On Newtown anniversary, Obama says ‘these tragedies must end’
President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama light 26 candles, honoring the 26 students and teachers killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, in the Map Room of the White House (photo credit: SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
December 14th, 2013
06:00 AM ET
4 years ago

On Newtown anniversary, Obama says ‘these tragedies must end’

Updated 9:45 a.m., 12/14/2013

(CNN) – One year after a mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, killed 20 first-graders and six adults, devastating a community and shocking the nation, President Barack Obama said we haven’t done enough to keep our country safe.

"More than the tragedy itself, that’s how Newtown will be remembered," the President said Saturday in his weekly address.

Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama marked the anniversary Saturday by lighting 26 candles at the White House - one for each of the victims at Newtown - and a moment of silence.

"And on this anniversary of a day we will never forget, that’s the example we should continue to follow. Because we haven’t yet done enough to make our communities and our country safer.”

Obama continued: “We have to do more to keep dangerous people from getting their hands on a gun so easily. We have to do more to heal troubled minds. We have to do everything we can to protect our children from harm and make them feel loved, and valued, and cared for."

Change, he said, must come from the American people, not lawmakers in Washington.

"Beneath the sadness, we also felt a sense of resolve – that these tragedies must end, and that to end them, we must change."

Efforts to enact stricter gun laws fizzled in April when a bill that included stronger federal background checks for gun purchases failed to pass the Senate.

Obama’s address comes after another shooting at a school in Centennial, Colorado, on Friday. Three were rushed to hospitals after a student with a gun entered Arapahoe High School with an intention of harming a specific faculty member, officials said.

The shooting at Sandy Hook on December 14, 2012, marked the second-deadliest school shooting in U.S. history, after the April 2007 slaying of 32 people at Virginia Tech. Adam Lanza, the Sandy Hook gunman, also killed his mother and himself.

Shortly after the Newtown massacre, Obama said in an interview on NBC that the shooting was the worst day of his presidency.

Filed under: Gun control • President Obama
soundoff (55 Responses)
  1. Anonymous

    This is a solemn and sad day for America. The candles lit are in remembrance of precious lives lost-children and
    teachers. It also reminds of all the lives lost in senseless killings.

    Yet, some take this day to continue to bash the President, worry about their gun ownerships, and in general,
    continue their callous and compassionless lives.

    Can't you take just one day off, say a prayer for those lost and those grieving?

    December 14, 2013 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  2. ak_steve

    Whatever we do, let's be sure to keep talking about the mentally ill. Because we all know it's not about the guns. In fact, guns are so great that gun sales are up 6-8%? I think we should just give guns away to anyone, they are just so safe.

    And since "guns don't kill people, people kill people", we should get rid of all speed limit laws, because we all know cars don't kill people, people kill people. So why regulate car speed.

    Sorry to be so sarcastic – this is just a stupid conversation being controlled by idiots. Gun violence increases every year and we refuse to talk about gun control because everyone is so ignorantly afraid the government is going to take their guns. So let's just keep avoiding the topic of gun control, it seems to be really having an affect on gun violence. Too bad it is a negative affect.

    December 14, 2013 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  3. wendel

    when children have access to fire arms who's fault is that? Responsible gun ownership is fine. Apparently not everyone is responsible Sad day as is every shooting involving children. How the parents must grieve . There aught to be a law..

    December 14, 2013 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  4. rs

    One of he problems is the bombardment of violent video games and Hollywood violent movies. This is one of the big catalysts to promote shooting by young people. Also the music industry especially rap, look at the role models and what they portray. This is like putting gas on a fire. Also the pressures to succeed, yet the peer pressure in schools. Facebook, Twitter and the like all add a dimension to cutting down self esteem of young people by slander and accusations. Finally with the growing population this is going to be a given since more people do create more problems.
    TWo points:
    1. Those video games and movies are available world-wide- yet this problem of gun violence is unique to America.
    2. Attacking the First Amendment to protect the Second is senseless.

    December 14, 2013 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  5. rs

    James D Crawford
    As if Obama REALLY understands anything about American life! He's just another totalitarian control freak...using victims as tragedy in a manner that further victimizes them and others as well.
    Remind me again- which party passed 265 laws this year, restricting women's right to control their own body?

    December 14, 2013 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  6. rs

    Rick McDaniel
    Has anyone begun to notice the fact, that these events usually occur in Democratic Party, urban socialist areas?

    Doesn't that tell people anything?????
    Denver Colorado is "Socialist" Are you utterly unhinged? Google "Gun Deaths" and Slate. Look at the map.

    December 14, 2013 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  7. Face The Facts

    For those of you old enough to remember, these incidents did not start the past several years but a long time ago. Some are in rural areas, some are in the suburbs with a small town feel. We have to ask ourselves why a particular gender and race are mass killers.

    December 14, 2013 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  8. don in albuquerque

    Good ole Rick McDaniels, showing us new heights of stupidity, and hatred on a daily basis.

