Obama Pledges ‘Meaningful Action’ After Connecticut Shooting

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Wiping tears from his eyes, President Barack Obama urged the nation to “come together” in the wake of a shooting that left more than two dozen people dead, many of them children, Friday morning at a Connecticut elementary school.

“We’ve endured too many of these tragedies in the past few years,” Obama said in brief remarks Friday afternoon at the White House, some six hours after a gunman in his 20s reportedly opened fire in a kindergarten classroom.

(LIVE BLOG: Connecticut School Shooting: 20 Children, 6 Adults, Gunman Confirmed Dead)

According to the Associated Press and other news outlets, the grisly massacre — which unfolded at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in the wooded enclave of Newtown, Conn., some 70 miles northeast of New York City — left 27 people dead, including 20 children. Connecticut law enforcement officials said the gunman was among the dead. The preliminary tally would make the massacre among the deadliest in U.S. history, perhaps surpassed only by a 2007 massacre at Virginia Tech University, where a mentally ill student killed 32 people before turning his guns on himself.

His voice halting and cracking, Obama spoke emotionally of the young victims — “beautiful little kids,” he said, between the ages of 5 and 10, who “had their entire lives ahead of them: birthdays, graduations, weddings, kids of their own.” As he has after similar tragedies, Obama invoked his own role as a father as he sought to comfort a community wracked with grief.

The incident is the latest in a sequence of mass shootings around the U.S. in recent years. Obama referenced several in his remarks, including the slayings at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisc., and a rampage at a suburban Denver movie theater last summer. “As a country, we’ve been through this too many times,” Obama said. “We’re going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent tragedies like this, regardless of the politics.”

(PHOTOS: Connecticut Elementary School Copes After Shooting)

Many Americans have called on lawmakers to impose new gun-control regulations in an effort to curb future catastrophes. There is no evidence yet that such measures would have prevented the carnage in Connecticut. Although the gun-rights lobby has stoked fears about Obama’s desire to restrict gun rights, the President signed bills in his first term that allowed the possession of firearms in national parks and on Amtrak trains. His record of modestly expanding gun rights prompted one gun-control group to assail Obama’s “extraordinary silence and passivity,” and award the President an “F” on gun control in 2010. Obama eschewed the topic on the campaign trail this year, though he did allow, during the second presidential debate, that he favored the reintroduction of an assault-weapons ban.

What Obama meant by “meaningful action” was unclear. White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters earlier Friday that a policy debate could wait for another day. Despite the spate of shootings, gun control has been a dormant issue in Congress of late. The stakes of the issue, however, were underlined by Obama’s surroundings as he addressed the public on Friday. He delivered his remarks in the James S. Brady Briefing Room, named for the press secretary who was shot and severely injured during an assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan.

519 comments
Kris O'Brien
Kris O'Brien

Oh. were you there Valerie..you haters are all alike..you need some stronger glasses...we all saw the tears but you folks who cant stand that an educated, loving family man ..a Black man to boot...is YOUR president as well as ours...get over itl...try to extend some of that "christian "love your Jesus supposedly taught all of you...to the leader of this country!

bezrukov
bezrukov

Stalin died in 1953. It was much better time after that with no guns and fear for your kids to be shot in school... We jumped into Socialism-Communism, and skipped Capitalism as the next step of develoment of human sociaty. That was a mistake. We dreamed about happy lives for everyone, and work hard in the begining to build something nice, but waste a lot energy and resources... bad businessmen.

I also troubled by question who could stop Hitler if not another tiron like Stalin? I like German culture, but nazi want to exterminate all Slavic people. Sorry, we are out the topic.

