Barack Obama has reiterated calls for changes to US gun laws at a memorial service for the victims of last week’s shooting at the Washington Navy Yard.
President Barack Obama said tears were “not enough”.
He told mourners Americans must insist that “there is nothing normal about innocent men and women being gunned down where they work”.
Barack Obama has reiterated calls for changes to US gun laws at a memorial service for the victims of last week’s shooting at the Washington Navy Yard
Twelve people were killed last Monday by contractor Aaron Alexis, who was himself shot dead by police.
Aaron Alexis, 34, reportedly had untreated mental health difficulties.
Barack Obama called on Americans to abandon their “creeping resignation” to mass shootings.
Acknowledging that “the politics are difficult” – a reference to his failure to get measures through Congress earlier this year – the president said change would not come from Washington.
“Change will come the only way it ever has come, and that’s from the American people,” Barack Obama told the crowd.
President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama met privately with victims’ relatives ahead of the shooting, the White House said.
Prosecutors have said they will seek the death penalty for James Holmes, who is accused of killing 12 people last July at Aurora cinema in Colorado.
On Friday, prosecutors rejected an offer from James Holmes to plead guilty in order to avoid execution.
James Holmes, 25, is charged with multiple counts of murder and attempted murder in the attack in Aurora, one of the worst mass shootings in US history.
Prosecutors have said they will seek the death penalty for James Holmes, who is accused of killing 12 people last July at Aurora cinema in Colorado
Dozens were wounded in the attack at a midnight showing of a Batman film.
“It’s my determination and my intention that in this case for James Eagan Holmes justice is death,” Arapahoe County District Attorney George Brauchler said at Monday’s hearing, which the accused attended.
James Holmes’ parents sat holding hands in the public gallery.
Victims and their families said they did not welcome the thought of a lengthy trial.
Pierce O’Farrill, who was shot three times in the attack, told the Associated Press: “All of us victims would be dragged along potentially for years. It could be 10 or 15 years before he’s executed.
“I would be in my 40s and I’m planning to have a family, and the thought of having to look back and reliving everything at that point in my life, it would be difficult.”
Last week, prosecutors argued that the defence motion for a guilty plea was not valid as a plea deal, but correspondents say such an agreement could still be reached before the case goes to trial.
James Holmes’ defence lawyers were expected to argue he is not guilty because he was legally insane at the time of the shooting on July 20.
But investigators say James Holmes, a former neuroscience graduate student, had stockpiled weapons and ammunition ahead of the attacks.
James Holmes allegedly also booby-trapped his flat to explode, in an apparent bid to distract police from responding to the cinema during the shooting.
In March, Colorado introduced new gun legislation to impose limits on the size of ammunition magazines and expand background checks for gun buyers.
The law bans the type of magazine used to fire dozens of bullets in just a few seconds during the Aurora shooting.
President Barack Obama is scheduled to visit Denver, Colorado, on Wednesday to highlight the bill as part of a campaign for national gun control measures in the wake of a mass shooting at an elementary school in December, in the state of Connecticut.
President Barack Obama today signaled he would push for tight gun control in the wake of the massacre of 26 at an elementary school in Connecticut, saying there had been “too many” mass shootings in America.
During a moving appearance, the president said the time had come to “take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics”.
Barack Obama struggled for words, pausing several times as he wept and described the “beautiful little kids between the ages of five and ten years old” slaughtered in the school massacre in Connecticut.
Seldom has a head of state expressed greater public emotion in modern times. White House aides held hands and also wept as they sat in the briefing room named after James Brady, the press aide wounded in 1981 when President Ronald Reagan was shot and who later became the nation’s leading gun control advocate.
Barack Obama was not the only one who showed deep emotion over the shooting. Parents lined up at schools across the country to pick up their children and make sure they made it home safely.
School administrators from Washington D.C. to Boston and Iowa issued statements assuring parents that they had stepped up security and that their schools were still safe.
In Charlestown, Massachusetts, Bob Carr showed up early at the elementary school his three daughters attend. He told the Boston Globe he wanted to be there when they got out of class.
Parents have already begun asking for more police officers and security guards to be posted at their children’s school.
In Washington, political meringue has also begun.
Behind the President’s emotion was a clear political message that Barack Obama, re-elected to a second and final presidential term, intended to limit the lawful possession of weapons, perhaps by pushing to reinstate the Clinton-era ban on so-called assault weapons.
“We’ve endured too many of these tragedies in the past few years,” Barack Obama said.
“And each time I learn the news, I react not as a president, but as anybody else would as a parent. And that was especially true today. I know there’s not a parent in America who doesn’t feel the same overwhelming grief that I do.
