Barack Obama: Newtown Shooting 'The Worst Day Of My Presidency'

Barack Obama: Are We 'Actually Shook Up Enough' By Sandy Hook?

WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama reiterated his support Sunday for new gun control laws, vowing to mobilize public opinion in favor of substantive changes.

"I think anybody who was up in Newtown, who talked to the parents, who talked to the families understands that something fundamental in America has to change," Obama told David Gregory on NBC's "Meet the Press." "And all of us have to do some soul searching, including me as president, that we allow a situation in which 20 precious small children are getting gunned down in a classroom.

The challenge, he said, was turning that sadness into action.

"[T]he question then becomes whether we are actually shook up enough by what happened here that it does not just become another one of these routine episodes where it gets a lot of attention for a couple of weeks and then it drifts away," the president said of the Dec. 14 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. "It certainly won't feel like that to me. This is something that -- ya know, that was the worst day of my presidency. And it's not something that I want to see repeated."

Obama laid out his support for three gun control provisions -- a ban on assault rifles, a ban on high-capacity magazines and a requirement for background checks at gun shows. He said he hoped to see something passed within a year, despite pushback from the National Rifle Association and similar groups.

"My response is something has to work," the president said. "And it is not enough for us to say, 'This is too hard, so we're not going to try.' So what I intend to do is I will call all the stakeholders together. I will meet with Republicans. I will meet with Democrats. I will talk to anybody."

But the president largely dismissed the NRA's suggestion of stationing armed guards at every school. "I am not going to prejudge the recommendations that are given to me," he said. "I am skeptical that the only answer is putting more guns in schools, and I think the vast majority of the American people are skeptical that that somehow is going to solve our problem. And, look, here's the bottom line. We're not going to get this done unless the American people decide it's important."

Before You Go

Barack Obama

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