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At memorial, Obama pledges effort to reduce US gun violence

Published on Dec 17, 2012 10:35 AM
People hold hands in a bar near Sandy Hook Elementary School as U.S. President Barack Obama speaks in Newtown, Connecticut, Dec 16, 2012. Obama on Sunday consoled the Connecticut town shattered by the massacre of 20 young schoolchildren, lauding residents' courage in the face of tragedy and saying the United States was not doing enough to protect its children. -- PHOTO : REUTERS

NEWTOWN, Connecticut (REUTERS) - President Barack Obama, speaking at a memorial service for the victims of a mass shooting at a Connecticut elementary school, said on Sunday the United States was not doing enough to protect its children and pledged in coming weeks to launch an effort to reduce violence in the country.

"We can't tolerate this anymore. These tragedies must end. And to end them we must change," Mr Obama said at a somber interfaith service.

"In the coming weeks I'll use whatever power this office holds to engage my fellow citizens from law enforcement to mental health professionals to parents and educators in an effort aimed at preventing more tragedies like this," he said.

"Because what choice do we have? We can't accept events like this as routine."

Members of the audience wept when the president read the names of the 20 children and six adults who were shot at Sandy Hook Elementary school on Friday.