The bottom line, no guns was allowed in Soviet Union, and it was no shooting in schools.

notanut
notanut

The truth about crimes committed in California with assault weapons.These are Stats from California where Ms Feinstein is a Congressman. By the way, she has a Concealed Carry Permit, so her safety is more important than yours.These facts can be found @ http://oag.ca.gov/sites/all/files/pdfs/publications/Firearms_Report_10.pdfOf the 175 firearms crimes reported, there were 158 (90.3 percent) handguns, 12 (6.9 percent)rifles, 4 (2.3 percent) shotguns, and 1 (0.6 percent) full-auto firearm. Of these 175firearms, 9 (5.1 percent) were assault weapons (as defined in California Penal Codesection 12276) and none were classified as short-barreled shotguns or rifles. The mostcommonly encountered caliber was 9 mm Luger, followed by 45 Automatic Colt Pistol(ACP), 40 Smith and Wesson (S&W), and 380 Automatic.Crimes of Violence Other than HomicideOf the firearms examined, 104 (59 percent of the total) were submitted in cases involvingcrimes of violence other than homicide. There were 91 (87.5 percent) handguns, 8 (7.7percent) rifles, 4 (3.8 percent) shotguns, and 1 (1.0 percent) full-auto firearm.Of the 50 firearms (28.6 percent of the total) linked to homicides, there were 45 (90.0percent) handguns, 4 (8.0 percent) rifles, 1 (2.0 percent) shotgun, and no full-auto firearms.Now before you start your rant against handguns, be sure to look at the last stat.Drug Trafficking CrimesOf the 28 firearms (16 percent of the total) reported as being used in drug traffickingcrimes, there were 27 (96.4 percent) handguns, 1 (3.6 percent) rifle, and no shotguns orfull-auto firearms.Street Gang CrimesOf the 12 firearms (6.9 percent of the total) identified as being related to street-gangcrimes, 11 (91.7 percent) were handguns and 1 (8.3 percent) was a shotgun. No riflesor full-auto firearms were reported in this group of 12 firearms.California Assault Weapons - Nine of the firearms reported in 2010 were identified asCalifornia Assault Weapons (as defined in California Penal Code section 12276).This proves my point. Feinstein is using this incident to promote her own political interest, NOT the best interest for our country. I am posting these facts an every public domain I can find. Wake up America, do your research, use the internet and all venues to find the truth.Guns are more likely to be used in the commission of crimes by those who cannot legally own one.

KenyattaBecktemba
KenyattaBecktemba

Sometimes it seems that certain issues generate a lot of heat and not much light.I have been guilty from time to time of doing it myself. However itis for the exact reason that this forum exists. So it's OK to vent.Maybe the POS shooter needed to have a place to vent.A place to use words not bullets. So yes I am pro 2A but Iunderstand the point of the uninformed as I was uninformed at a point inmy life. I use to think the NRA was totallyunreasonable. I would say hey; they (Anti-gun lobby) want to pass or 

amend one little law , whats the big deal? Then I saw how the anti 2apeople lied and misinformed people. ( look up TEFLON bullets). they usedthese things to scare people.Yes it can be said that the NRA does the same but to be honest whenit come down to who is telling the truth; I would say the NRA istelling the Truth 85% VS the anti-2a folk 15 %   I say that as a Obamasupporter and a person who is pissed at the NRA for their outrightembracing of " conservative principles" I am not feeling the NRA rightabout in here; but my statement stands. The truth is the truth.You can be a supporter of 2A and NOT be a NUT job or a Right winger  Life is way to complex for me to close my mind in a right or left box. Opps btw  I am a NRA pistol instructor so take my comments as you will.  I am also a father with kids in school.

paulejb
paulejb

"Meaningful action"

Odd coming from a President who makes it a habit to avoid any meaningful action on the economy, jobs, or defending the Constitution. What "meaningful action" does he have in mind?

