'These Tragedies Must End': President Vows Action On Gun Violenc - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

'These Tragedies Must End': President Vows Action On Gun Violence

Posted: Updated:

NBCNEWS.COM - President Barack Obama vowed to marshal the power of his office behind a nationwide effort to curb gun violence following an elementary school massacre last week in Newtown, Conn.

The president, speaking Sunday evening at an interfaith vigil in Newtown, said that the United States is "left with some hard questions" following the mass shooting, which left 20 children, seven adults and the suspected shooter dead.

He used the speech to lay down a marker, vowing to take action to address gun violence amid yet another high-profile mass shooting in his presidency.

"We can't tolerate this anymore," Obama said. "These tragedies must end. And to end them, we must change."

"In the coming weeks I'll use whatever power this office holds to engage my fellow citizens … in an effort aimed at preventing more tragedies like this," he said.

Obama offered no specifics as to what type action he might take or legislation he might seek to address these incidences of violence. A top Senate Democrat said Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press" that she would introduce legislation on the first day of the new Congress next year to re-institute a ban on assault weapons, something which Obama has previously endorsed but not actively sought.

The call-to-action was weaved together with words from the president meant to console mourners in Newtown, with whom Obama met earlier in the day.

"This is our first task, caring for our children. It's our first job. If we don't get that right, we don't get anything right. That's how, as a society, we will be judged," Obama asked. "And by that measure, can we truly say that, as a nation, we're meeting our obligations?"

The president added: "I've been reflecting on this the past few days, and if we're honest with ourselves, the answer's no. We're not doing enough. And we will have to change."

Obama's comments came in response to yet another mass casualty incident in America over the past few years. The most high-profile attacks include one against Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in Arizona, a shooting at a movie theater this past summer in Colorado and another shooting at a Sikh Temple in Wisconsin in August.

None of those events managed to prompt a groundswell for political action to address gun rights and other underlying causes of these attacks.

An effort to address mass casualty events might also involve less politically touchy efforts, like boosting support for mental health. 

If Obama were to lead an effort to push gun control, though, he could meet resistance from the politically influential National Rifle Association and other gun rights' groups. Advocates of gun control, though, have urged Obama to throw political caution to the wind; New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Sunday that gun control should be Obama's "No. 1 agenda."

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Carlton Complex: 71% contained; 251,698 acres burned

    Carlton Complex: 71% contained; 251,698 acres burned

    Thursday, July 31 2014 2:22 PM EDT2014-07-31 18:22:03 GMT
    OKANOGAN COUNTY, Wash. - The Carlton Complex is now 71% contained and is 251,698 acres in size. Firefighters are continuing the hot, difficult work of “mopping up” and strengthening the fire line, especially in the areas south of Highway 20 towards the summit of Loop Loop.>>
    OKANOGAN COUNTY, Wash. - The Carlton Complex is now 71% contained and is 251,698 acres in size. Firefighters are continuing the hot, difficult work of “mopping up” and strengthening the fire line, especially in the areas south of Highway 20 towards the summit of Loop Loop. >>
  • PHOTOS JUST IN: Devastation from Carlton Complex; 300 homes burned

    PHOTOS JUST IN: Devastation from Carlton Complex; 300 homes burned

    Saturday, July 26 2014 12:07 AM EDT2014-07-26 04:07:59 GMT
    TWISP, Wash. (AP) - The Okanogan County Sheriff says the Carlton Complex wildfire has many more homes than previously thought. Sheriff Frank Rogers said Friday that the Carlton Complex fire has consumed about 300 homes this month. His office previously placed the number at 150, but he said then he knew it would rise.>>
    TWISP, Wash. (AP) - The Okanogan County Sheriff says the Carlton Complex wildfire has many more homes than previously thought. Sheriff Frank Rogers said Friday that the Carlton Complex fire has consumed about 300 homes this month. His office previously placed the number at 150, but he said then he knew it would rise.>>
  • VIRAL VIDEO: Grab a tissue to watch how one bank is thanking its customers

    VIRAL VIDEO: Grab a tissue to watch how one bank is thanking its customers

    Thursday, July 31 2014 12:05 PM EDT2014-07-31 16:05:29 GMT
    KHQ.COM - TD Canada Trust was determined to thank their customers in a unique and memorable way. About halfway through this video you will understand why it has had millions of views. Grab a tissue for this touching video and hopefully watching this will serve as a reminder to all of us, that a little kindness can go a long way.>>
    KHQ.COM - TD Canada Trust was determined to thank their customers in a unique and memorable way. About halfway through this video you will understand why it has had millions of views. Grab a tissue for this touching video and hopefully watching this will serve as a reminder to all of us, that a little kindness can go a long way.>>