Obama to bring some Sandy Hook families on AF1
Updated: April 8, 2013 - 06:29 pm
WASHINGTON (AP) - With time running out on the chance to pass gun control legislation, President Barack Obama on Monday warned Congress not to use delaying tactics against tighter regulations and told families of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting victims that he's "determined as ever" to honor their children with tougher laws.
Obama's gun control proposals have run into resistance on Capitol Hill, leaving their fate in doubt. Efforts by Senate Democrats to reach compromise with Republicans over expanding required federal background checks have yet to yield an agreement, and conservatives were promising to try blocking the Senate from even beginning debate on gun control legislation.
Some of the Sandy Hook families are making an attempt to push through the bill. Obama met with them privately before his speech at the University of Hartford Monday evening, then planned to bring 11 family members back to Washington aboard Air Force One. They want to meet with senators who've yet to back the legislation to encourage their support in memory of their loved ones.
"If you're an American who wants to do something to prevent more families from knowing the immeasurable anguish that these families know, now is the time to act," Obama said. "Now is the time to get engaged, to get involved, to push back on fear, frustration, and misinformation. Now is the time to make your voice heard from every state house to the corridors of Congress."
Obama argued that lawmakers have an obligation to the children killed and other victims of gun violence to allow an up-or-down vote in the Senate. That would require 50 votes to pass, rather than a procedural maneuver some Republican senators are threatening to require 60 votes, potentially sinking the legislation.
"Some back in Washington are already floating the idea that they might use political stunts to prevent votes on any of these reforms," Obama said told a packed gymnasium, with many wearing green ribbons in remembrance of the victims. "Think about that. They're not just saying they'll vote no on ideas that almost all Americans support. They're saying they won't allow any votes on them at all. They're saying your opinion doesn't matter. And that's not right."
Obama rode to the speech with Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, who signed sweeping gun control legislation into law Thursday with the Sandy Hook families standing behind him.
"This week is the time for Congress to do the same," Obama said to a long standing ovation.
But legislation in Washington faces a tougher challenge, as the nation's memories of the shooting fade with time and the National Rifle Association wages a formidable campaign against Obama's proposals.
"I don't care about the NRA," Malloy said while Obama was meeting with the families.
Majority Leader Harry Reid brought gun control legislation to the Senate floor on Monday, though actual debate did not begin. He took the step after receiving a letter from 13 conservative Republican senators including Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, saying they would use delaying tactics to try preventing lawmakers from beginning to consider the measure. Such a move takes 60 votes to overcome, a difficult hurdle in the 100-member chamber.
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