President Obama pauses as he speaks during a memorial service for victims and relatives of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting on Sunday in Newtown, Conn.(Photo: Mandel Ngan, AFP/Getty Images)
NEWTOWN, Conn. -- President Obama, citing Scripture and offering "the
love and prayers of the nation" after a horrific school massacre, said
Sunday the country must take action to protect citizens from gun
The president did not offer specific policies or mention
proposals to limit access to high-powered weapons such as those used in
Friday's killings and in previous mass shootings. Obama said he will
use his office to address ways to prevent future attacks.
use whatever power this office holds to engage fellow citizens ... in an
effort aimed at preventing more tragedies like this," Obama said.
first met privately with families of the 26 people slain at the school
in Newtown, then addressed a packed gathering of mourners at a
ceremony led by religious leaders from many faiths.
Obama said that while no new laws "can eliminate evil from the
world'' or prevent senseless violence, "if there's even one step that we
can take to save another child ... surely we have an obligation to
Saying that "Scripture tells us, 'Do not lose heart,'" the
president praised the heroism of teachers who protected their students.
gather here in memory of 20 beautiful children and six remarkable
adults. They lost their lives in a school that could have been any
school," Obama said.
The president recited each slain child's
first name, then said: "God has called them all home. To those of us who
remain, let us find the strength to carry on and make our country
worthy of their memory."
Obama, noting this was the fourth time he traveled to the site of a
mass shooting, said this latest act of violence raises "hard questions"
for the nation as a whole.
Earlier on Sunday, Connecticut State
Police Lt. Paul Vance said the gunman brought multiple high-capacity
magazines, holding 30 bullets each, to the school, and used a .223
Bushmaster assault rifle for most of the killings. Vance said the gunman
had two handguns and used one of them to kill himself.
Gov. Dannel Malloy said the shooter decided to kill himself when he
heard police closing in about 10 minutes into the attack.
Lanza, 20, was identified by Vance as the gunman. His mother, Nancy,
52, was also killed at the home she shared with her son.