Entries in School Shooting (5)


PHOTO: Obama Hears of Sandy Hook Shooting

Pete Souza/White House(WASHINGTON) -- A new collection of White House photos includes an image of the moment on Dec. 14 when President Obama heard about details of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut.

A grim-looking Obama leans on a couch as his Homeland Security adviser tells him of the shooting.

“The President reacts as John Brennan briefs him on the details of the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.,” according to the caption provided by White House photographer Pete Souza.  “The President later said during a TV interview that this was the worst day of his Presidency.”

Later that day, Obama made televised remarks from the briefing room at the White House.

“The majority of those who died today were children, beautiful little kids between the ages of 5 and 10 years old,” the president said of the 26 victims, pausing to collect himself.  “They had their entire lives ahead of them, birthdays, graduations, weddings, kids of their own.”

The shooting at Sandy Hook began an ongoing national discussion about gun violence that has led the president to go from largely ignoring the issue to now listing gun control near the top of his second-term agenda.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Obama Responds to Petitions Calling for End of Gun Violence

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama responded on Friday to a petition on the White House website urging lawmakers to pass stricter gun control laws following last week's Newtown, Conn., school shooting.

In a video, Obama acknowledged that hundreds of thousands of people have signed petitions asking politicians to "address the epidemic of gun violence in this country."

"We hear you," he said, reiterating that he has asked Vice President Joe Biden to lead a team in developing specific proposals by January to reduce gun violence.

The president noted that "most gun owners in America are responsible."

"Like the majority of Americans, I believe that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to bear arms," he said.

"Here's what I think we should do," Obama continued.  "This week I called on Congress to take up and pass common-sense legislation that has the support of the majority of the American people, including banning the sale of military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition clips, and making sure criminals can't take advantage of legal loopholes to get their hands on a gun."

He stressed the need to address a culture that "glorifies" violence and improve mental health services, and urged people to call on their members of Congress "as many times as it takes" to achieve a result.

"I'm asking for your help to make a real meaningful difference in the lives of our communities and our country, and make sure the United States of America is a safer, stronger place for our children to learn and to grow," Obama concluded.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Pro-Gun Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin Suggests New Gun Laws

Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.V., has been as pro-gun, pro-NRA as anybody in Congress.  During his 2010 re-election campaign, he famously demonstrated his opposition to the cap-and-trade bill by shooting the bill (literally) with a rifle.

Now, in the wake of the Newtown, Conn., massacre, Manchin says it is time to re-think gun control.  As he said Monday on MSNBC's Morning Joe, “I don’t know anyone that needs 30 rounds in a clip to go hunting…”

On Twitter, Manchin endorsed a proposal by Sen. Joe Lieberman to create a national commission on gun violence.  But he said there must be action as an end result.

President Obama has not yet specifically advocated new legislation to curb gun violence.  But speaking before the grieving families of Sandy Brook Elementary School in Connecticut Sunday night, he asked if the nation can say it is doing enough to protect its children.

“If we’re honest with ourselves the answer is no,” he answered. “We’ve not been doing enough.  And we will have to change.”

Obama has not made gun legislation a priority of his administration, although he supports renewing the assault weapons ban, which was in effect from 1994 until 2004.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Obama: Nation Faces 'Hard Questions' After Connecticut Shooting

MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images(NEWTOWN, Conn.) -- President Obama said at an interfaith prayer service in the grieving community of Newtown, Conn., Sunday evening that the country is “left with some hard questions” if it is to curb a rising trend in gun violence, such as the shooting spree last Friday at Newtown’s Sandy Hook Elementary School.

After consoling victims’ families in classrooms at Newtown High School, the president said he would do everything in his power to “engage” a dialogue with Americans, including law enforcement and mental health professionals, because “we can’t tolerate this anymore.  These tragedies must end.  And to end them we must change.”

The president was not specific about what he thought would be necessary and did not even use the word “gun” in his remarks, but his speech was widely perceived as a prelude to a call for more regulations and restrictions on the availability of firearms.

The grieving small town hosted the memorial service Sunday evening as the the nation pieces together the circumstances that led to a gunman taking 26 lives last Friday at the community’s Sandy Hook Elementary School.

“Someone once described the joy and anxiety of parenthood as the equivalent of having your heart outside your body all of the time, walking around,” Obama said, speaking of the joys and fears of raising children.

“So it comes as a shock at a certain point when you realize no matter how much you love these kids you can’t do it by yourself,” he continued.  “That this job of protecting kids and teaching them well is something we can only do together, with the help of friends and neighbors, with the help of a community, and the help of a nation.”

The president asked whether holistically, the country could ask itself whether it was doing everything it could to meet its obligations in protecting all children.

“I’ve been reflecting on this the last few days and if we’re honest with ourselves the answer is no,” he answered.  “We’ve not been doing enough.  And we will have to change.”

Assuming a consoling role has become all too familiar for this presidency, which has born witness to five mass killings since assuming office in 2009.  It was a trend Obama acknowledged in his remarks, hinting as he has done recently that his administration may pursue strengthening gun control laws as a response.

