Connecticut school shooting: Obama flies in to console grieving relatives and attend vigil amid calls for gun curbs


Obama flies in to console grieving relatives and attend vigil amid calls for gun curbs
Met privately with families of the 26 victims and with emergency crewsCall for 'meaningful action' in wake of shootings reignited gun law debateFourth time he has visited a community still grieving from a mass shooting

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UPDATED:

01:00 GMT, 17 December 2012

Barack Obama flew in last night to console grieving parents in the Sandy Hook massacre as demands grew for tighter gun controls in the United States.

Mr Obama was also planning to attend an evening vigil to mourn with the shellshocked community in Newtown.

He met privately with families of the 26 victims and with emergency crews who responded to the shootings before speaking at an interfaith service at the town’s high school.

Support: Barack Obama flew to Connecticut to console grieving parents in the Sandy Hook massacre

Support: Barack Obama flew to Connecticut to console grieving parents in the Sandy Hook massacre

Barely able to contain his emotions, the President wiped back tears and declared: ‘As a nation, we have endured far too many of these tragedies in the last few years.’

His call for ‘meaningful action’ in the wake of the shootings reignited the fierce gun law debate and raised an expectation among weapon control advocates that Mr Obama will seek changes.

Connecticut governor Dan Malloy joined the call for tougher gun legislation over the weekend.

He said there was an existing ban on assault weapons, but he complained the lack of a similar law at a nationwide level made it difficult to keep them out of his state.

Mr Obama was also planning to attend an evening vigil to mourn with the community in Newtown

Mr Obama was also planning to attend an evening vigil to mourn with the community in Newtown

Sombre: Mr Obama departs the White House before flying to join the small Connecticut community of Newtown to remember the 20 small children and seven adults slaughtered by 20-year-old Adam Lanza

Sombre: Mr Obama departs the White House before flying to join the small Connecticut community of Newtown to remember the 20 small children and seven adults slaughtered by 20-year-old Adam Lanza

‘These are assault weapons. You don’t
hunt deer with these things,’ he added. ‘One can only hope that we’ll
find a way to limit these weapons that really only have one purpose.’

Meanwhile,
two US senators are also calling for a national commission to examine
mass shootings, while a colleague says she’s pushing to ban the sale of
military-style assault weapons.

Senator
Joe Lieberman said a national commission could be used to scrutinise
America’s gun laws, mental health system and the role that violent video
games and movies might play in shootings.

Memorial: Residents honour the murdered children

Memorial: Residents honour the murdered children

Senator Dick Durbin backed the call,
adding it was time the nation reflected in a ‘thoughtful way’. Senator
Dianne Feinstein said yesterday that she’s planning to revive her bid to
ban new assault weapons.

The shooting happened as the next big
issue of whether Americans have a right to be armed in public moves
closer to review by the US Supreme Court, the nation’s highest legal
authority.

Last week a
panel of federal appeals court judges in Chicago struck down the only
statewide ban on carrying concealed weapons, in Illinois.

Sorrow: An officer brings flowers. This is the fourth time Mr Obama has visited a community still grieving from a mass shooting

Sorrow: An officer brings flowers. This is the fourth time Mr Obama has visited a community still grieving from a mass shooting

For Mr Obama, his trip to Newtown was the fourth time during his presidency he has visited a community still grieving from a mass shooting.

Just last summer he went to Aurora, Colorado to visit injured victims and families after a shooting spree at a cinema in the Denver suburb left 12 dead.

He was in Tucson, Arizona, in January 2011 after six people were killed and 13 wounded – including then congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords – outside a grocery store.

And in November 2009 Mr Obama travelled to Fort Hood, Texas, to speak at the memorial service for 13 servicemen killed on the base.