    December 14, 2013 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  9. RonL

    Frankly...if you can have 20 young people killed in one incident, then have 2 or 3 children die from gunshots EVERYDAY and NOT get the Congress pass background check legislation??? Don't expect anything to change EXCEPT, more and more guns to be sold, and every school to look more like a prison with armored guards then a place for learning and intellectual growth...This is not what the 2nd amendment was suppose to produce...WELCOME to the new normal..............

    December 14, 2013 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  10. don in albuquerque

    Peppy-I know this will be tough for you. But did you read that this article is about the Sandy Hook shooting? Can you read? Probably not.

    December 14, 2013 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  11. don in albuquerque

    Gotta love some the posts on here. Many obviously unintelligent enough to read that the article is about Sandy Hook. All they want to write about is "he lied! he destroyed the economy!" Poor illiterate babies.

    December 14, 2013 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  12. RonL

    Mr. McDaniel, mental illness IS a problem. Do a little research and you will find that many of the states are constantly CUTTING funding for mental health. The Republican governors and legislatures have had no problem reducing their budgets in this area. Here is my problem with Republican politicians they don't want to raise the minimum wage, but they want to cut food assistance. Even though data shows 100's of thousands of working Americans require SNAP to survive. They don't want to change background check legislation, and the don't want to increase funding for the mentally ill either. In short they NEVER seem to want to REALLY fix a problem, they only seem capable of pointing out what is wrong. You seem to buy into this philosophy, for once tell us how you think something should be corrected instead of only being negative.

    December 14, 2013 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  13. Fair is fair

    Oj Simpson would have been a more trustworthy president

    December 14, 2013 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  14. simplyput

    @Don in Albuquerque
    *I won't pray for the parents...*
    The parents of the two children are the ones who most need your prayers; it's called *intercession.* But I'm your favorite 2nd grader, so what do I know?

    December 14, 2013 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  15. FJ1234

    My heart breaks for these families affected by this horrible tragedy. I hope they can someday find comfort and peace.

    December 14, 2013 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  16. Truth Today

    Has President Obama lite a candle for the Hundreds of children killed in Chicago over the past year? Probably not. Newtown is a tragedy for sure but no more a tragedy experienced by families of gun violence across the nation everyday. I wish our President would lead and stop the political candle lighting.

    December 14, 2013 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  17. Truth Today

    Hundreds of children are killed daily by gun violence in Chicago and other cities. Has President Obama lite candles for each of them. Probably not. I wish our President would lead and stop the political candle lighting ceremonies.

    December 14, 2013 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  18. S. B. Stein

    I don't mind people having firearms. They need to make sure that these weapons are well secured. If they all were, then there would be little chance of a 4 year old killing his 6 year old friend. There would be less chance (still would be some) of some unstable person who can't fully fathom the consequences of their actions getting weapons from their parents and killing other people.

    December 14, 2013 10:57 pm at 10:57 pm |
  19. CryBabies

    People, not laws, will be the only way to stop this.

    December 15, 2013 01:44 am at 1:44 am |
  20. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    The young man who perpetrated this horror was obviously insane/autistic/disabled and needed much help. DID YOU SEE THE PICTURES OF HIM? I would not let someone like that near my children. Why on God's good Earth did his Mother allow him access to weapons like this? I am NOT an NRA guy, but when will parents of problem kids realize that they need to intervene?

    December 15, 2013 01:59 am at 1:59 am |
  21. ray

    It's a disgrace to this great United States what (WE) have stood by and let this man get by with. Seniors have worked most of their lives to enjoy the golden years, but now they are facing cuts in their health care and social security.. And gun control, everyone knows that guns kill, but so do drugs and thousands of other things, its the person behind the gun not the gun, we ban guns and our homes will not be safe to live in.

    December 15, 2013 08:57 am at 8:57 am |
  22. king

    i am very concerned about the american people mind frame. how much more guns can this country harbors. i could understand if guns were expendable and wont work in a couple of years, but some guns can last for hundred of years and still be operable. i wonder how much more guns will be in this country at that time. its amazes me how some people rather lesson to the repubs and their corporate lackeys, rather than seeing whats going on in front their eyes, for how can you believe in the buggy man, when you cannot see him. its time we stop lessening to buggy man stories and see reality.

    December 15, 2013 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  23. Leo Smith

    Gun Control.. These 2 words mean one thing. Government control. Not 1(ONE) murderer in history used a LEGAL FIREARM to commit such atrocities.. now lets talk about reasons..MENTAL HEALTH SYSTEM. Three(3) words Liberals need to know.. ALL(EVERY SINGLE ONE)of these mass shootings involved a mental health patient.. Now can any of you liberals correlate those terms for me?

    December 15, 2013 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  24. don in albuquerque

    @Leo Smith-Proof? I think John Wilkes Booth would disagree with you, and so would Lee Harvey Oswald. Completely flawed theory.

    December 15, 2013 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  25. don in albuquerque

    @Leo Smith--Well Leo, I'm waiting......Your entire premise is ridiculous, and untrue. Been suckling at the NRA teat just a little too long.

    December 15, 2013 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
1 2 3