President Obama on Saturday marked the one-year anniversary of the mass shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., and said the nation has not "done enough" to stop gun violence.
“One year ago today, a quiet, peaceful town was shattered by unspeakable violence,” said Obama in his weekly address. “Six dedicated school workers and 20 beautiful children were taken from our lives forever.
“But beneath the sadness, we also felt a sense of resolve – that these tragedies must end, and that to end them, we must change,” he added.
Twenty children and six adults were killed in a shooting rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012. The violence shocked the nation and spurred a new debate over gun control.
Obama called for tighter background checks on gun purchases, limits on the sale of military-style assault weapons and a ban on high-capacity ammunition magazines. But a bipartisan bill on background checks failed to pass in the Senate amid opposition from both GOP lawmakers and red-state Democrats.
In the absence of legislative action, the president enacted a number of executive orders, toughening federal enforcement of gun laws.
“We haven’t yet done enough to make our communities and our country safer,” said Obama on Saturday.
“We have to do more to keep dangerous people from getting their hands on a gun so easily. We have to do more to heal troubled minds. We have to do everything we can to protect our children from harm and make them feel loved, and valued, and cared for,” he added.
The president also praised the efforts by family members of the Newtown victims on the issue, calling them “impossibly brave.”
“Over the past year, their voices have sustained us. And their example has inspired us – to be better parents and better neighbors; to give our children everything they need to face the world without fear; to meet our responsibilities not just to our own families, but to our communities,” said Obama.
“More than the tragedy itself, that’s how Newtown will be remembered,” he said.
The president said that real change to stop mass violence would not come from Washington but “from you, from the American people.”
“As a nation, we can’t stop every act of violence. We can’t heal every troubled mind. But if we want to live in a country where we can go to work, send our kids to school, and walk our streets free from fear, we have to keep trying. We have to keep caring. We have to treat every child like they’re our child,” said Obama.
The president and first lady will hold a moment of silence on Saturday to mark the anniversary.