An angry President Barack Obama made an emotional plea in Hartford, Conn., for the American people to pressure Congress to pass his gun control agenda.
“What’s more important to you, our children or an ‘A’ grade from the gun lobby?” Obama said citizens should ask lawmakers, in remarks after meeting with families of victims of the Newtown massacre.
Obama seemed to sense his gun measures slipping away — saying a failure to react to the Newtown killings would be a tough day for his presidency — but he’s not ready to give up yet.
“We’re not forgetting. We can’t forget,” he said, imploring people to contact their member of Congress and ask them why they aren’t supporting universal background checks, a ban on high-capacity magazines, an assault weapons ban and a ban on gun trafficking.
Already, an assault weapons ban appears all but dead except for the voting, and there’s no clear path to his desk for much of the rest of his gun agenda either, with Republicans touting plans to try and block a bill from being debated on the Senate floor.
Indeed, Obama tore into lawmakers who gave him a standing ovation during his State of the Union address when he demanded votes on his gun proposals, but who he said are now considering “political stunts” to block those votes.
“They are not just saying that they will vote no on ideas that almost all of Americans support, they are saying they will do everything they can to even prevent any votes on these provisions,” Obama said. “They are saying that your opinion does not matter, and that’s not right.”
Obama also attacked the media: “I have also heard some in the Washington press suggest that what happens to gun violence legislation in Congress this week will either be a political victory or defeat for me. Connecticut, this is not about me. This is not about politics. This is about doing the right thing for all of the families who are here that have been torn apart by gun violence.”
Obama ended with a call to pressure Congress.
“If you want the people you send to Washington to have just an iota of the courage that the educators at Sandy Hook showed when danger arrived on their doorstep, that we’re all going to have to stand up,” he said. “And if we do, if we come together and raise our voices together and demand this change together, I’m convinced that cooperation and common sense will prevail.”
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.