LenSimpson
LenSimpson

all out gun control is on the immediate horizon

formerlyjames
formerlyjames

President Obama's memorial speech looked to me like suppressed anger, and most when he said that he will do all he can to prevent another occurrence of such violence.  As he said, this is the 4th time in his administration.  He hit a note in this speech, and I as well am proud of my vote for him, not that I ever had any doubt. 

doddeb
doddeb

Just watched the President's speech at the Newtown memorial service. He sounds pretty commited going forward. This is the guy I voted for.

jmac
jmac

So the brave Republican willing to show up on Sunday Morning Fox to push assault weapons on every teacher  is the Pride of Texas - Gohmert the Lunatic.    Jason Linkins:   "A dissected frog with electric current running through its leg muscles demonstrates a higher level of cognition than Gohmert "   

DrinkerOfTheRye
DrinkerOfTheRye

Obama couldn't risk action before the election, but should have the necessary flexibility now.  Its time to stop those rural, red state regressives from clinging to their guns.

lordanson
lordanson

Were there really ANY tears shed at the White House about these murders?

fitty_three
fitty_three

I'm a believer in gun rights to an extent, BUT:

The idea that only people kill people is officially dead. No individual could kill so effectively without the help of his gun, in this case an assault rifle.

For anyone who argues this point ignores the fact that it is really a partnership between the killer and his gun.

The argument for extreme individualism is better, because it least it's not a denial of some basic facts.  Unfortunately, our founding fathers never felt that extreme individualism is the answer.

I keep hearing people applying some sort of excuses, such as the country is getting worse because God said so, or some other nostrum about ideology or social ills.

What they are doing is really avoiding the issue: the country is getting worse not because there were any more nuts now than there were before, it's because we are awash in guns (in particular, assault rifles) that are too easily available.  I can get drunk, smoke weed, fly into a rage, and order 50 AR-15's online if I wanted to.  

Face it, for those who defend unfettered gun rights:

The country is getting worse as a consequence of your choices.

That is all.

tdinct
tdinct

it is time...  indeed it is long past time that we do the only reasonable thing and that is to amend the second amendment to clearly and strictly limit the type of "arms" a citizen may possess.

gysgt213
gysgt213

Obama shouldn't worry about gun control. He should work to ban gun shows, stores and bullets.  No right to any of them in the 2nd Amend in or our of context.  Also should find a way to stick a probe some where and call it a Right to Life bill.

DonQuixotic
DonQuixotic

@paulejb 

Gun control, hopefully.  You're also willfully blind to anything and everything Obama does, so you're hardly one to criticize "meaningful action".

JJOberhaus
JJOberhaus

Followed by all out mind control!

CerebralSmartie
CerebralSmartie

and never allow any guns in your house if your child is emotionally unstable.

fitty_three
fitty_three

@jmac  

Typical.  Why not pass out guns for free to anyone who wants them?

jmac
jmac

No NRA Rep this morning on the shows.  Frum:  "Mothers AGainst Drunk Driving was a success"   Jason Linkins:  "There wasn't a well-funded well-staffed, hyper-influential pro-drunk driving lobby that had bought all of the politicians."  

DonQuixotic
DonQuixotic

@lordanson 

Yes.  He's a parent.  I'm sure both he and many of his staff shed tears over this, just like many people I know shed tears over it.

You people can be really sick.

fitty_three
fitty_three

@tdinct  

Agreed.  345,000,000 people, just about as many guns, guess what?

This is not rocket surgery.  Profiling will not work.  If every science known to man made it 99.99 % effective, that would leave 140,000 people improperly profiled for disqualification.  I can see the abuses coming on that one...

People should face the fact that there are too many guns and they are too easy to get.  With 18000 gun deaths a year, you can look at the toll as the "price" of liberty or a costly adventure in extreme individualism.

bobell
bobell

@53_3 @jmac Can't do that.  The whole point of peddling guns and ammo is to make money. The NRA is fronting for gum manufacturers; the people are just along for the ride.

lordanson
lordanson

"You people can be really sick", says DonQuixotic. DQ has learned his lesson well from the Stalin101 handbook.

tdinct
tdinct

@53_3 @tdinct  

mere legislation that limits assaault weapons prospectively and provides exceptions for some 300+ weapons, which is what was proposed today on MTP, is not nearly enough.  Given that the majority of the Supreme Court interprets the second amendment as if we live in 1789, passing some laws that tweeks the problem just isn't going to solve the problem.  We need to begin to acknowledge that we live in a society, relatively urban, which demands a new perspective on the availability of guns in that society.  Amending the 2nd amendment will of course not happen in my lifetime (and I ain't that old) but it ought to be part of every debate about gun-control so that we can slowly swing public opinion from the unreality of the red-state perspective on guns to the reality of the way most of us live our lives in this country.

