Hook. Mr. Reid said the educators who gave their lives to keep the children safe are “a source of hope in a world that sometimes seems hopeless.”
In April, legislation that would have expanded gun-purchase background checks to sales online and at gun shows failed to pass in the Senate. Currently, only federally-licensed dealers are required to perform the checks.
But Mr. Reid said he was proud of his caucus for fighting on the issue.
“[A]t a time when more than 30,000 Americans are killed by guns each year, it’s shameful that the United States Senate can’t pass gun safety legislation [that] would protect our most vulnerable citizens — our kids, our children, our babies,” he continued.
Mr. Reid reiterated his pledge to the families and other victims of gun violence that “Senate Democrats will not give up on them.”
“Last December, I promised the families a meaningful conversation about how to change America’s culture of violence,” he said. “I want everyone within the sound of my voice to know that the conversation is not over. The American people will prevail on this issue. … It’s only a question of when it happens.”