Washington: President Barack Obama pledged to put his "full weight" behind a legislative package next year aimed at containing gun violence, describing the shooting of 20 elementary school students as the worst day of his presidency.
In an interview with NBC television's "Meet the Press" that aired today, Obama voiced skepticism about proposals to place armed guards at schools in the aftermath of the 14 December deadly assault at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
In his boldest terms yet, he vowed to rally the American people around an agenda to limit gun violence and said he still supports increased background checks and bans on assault weapons and high capacity bullet magazines.
"It is not enough for us to say, 'This is too hard so we're not going to try,'" Obama said in the interview that was taped yesterday. "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.
"I think there are a vast majority of responsible gun owners out there who recognize that we can't have a situation in which somebody with severe psychological problems is able to get the kind of high capacity weapons that this individual in Newtown obtained and gun down our kids. And, yes, it's
going to be hard."
Obama's comments come as the schoolroom shooting has elevated the issue of gun violence to the forefront of public attention.
Six adults also died at the school. Authorities say the shooter killed his mother at their home and then killed himself as police closed in at the school.
The slayings have prompted renewed calls for greater gun controls. The National Rifle Association, the influential gun-rights lobbying group, has resisted those efforts vociferously, arguing instead that schools should have armed guards for protection.
"I am skeptical that the only answer is putting more guns in schools," Obama said. "And I think the vast majority of the American people are skeptical that that somehow is going to solve our problem."
Obama said he intended to press the issue with the public.
"Will there be resistance? Absolutely there will be resistance," he said.