“Are we really prepared to say that such violence brought on our children year after year after year is somehow the price of our freedom?” he asked.

The president’s grim, direct tone came in the latter half of his appearance in the filled auditorium, after taking the first minutes to recite scripture and remember those lost when Adam Lanza broke into the elementary school with a semiautomatic rifle and two handguns, opening fire before committing suicide.

“Scripture tells us, do not lose heart,” Obama said.  “Though outwardly we are wasting away, inwardly we are being renewed day by day.  For light and momentary troubles are achieving for us eternal glory that far outweigh them all.”

Faculty, staff and some students of Newtown wore ribbons of green and white -- the town and school colors -- emblazoned with a small angel in the middle, in remembrance of the victims.  Several first responders were also seen sporting the symbol.

“I am very mindful that mere words cannot reach the depths of your sorrow, nor can they heal your wounded hearts.  I can only hope it helps for you to know that you are not alone in your grief,” Obama continued.  “That our world too has been torn apart, that all across this land of ours we have wept with you, we’ve pulled our children tight.”

Audible weeping broke out from children and adults alike as the president cited the names of faculty members who died in the attack, some protecting the children in their custody.

“They responded as we all hope we might respond in such terrifying circumstances: with courage and with love, giving their lives to protect the children in their care,” he said.

The president ended his remarks in prayer.

“We pray, Lord, for all of those so torn by grief.  In this moment, we are all your children.  A family related by your love.  Help us care for the families in sorrow.  May they feel embraced by the neighborhood, town, state, nation, world,” he said.  “Help us to forever remember we embrace the grieving as our own.”

The Newtown shooting is the second-deadliest school shooting in U.S. history.  It is surpassed only by the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting with 33 shot and killed, including the shooter.

The memorial service had been delayed nearly an hour as Obama met privately with first responders and families of the victims in classrooms of the high school.

The president walked in shortly before 8 p.m., gave a brief wave to the room full of parents, friends and neighbors, before taking a seat in the first row.  He was met with a standing ovation.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Connecticut School Shooting Sparks Assault Weapons Ban Talk

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call(WASHINGTON) -- The elementary school shooting in Newtown, Conn., has opened the subject of gun control and the Second Amendment in the United States.

That debate took center stage on Sunday, when California Sen. Dianne Feinstein said she intends to introduce an assault weapons ban on the first day of the next Congress.

"The purpose of this bill is to get ... weapons of war off the streets," the longtime Democratic senator said on NBC's Meet The Press.

President Bill Clinton signed an assault weapons ban into law in 1994, but the measure expired in 2004.  Feinstein also called for the ban to be renewed in July, after the mass shooting at an Aurora, Colo., movie theater.

Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman went a step further, suggesting there should be "a national commission on mass violence," following Friday's shooting in his home state.

Lieberman said this commission would investigate the questions being asked about Newtown and come up with ways to try and prevent it from happening again.

"It's time for Democrats, Republicans and independents to say ... the strongest conceivable gun control laws won't stop all acts of violence.  But, also, to acknowledge that the stronger our gun control laws are, the fewer acts of violence including mass violence that will happen in our society," Lieberman said today on Fox News Sunday.

Lieberman, an independent, spoke out in favor of reinstating the assault weapons ban, but also talked about "toning down" the violence that he said dominates our entertainment industry.

"The violence in the entertainment culture, particularly with the extraordinary realism to video games and movies now, does cause vulnerable young men, particularly, to be more violent," he said.

Following the Connecticut shooting, it has been reported that the shooter, 20-year old Adam Lanza, was an avid player of violent video games that involved shooting guns.

Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz agreed that violence found in games and movies is something that needs to be addressed.  But in terms of gun regulation following the Newtown shooting, Chaffetz called current gun rules "stringent" and said "there are prohibitions on lots of guns."

"I'm a conceal carry permit-holder.  I own a Glock 23.  I've got a shotgun.  I'm not the person you need to worry about," Chaffetz said on ABC's This Week.  "But we have to look at the mental health access that these people have."

Chaffetz added that it will take more than government solutions to prevent a shooting like the one at Sandy Hook Elementary School from happening again.

In an address following the deadly shooting, President Obama seemed ready to take on the issue of gun control in his second term.

"As a country we have been through this too many times," he said.  "Whether it's an elementary school in Newtown or a shopping mall in Oregon or a temple in Wisconsin or a movie theatre in Aurora or a street corner in Chicago, these neighborhoods are our neighborhoods and these children are our children."

The statement is a subtle but marked shift for Obama, who has not made gun control a priority during his presidency in spite of at least five major mass shootings that have occurred on his watch -- Binghamton, N.Y. (2009); Fort Hood, Texas (2009); Tucson, Ariz. (2011); Aurora, Colo. (2012); and Oak Creek, Wis. (2012).

As far as the assault weapons ban Feinstein plans to introduce early next year, she said she expected Obama to offer public support for the law.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio