Obama to bring some Sandy Hook families on AF1
Updated: April 8, 2013 - 06:29 pm
The conservatives said the Democratic measure would violate the Second Amendment right to bear arms, citing "history's lesson that government cannot be in all places at all times, and history's warning about the oppression of a government that tries."
Echoing a frequent demand by Obama, Reid said that in the wake of December's killings of 20 first-graders and six educators in Newtown, Conn., Republicans should allow votes on gun control proposals including expanded background checks and bans on assault weapons, saying, "Shame on them."
He added, "The least Republicans owe the parents of those 20 little babies who were murdered at Sandy Hook is a thoughtful debate about whether stronger laws could have saved their little girls and boys."
Obama said the vote shouldn't be about his legacy, but about the families in Newtown who haven't moved on to other matters.
"Newtown, we want you to know that we're here with you," Obama said. "We will not walk away from the promises we've made. We are as determined as ever to do what must be done. In fact, I'm here to ask you to help me show that we can get it done. We're not forgetting."
A group of Sandy Hook families originally planned to travel to Washington earlier on Monday, but the White House offered to give the families a ride so they could also attend Obama's speech before their lobbying push.
The families' trip was organized by Sandy Hook Promise, a nonprofit started by community members in the wake of the shooting. "The group is encouraging senators to come together around legislative proposals that will both save lives and respect the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Americans," the group said in a statement.
With time running out on negotiations, the White House is making an all-hands-on-deck push this week. Vice President Joe Biden and Attorney General Eric Holder planned to promote their plan at the White House on Tuesday with law enforcement officials. First lady Michelle Obama planned to wade into the debate Wednesday with a speech on youth violence in her hometown of Chicago. And on Thursday, Biden was taking part in a discussion on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" with people who have different views on gun control.
Organizing for Action, the grassroots group being formed out of Obama's re-election campaign to support his agenda, said it was launching online ads Monday asking the public to urge their senators to support background checks. The ads will target 11 senators - all Republicans - through Facebook and search engines. An OFA spokesman said the group was not disclosing the cost of the ad campaign.
Gun control is divisive in Newtown, Conn., as in the rest of the country. Not all Sandy Hook families support gun control, and even those involved with the lobbying push organized by Sandy Hook Promise are not backing the assault weapons ban. But those families are asking lawmakers to expand background checks, increase penalties for gun trafficking and limit the size of magazines.
Nicole Hockley, who lost her 6-year-old son, Dylan, introduced Obama and talked about the waves of sorrow that threatened to drown her in the past four months. But she also expressed her hope that this would be a moment for change. She said people are killed every day in America by gun violence, and addressing that shouldn't be a political issue.
"What law-abiding citizen, whether they are a gun owner or not, doesn't want to address this and save lives," she said.
Hockley and her husband, Ian, planned to fly on Air Force One along with:
- Mark and Jackie Barden - parents of 7-year-old Daniel
- Nelba Marquez-Greene - mother of 6-year-old Ana
- Neil Heslin - father of 6-year-old Jesse
- Jennifer Hensel - mother of 6-year-old Avielle
- Bill Sherlach - husband of Mary, a 56-year-old school psychologist
- Ben and Cheyanne Wyatt - parents of 6-year-old Allison
- David and Francine Wheeler - parents of 6-year-old Ben
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