President Barack Obama wept openly Tuesday as he delivered a forceful defense of new executive actions on gun violence, a set of modest proposals to tighten loopholes that likely face quick legal challenges and could be vulnerable to reversal by a Republican White House.
The president ran through a list of mass shootings that have happened during his time in office, and teared up as he recalled the schoolchildren gunned down in Newtown, Connecticut in 2012.
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“First graders in Newtown. First graders,” Obama said, pausing to collect himself. “Every time I think about those kids, it gets me mad.”
Obama offered a new argument to counter gun rights enthusiasts, noting that mass shootings have taken place as Americans have tried to exercise other rights, such as attending worship services or watching a movie. The right to bear firearms is not more important than the right to worship freely or peaceably assemble, he said, and called upon Congress to be “brave enough to stand up to the gun lobby’s lies.”
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