gysgt213
gysgt213

@53_3 @gysgt213 Snark except if you think about  it is the very same tactics the right uses against abortion rights and unions.  

gysgt213
gysgt213

@bobell @53_3 @jmac I think people are actually becoming desensitized to the fact that almost 100% of our politics and policy in this country is not really for what's in the best interest of the country but instead revolves around money and who is going to get that money.  

lordanson
lordanson

So glad to see that you were able to muster up the courage to write a response over twenty-four hours later!

DonQuixotic
DonQuixotic

@lordanson 

No it is not.  It is not nationalize healthcare, it gives business to private sector insurance agencies.  In no way does the government control or mandate healthcare.  It is not Socialism.

As for the GM and Chrysler bailouts, they were a success and the money is making its way back. The alternative would have been a devastating blow to our economy and the loss of an iconic American industry, particularly ironic when people like you harp and scream about Obama not doing enough about unemployment.  The government does not control or run GM or Chrysler, it isn't Socialism.

Thank you for pointing out how little you know about what the world "Socialism" means.  The only drumbeat you march to is Fox and all the lies they pour into your empty head.

lordanson
lordanson

Obamacare is socialistic. Of course, Pelosi was right. It had to be passed after midnight to begin to know what's in that law. The bailout of General Motors and Chrysler were socialistic. Obama seemed to revel during the election that he saved GM. He did have some help from Henry Paulsen with this prior to the 2008 election. If I'm a political vulture, it's because I don't goosestep to the left's drumbeat. I refuse to be taken in by an amateurish display of posturing grief.

DonQuixotic
DonQuixotic

@lordanson 

Name one policy that the Democrats (or Obama) have proposed that is Communistic or Socialistic.  By all means, we'll wait.  53 was right, you are a political vulture.  Why you wouldn't think a parent would shed tears over this tragedy is beyond me.

lordanson
lordanson

The "Stalin101 handbook" joke, as you describe it, couldn't have failed. It seems to have gotten your attention.

AlistairCookie
AlistairCookie

@lordanson If you may or may not understand the intricacies of Communism, then maybe don't go throwing around "Stalin101 handbook" joke fails.

 You were the one who first suggested that no one in the White House shed any tears over the violent and senseless loss of a class of kindergartners.  That was starting off on a useless, insulting, and disgusting foot.

lordanson
lordanson

I may or may not understand the intricacies of Communism or what a Communist is, but it is evident that you do. I will follow your example closely.

lordanson
lordanson

I mean that there is little possibility for a peaceful resolution any longer between conservatives and liberals in America. I believe that fear of the criminal element of society has become secondary to fear of the federal government for almost half of America. This has been festering for fifty years. Any common ground or purpose between Americans is rapidly dissolving. There comes a point where people refuse to be bullied, even if the bullying is codified.

CerebralSmartie
CerebralSmartie

@lordanson what do you mean "There will be war"? Peace is exactly what we need. Your words are troubling.

lordanson
lordanson

Thank you for your personal insults. Another example of liberal "tolerance" on display! Thankfully, because of "tolerant" people like yourself, there can NEVER be a peaceful resolution to America's problems. You have won. There will be war.

BenevolentLawyer
BenevolentLawyer

@lordanson I guess you are one of those that pushed the FAILED "Obama is not one of us" nonsense. Now, is the new word among the Far Right buffoons--that the President is an alien from Mars??? Only an alien would feel no sorrow in the face of such horrific tragedy. So your wild claim makes YOU appear quite heartless and small. 

fitty_three
fitty_three

@gysgt213 @53_3 

I can see profiling going that way.  We would be tripping all over the 1st, 4th and 5th Amendments to preserve unfettered rights under the 2nd.  Check some of my other posts for a bitter idea of my views.  

I'm good with pistols and long guns, with training and certs for pistols.  Ban assault rifles.  They can outshoot machine guns and we can't have those nowadays.