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Connecticut school shooting: Barack Obama: gun control reforms will take courage

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Published on Dec 19, 2012

Barack Obama has pledged to put the power of the presidency squarely behind the effort to keep the weapons of war out of the hands of killers as he demanded plans for new gun control measures within weeks. Responding to an unprecedented national outpouring in the wake of the massacre at Sandy Hook elementary school, Mr Obama said that there was now "a growing consensus" of Americans in support of the first major reform of gun laws in nearly two decades.

He assigned Joe Biden, the Vice President, to lead a task force to draw up "concrete proposals", including a ban on assault weapons, that he could begin to enact by the end of next month.

The President, who was silent on the divisive issue of gun control after each of the three mass killings of his first term, made clear that the deaths of 20 children in a single killing spree had galvanised the nation.

"This time the words need to lead to action," he said.

Mr Obama acknowledged that even modest reforms would face opposition from America's powerful gun lobby and legislators in both parties but challenged politicians to "summon even one tiny iota of the courage" shown by the six teachers killed protecting children in Newtown.

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