“The majority of those who died today were children – beautiful, little kids between the ages of 5 and 10 years old. They had their entire lives ahead of them – birthdays, graduations, weddings, kids of their own. Among the fallen were also teachers, men and women who devoted their lives to helping our children fulfill their dreams.
“So our hearts are broken today for the parents and grandparents, sisters and brothers of these little children, and for the families of the adults who were lost.
“Our hearts are broken for the parents of the survivors, as well, for as blessed as they are to have their children home tonight, they know that their children’s innocence has been torn away from them too early and there are no words that will ease their pain.”
President Barack Obama today signaled he would push for tight gun control in the wake of the massacre of 26 at an elementary school in Connecticut
Again, Barack Obama repeated that such events had happened “too many times”, citing other mass shootings. Whether it is an elementary school in Newtown, or a shopping mall in Oregon, or a temple in Wisconsin, or a movie theater in Aurora, or a street corner in Chicago, these neighborhoods are our neighborhoods and these children are our children.
“And we’re going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics.”
That was a thinly-veiled message to Republicans, as well as conservative Democrats, that support for the Second Amendment constitutional right to bear arms should not be allowed to stand in the way of banning certain types of weapons or limiting background checks.
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a prominent advocate of gun control, issued a statement on Friday criticizing the president Congress for failing to take action on the issue.
“President Obama rightly sent his heartfelt condolences to the families in Newtown. But the country needs him to send a bill to Congress to fix this problem,” Michael Bloomberg said in a statement.
“Calling for <<meaningful action>> is not enough. We need immediate action. We have heard all the rhetoric before. What we have not seen is leadership – not from the White House and not from Congress.”
The gun control debate was reignited in the immediate aftermath of Friday’s shooting, as every major TV network gathered panels of journalists and gun control experts to discuss the political implications for Washington.
The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, named after James Brady and one of the largest national organizations promoting stricter firearm laws, was urging people on Friday to sign an online petition supporting their cause.
“Another day, another horrific shooting eating away at our collective peace of mind – this time at a school in Connecticut,” said Brady Campaign President Dan Gross.
“What matters is not what we do after the sensational tragedies. It’s what we do between them – to make the voice of the American public heard.”
Americans are split on whether the U.S. needs greater controls on the sales and licensing of guns.
In fact, since 1990, more and more Americans believe that gun control laws should be less strict.
“The percentage in favor of making the laws governing the sale of firearms <<more strict>> fell from 78% in 1990 to 62% in 1995, and 51% in 2007,” Gallup reported.
“In the most recent reading, Gallup in 2010 found 44% in favor of stricter laws. In fact, in 2009 and again last year, the slight majority said gun laws should either remain the same or be made less strict.”
Barack Obama was forced to address the issue of gun control during the 2012 election campaign after a lone gunman – former neuroscience graduate student James Holmes – opened fire on a movie theatre in Aurora, Colorado, killing 12 people and wounding 70 others.
Three people have been shot dead after a gunman walked into a New Jersey Pathmark store and killed two staff members including an 18-year-old girl.
The shooter was an employee of Pathmark and entered the Old Bridge store around 4:00 a.m. with a shotgun and opened fire on staff who were stacking shelves before the scheduled 6:00 a.m. opening.
When police arrived at the store which is 25-miles from New York City they moved the employees to a nearby T.G.I. Friday’s where they were checked out by emergency workers.
Three people have been shot dead after a gunman walked into a New Jersey Pathmark store and killed two staff members including an 18-year-old girl
“This is the worst phone call a mayor can receive,” said the mayor of Old Bridge Owen Henry.
“You can prepare for these things but you can’t prevent them.”
It is unknown how many other people were in the store before the police arrived but several members of staff would have been inside as the Pathmark was preparing to open at 6:00 a.m.
Police said that they received a telephone call around 4:30 a.m. informing them that shots were being fired from inside the supermarket.
According to store employees who fled the scene, the gunman entered into the Pathmark wielding a shotgun and began shooting.
It is not known how the shooter entered the building before opening hours.
The local police have sealed off the area and the case was turned over to the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office.
Witnesses inside said that there were around a dozen staff stacking shelves before opening.
The incident comes just weeks after a series of mass shootings shook the country.
In July, a gunman opened fire in a crowded Colorado movie theater and earlier this month a white supremacist opened fire in a Sikh temple in Wisconsin.
And last week a disgruntled former employee shot his former boss on the streets of New York City before becoming involved in shoot-out with police that left nine bystanders injured.