WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is vowing to use “whatever power this office holds” to safeguard the nation’s children, raising the prospect that he will pursue policy changes to stem gun violence in the wake of an elementary school massacre.

“Because what choice do we have?” a somber Obama said at a Sunday evening vigil in the grieving community of Newtown, Conn. “We can’t accept events like this as routine. Are we really prepared to say that we’re powerless in the face of such carnage? That the politics are too hard?”

The newly re-elected president offered few specifics about how he planned to proceed, saying only that he will engage with law enforcement, mental health professionals, parents and educators in the coming weeks. Just days after the shooting at an elementary school, Obama is already facing pressure from fellow Democrats and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to tackle gun control legislation, a contentious issue he avoided as he sought a second term.

But Friday’s shooting, which left 20 children and eight adults dead, appears to have spurred some soul-searching by Obama, who told Connecticut’s governor that Friday was the most difficult day of his presidency. Speaking to families of the victims and first responders, Obama said Sunday that he had been reflecting on whether the country was doing enough to give its children “the chance they deserve to live out their lives in happiness and with purpose.”

“And if we’re honest with ourselves, the answer is no. We’re not doing enough, and we will have to change,” Obama said.

Sunday marked the fourth time in Obama’s presidency that he has traveled to a community shaken by a mass shooting. Just this summer, he made a similar visit to Aurora, Colo., where a dozen people were killed in a movie theater attack.

Drawing on his past experiences, Obama said he was mindful that mere words would not be enough to heal the depths of Newtown’s sorrow.

“I can only hope that it helps for you to know that you are not alone in your grief,” Obama said during the vigil, which followed his private meeting with families of the victims.

The president closed his remarks by reading the first names of the kids, slowly, in the most wrenching moment of the night. Cries and sobs filled the room.

Said Obama of the girls and boys who died: “God has called them all home. For those of us who remain, let us find the strength to carry on and make our country worthy of their memory.”

Inside the room, children held stuffed teddy bears and dogs. The smallest kids sat on their parents’ laps.

There were tears and hugs, but also smiles and squeezed arms. Mixed with disbelief was a sense of a community reacquainting itself all at once.

One man said it was less mournful, more familial. Some kids chatted easily with their friends. The adults embraced each other in support.

“We’re halfway between grief and hope,” said Curt Brantl, whose daughter was in the library of the elementary school when the shootings occurred. She was not harmed.

Police and firefighters got hugs and standing ovations when they entered. So did Obama.

“We needed this,” said the Rev. Matt Crebbin, senior minister of the Newtown Congregational Church. “We needed to be together to show that we are together and united.”

The shootings have restarted a debate in Washington about what politicians can to do help — gun control or otherwise. Obama has called for “meaningful action” to prevent killings.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said Sunday she will introduce legislation next year to ban new assault weapons, as well as big clips, drums and strips of more than 10 bullets.

Police say the gunman, Adam Lanza, was carrying an arsenal of ammunition big enough to kill just about every student in the school if given enough time. He massacred 20 students and six teachers and administrators before shooting himself in the head just as he heard police drawing near, authorities said.

A Connecticut official said the gunman’s mother was found dead in her pajamas in bed, shot four times in the head with a.22-caliber rifle. The killer then went to the school with guns he took from his mother and began blasting his way through the building.

“There is no blame to be laid on us but there is a great burden and a great challenge that we emerge whole,” First Select Woman Patricia Llodra said. “It is a defining moment for our town, but it does not define us.”

(Photo: AP)

3 thoughts on “President Barack Obama Signals Action Following School Shooting

  1. I think every will agree to rights of citizens. At the same time CITIZENS should be responsible. Will the latter happen, NO. Where there is no responsibility there should be law. Rules prevent chaos and that’s exactly what didn’t happen in CT because there were not enough rules. Stricer laws would maybe catch SOME of those who shoultdn’t have weapons (mentally incompetent, etc.) but it won’t prevent those who want guns from getting them if they are persistent. Please remember that the 2nd Amendment was ratified in 1791 a time when this nation wasn’t a nation at all and the right to bear arms was necessary because EVERYONE was part of the militia. At the time I think there were like 3 million plus people in the UNION and Virginia ranked highest with almost 700K -yet people were only counted if they were white. The need for the 2nd Amendment then was mainly due to the need to protect the UNION! Today we have police, National Guards, etc. to do that job and they are GOOD at it. I could talk about this all day but just think of this: If all guns were taken away from all non-police citizens could you protect your family? Of course you could because you would kick the heck out of anyone who threatened your family in a fist fight. Yesterday would have never happened because this mentally damaged kid would have entered this school and gotten his butt whipped!

    If guns were only given to those charged with keeping the peace and penalties for possession of a firearm were so high that one would think thrice about it how many police officers would NOT have been killed in the line of duty?; how many innocent bystanders would NOT have been laid to rest?; how many of the children in CT would have woken up the next morning?

  2. Pingback: President Barack Obama Signals Action Following School Shooting | Praise 1300

  3. At what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, and to pull down, and to destroy it;

    8 If that nation, against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them. And at what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it;

    10 If it do evil in my sight, that it obey not my voice, then I will repent of the good, wherewith I said I would benefit them. Jeremiah 18:7-10

    People should choose Life everyday..instead some choose to Do evil..because that is what they Will to do. You can’t help but to do evil because that is what some are..God is the potter we are the clay that are being molded for His glory..vessels of honor & dishonor. Who are YOU mere mortal to direct or to command God to do something. When the story about Sandy Hook is all over I’m so sure people will choose Halloween..horror movies…hatred…abortion.. mocking…& Lies.. There’s nothing new under the sun. We say we love God who has an appointment next week? It’s none of my business go do what you do.

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