On the fourth anniversary of the Sandy Hook elementary school mass shooting, President Obama said he still believes the U.S. can muster the “courage” to enact more gun laws.
“I still believe that there are enough good people on both sides of this issue who care more about protecting our kids than defending effortless access to guns for those who would do our kids harm,” Mr. Obama said in a Facebook post. “I still believe we have the courage to change.”
In December 2012, a young man with a history of behavioral problems shot and killed 20 first-graders and six adult educators at the school in Newtown, Connecticut. He committed suicide as police closed in.
Mr. Obama used the shooting to prod Congress in early 2013 to enact universal background checks on gun purchases, but the effort was blocked by Republican lawmakers the Senate. Since then, the president has abandoned legislative efforts on gun control in favor of issuing executive actions to add more restrictions on firearms.
The president, who visited with the victims’ families two days after the shooting, said he still shares their grief.
“We’re still inspired by the survivors and the families who have worked to make a difference. And we’ve tried to change,” he said. “My administration has taken action to tighten the background check system and make it more efficient, strengthen enforcement of existing laws, boost gun safety technology, and help more Americans suffering with mental illness get the help they need.”
But he said Congress “failed to pass gun safety reforms, including universal background checks that had the bipartisan support of the vast majority of Americans, even as more mass shootings have riddled America in the years since.”