Obama promises 'meaningful action' after 27 killed in school shooting

Barack Obama at the White House briefing

An at times tearful President Barack Obama has promised "meaningful action" following the shooting of 26 people, including 20 children, at an elementary school in Connecticut (see video and transcript below).

The gunman  Adam Lanza, 20, reportedly shot himself at the scene, taking the toll to 27.

The massacre among the deadliest in US history, surpassed only by a 2007 mass shooting at Virginia Tech University, where a mentally ill student killed 32 people before turning his gun on himself.

President Obama delivered his remarks in the James S Brady Briefing Room, named for the press secretary who was shot and severely injured during an assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan.

"As a country we have been through this too many times ... We have endured too many of these tragedies," the President said, referencing recent mass slayings over the past year at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin, and a rampage at a suburban Denver movie theater during a premiere for the latest Batman film.

Others have remembered the Columbine massacre that saw 12 students killed.

"We are going to have to come together and take meaninful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics," President Obama said.

But beyond the symbolism and emotion, the President did not detail what "meaningful action" would entail.

RAW DATA: TRANSCRIPT

Statement by the President on the School Shooting in Newtown, CT

James S. Brady Press Briefing Room

3:15 P.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT:  This afternoon, I spoke with Governor Malloy and FBI Director Mueller.  I offered Governor Malloy my condolences on behalf of the nation, and made it clear he will have every single resource that he needs to investigate this heinous crime, care for the victims, counsel their families.

We’ve endured too many of these tragedies in the past few years.  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.

As a country, we have been through this too many times.  Whether it’s 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.

This evening, Michelle and I will do what I know every parent in America will do, which is hug our children a little tighter and we’ll tell them that we love them, and we’ll remind each other how deeply we love one another.  But there are families in Connecticut who cannot do that tonight.  And they need all of us right now.  In the hard days to come, that community needs us to be at our best as Americans.  And I will do everything in my power as President to help.

Because while nothing can fill the space of a lost child or loved one, all of us can extend a hand to those in need -- to remind them that we are there for them, that we are praying for them, that the love they felt for those they lost endures not just in their memories but also in ours.

May God bless the memory of the victims and, in the words of Scripture, heal the brokenhearted and bind up their wounds.

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Sad is the state of the American mind, this is simply a sacrifice offering, which will be ignored.

Time they got some control over their freedoms I say.

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Lax gun laws and easy access to weapons, and anyone is surprised that nutters do this?

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Today is a very sad and terrible day. My heart goes out to all the children and their parents. I could never imagine the pain they must feel.

I feel that if the U.S came out with better laws with guns this aweful crime would have never happened. At this point I am proud to say I am Canadian.

All of the little boys and girls will be in my heart forever. This makes me want to start home schooling my son.

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Yes, better gun laws would include freeing up the availability of guns, trainig in gun handling fir teachers and other school personell. This is about defending our selves, our families, our communities from people intent on killing. Not just people intent on shooting.

Banning guns is the obvious but useless knee jerk reaction. And, sadly, anyone who speaks against that proposition will be ostracised and pilloried.

Just watch this space.

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problem with meaningful action is that may transcribe into banning all guns.....and history has taught us that every country that has attempted that in the past has just driven the guns underground..
i.e since banning handguns in the UK crime with handguns has increased..not decreased...
Outlawing guns will mean only outlaws have guns....
We will be worse off..not better off..

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Nothing will happen due to the gun lobby, and their 'right to bear arms'. Funny kind of 'democracy' if you ask me.

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Land of the free, sounds like a Tui's ad.

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It really hits home when one considers there were two such attacks on children in the news at the same time.

In China, the assailant used a knife.

In the USA, the assailant used a gun.

When the smoke cleared, all 22 kids in China survived alive.

In the USA, 20 kids and 7 others died.

http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2012/12/22-kids-slashed-in-china-e...

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In a perfect world there would be no guns....just knives and matches....without guns paranoid misfits will just use knives and matches...the largest number of people killed in modern times didnt die from gunfire...just ordinary fire!!
America has the highest number of god believers and church goers in the western world yet by far the highest number of gun deaths in the western world...a very frightened population...clubbed into fear by the continual threat of terror terror terror..yes..everyone is out to get them..so much so that they have to rely on unmanned planes to go about the world murdering...yes murdering because in many cases its NOT an act of war..men women and children who they think in their paranoid bogy man world are out to terrorise them.
Their knee jerk reaction is to reach for a gun...
Banning guns wont work because the criminals wont adhere to the law..after all thats why we call them criminals....they dont give a toss about laws..
Its the mind set that needs to change....and maybe if everyone carried a gun the death rates from gun death would be lower...afterall one of the teachers could have simply taken him out before too much mjurder and mayhem took place.

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Unfortunately the popular response is ban guns. How many children die every year in the USA due to car crashes? Do we lament cars and start to ban them? The problem is with security of legitimate arms being too easily accessed by mentally unstable nutters bent on copying the last idiot who murders innocent children. Talk about magazine size etc will do nothing to solve the real problem. Secure facilities for mental patients has to be re-established so we don't have out of control twits murdering innocents. Even in Norway, thank heavens the police had guns, otherwise Brevic would have just gunned them down when they got to the island. I suspect that once you have a weapon in the USA, no one ever checks whether you still have it, or whether your mental health has changed and you ought to lose the right to own a firearm. If the teachers at the school had been armed, then perhaps the toll would have been lower. That's the reality, like it or not. Hopefully our police will all be armed all the time so we don't have another repeat of an innocent person bleeding to death in front of his wife whilst the police sorted out where/who had the right key was for the gun box in their police car. The state's job is to protect us, that means they have to have superior firearms to those of the criminals who don't acre about rules of engagement, or whether they should wait before getting a 10mm glock if the police have only a 9mm version. That kind of thinking is simply so out of touch with reality to defy credibility.

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