US President Barack Obama put the weight of the Newtown, Connecticut, shooting behind his newly announced gun measures yesterday morning, crying for the 20 school children who died in the 2012 massacre as he stood with their families.
'Every time I think about those kids it gets me mad,' Obama said as tears rolled down his face.
Obama was introduced by Mark Barden, the managing director of Sandy Hook Promise. Barden’s son Daniel was killed in the Dec. 14, 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Also on stage with Obama today: Jimmy Greene, the father of Ana Grace, another child murdered in the Newtown massacre.
'We do not have to accept this carnage as the price of freedom,' Obama said, as he stood before gun control activists, including former representative Gabby Giffords, who was shot point blank five years ago this week and survived"
The president was flanked by gun violence survivors and the families of others who were not as fortunate as he spoke.
Peter Read, a retired Air Force Lieutenant Colonel and the father of Mary Read, killed in the 2007 shooting at Virginia Tech, joined the president on stage as did Jennifer Pinckney,the wife of Reverend Clementa Pinckney, murdered at the Emanuel AME in Charleston last year.
Obama pointedly lambasted Republicans decrying his executive actions and told presidential candidates, including Donald Trump, who have characterized the new measures as the beginning of the end, 'This is not a plot to take away everybody's guns.'
'Contrary to the claims of what some gun rights proponents have suggested, this hasn't been the first step in some slippery slope to mass confiscation,' Obama declared in remarks from the East Room of the White House.
We will not allow law-abiding gun owners to become scapegoats for President Obama’s failed policies - NRA official Chris Cox
To those who are trying to 'twist' his words on the Second Amendment, Obama reminded them, 'I taught constitutional law.'
'I know a little bit about this,' he said. 'I get it.'
'But I also believe that we can find ways to reduce gun violence consistent with the Second Amendment,' he said.
The president berated lawmakers on Capitol Hill for not doing more to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and said, 'The gun lobby may be holding Congress hostage right now but they are not holding America hostage.'