Gun control advocates held a vigil outside the White House Friday after the shooting in which 20 school children and six adults died when a 20-year-old gunman opened fire inside an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., before killing himself, The Hill reported. The shooter, identified by police as Adam Lanza, also shot and killed his mother before going on his murderous rampage, authorities say.
Obama, recalling a series of deadly U.S. shootings, intimated he'd seek new measures on gun control when he addressed the nation after the tragedy.
"It is time to take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics," Obama said.
A bipartisan coalition of lawmakers, public figures and activists ramped up demand for tighter gun control Friday, ABC News reported.
"The country needs [Obama] to send a bill to Congress to fix this problem," New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in a statement after the Newtown attack. "Calling for 'meaningful action' is not enough. We need immediate action."
Former astronaut Mark Kelly, husband of former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords who was shot in Tucson last year, also urged leaders in Washington to "stand up and do what is right." Six people died and 13 people, including Giffords, were injured when a gunman opened fire at the congresswoman's meet-and-greet outside a grocery store.
"This time our response must consist of more than regret, sorrow, and condolence," he posted on Facebook. "This can no longer wait."
Dan Gross, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, said he was encouraged by the president's comments.
"We were moved by President Obama's raw emotion during his remarks today," Gross said. "We are committed to working with him to channel it into the change that is too long overdue."
Some Republicans, noting details were sketchy, said it was dangerous to say tougher gun controls may have prevented the tragedy, The Hill said.
"We need to find out what happened and what drove this individual to this place," said Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash. "I think we have to be careful about ... suggesting new gun laws. We need to look at what drives a crazy person to do these [kinds] of actions and make sure that we're enforcing the laws that are currently on the books. And yes, definitely, we need to do everything possible to make sure that something like this never happens again."
A petition on the White House's "We the People" website urging the Obama administration to "produce legislation that limits access to guns" collected more than 25,000 signatures hours after its inception, The Hill said.
"The goal of this petition is to force the Obama administration to produce legislation that limits access to guns," the petition reads in part. "While a national dialogue is critical, laws are the only means in which we can reduce the number of people murdered in gun related deaths."
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