President Barack Obama visited the site of the Connecticut mass shooting Sunday, two days after a gunman killed 27 people in an elementary school, and said that the nation must stem violence against children. NY1's Josh Robin filed the following report.
Even as he offered the nation's prayers in Newtown, Conn., where 20 children were killed in a school by a gunman last week, President Barack Obama had stern words against gun violence.
"We can't tolerate this anymore. These tragedies must end," Obama said. "Can we say that we're truly doing enough to give all the children of this country the chance they deserve to live out their lives in happiness, and with purpose? I've been reflecting on this the last few days, and if we're honest with ourselves, the answer is no."
While the president did not offer specific policy changes at the interfaith service, he did say he would engage fellow citizens.
He also did not use the words "gun control," but for one moment seemed to refer to those who oppose tighter restrictions.
"Are we prepared to say that such violence visited on our children year after year after year is somehow the price of our freedom?" he said.
The president read the names of children killed in the Friday massacre, bringing sobs from the auditorium at the local high school, where Newtown residents came to mend their bottomless grief.
"It is a defining moment for our town, but it does not define us," said Patricia Llodra, the first selectwoman of Newtown. "We are Newtown, a special and caring place. We are defined by acts of courage, by acts of love."
That courage brought applause for the police who responded to the school, while moans of grief sounded as Obama read the names of the teachers slain protecting their students.
Obama started his day at his daughter's dance recital and said the nation is mourning with Newtown.
The response from the nation's lawmakers is still to come. A leading Democratic Senator said she will introduce new legislation to ban assault weapons. A previous ban expired in 2004.
Meanwhile, the funerals for two six-year-old victims are being held Monday.
Gillibrand, Cuomo Demand Stricter National Gun Laws
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand says Americans deserve more than words following the school shooting.
In an op-ed piece for the New York Daily News, Gillibrand says Congress has ducked a debate on common sense gun laws for too long.
She writes, "We have an obligation to act and prevent tomorrow's senseless deaths by coming together and ensuring that guns stay out of the hands of criminals and the dangerously mentally ill."
Gillibrand says she believes in the right to bear arms, but calls for solutions like banning military-grade, high-capacity ammunition clips and closing loopholes that allow gun sales without background checks.
She also wants lawmakers to ban military-style weapons and get tough on gun trafficking.
The senator writes in the next Congress, she hopes to move forward with the Gun Trafficking Prevention Act she wrote working alongside Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly and others.
Governor Andrew Cuomo addressed the school shooting Sunday, calling it an unspeakable tragedy and said he hopes it will spur Congress to pass stronger gun laws.
"We have some of the toughest gun laws in the nation here in the State of New York but I believe we can do better," Cuomo said. "I hope people take this situation to heart and the other situations like this, not quite as horrendous as this, but horrendous in their own right, and say at one point enough is enough."
Bloomberg talked about the school shooting on NBC's "Meet The Press" Sunday, saying lawmakers should close the gun show loophole, which allows people who buy guns at shows to avoid required background checks.
He also urged Obama and Congress to renew the federal ban on assault weapons.
The mayor noted that New York state has some of the toughest gun laws in the country, and New York City the lowest murder rate of any big American city.