Washington, Jan 6: US President Barack Obama on Jan 5 wept in public as he announced a slew of executive measures to tackle the gun violence that claims thousands of lives in the country each year, amid stiff resistance from Republican-controlled Congress to steps for tightening control on firearms.
"Every time I think about those kids, it gets me mad," Obama said as tears streamed down his cheeks in the East Room of the White House in the presence of a large number of victims of mass shootings.
He summoned the memory of the 20 elementary school children killed three years ago in Newtown, Connecticut. Obama warned that the US gun lobby cannot be allowed to block government action.
"The gun lobby may be holding Congress hostage right now, but they can't hold America hostage," he said.
"All of us should be able to work together to find a balance that declares the rest of our rights are also important. Second Amendment rights are important, but there are other rights that we care about as well. And we have to be able to balance them, because our right to worship freely and safely -- that right was denied to Christians in Charleston, South Carolina," he said.
"That was denied Jews in Kansas City, and that was denied Muslims in Chapel Hill and Sikhs in Oak Creek. They had rights too. Our right to peaceful assembly, that right was robbed from moviegoers in Aurora and Lafayette. Our inalienable right to life, and liberty and the pursuit of happiness, those rights were stripped from college kids in Blacksburg and Santa Barbara, and from high-schoolers in Columbine, and from first graders in Newtown," he said.
"First graders. And from every family who never imagined that their loved one would be taken from our lives by a bullet from a gun. Every time I think about those kids, it gets me mad. And by the way, it happens on the streets of Chicago every day," said the US president as he paused for a moment to control his emotions.
Obama said the gun lobby is taking "Congress hostage, but they cannot hold America hostage." "So, all of us need to demand that Congress be brave enough to stand up to the gun lobby's lies. All of us need to stand up and protect its citizens. All of us need to demand governors, and legislators and businesses do their part to make our communities safer," he said.
"We need the wide majority of responsible gun owners, who grieve with us every time this happens and feel like your views are not being properly represented, to join with us to demand something better," he added.