President Barack Obama traveled to Connecticut on Monday to push for stricter gun control laws, as Congress returns to work and decides whether to take any action on legislation aimed at combating gun violence. NY1's Washington reporter Michael Scotto filed the following reporter.
Speaking in Hartford, Conn. on Monday, President Barack Obama told Congress to finally take action. His speech in Connecticut was the first of several events planned this week to put pressure on Congress to hold a vote on gun control legislation.
"This is about doing the right thing for all the families here torn apart by gun violence," said the president.
As part of his effort, Obama met with the families of Newtown victims, and even brought some of them back to Washington, D.C. aboard Air Force One so they could personally lobby lawmakers.
The push came as 13 Republican U.S. senators sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on Monday, threatening a filibuster.
"They're not just saying they'll vote 'no' on ideas that almost all Americans support. They're saying they won't allow any votes on these provisions. They're saying your opinion doesn't matter," Obama said.
Senators remained in negotiations over a bill that would expand background checks. Initially, it had been thought that the bill, with its broad public support, would be able to get bipartisan backing, but it is now facing stiff opposition from Republicans.
The gun lobby wants lawmakers to stop it any way they can.
"The questions is can we kill a snake the first chance get. The Senate filibuster may well be that first chance and we're going to take that chance if we can," said Larry Pratt, the executive director of Gun Owners of America.
Gun rights activists have already stopped an assault weapons ban and a limit on high-capacity magazines.
Political observers say the rest of Obama's gun control agenda could get derailed if this debate drags on much longer.
"Most policy areas, particularly emotional ones, have a very short window of time in which real legislative change can happen. The longer that this gets drawn out, the less likely it is for change to be enacted," said John Hudak of the Brookings Institution.
That is why this week is so critical to the president.