“Citizenship means standing up for the lives that gun violence steals from us each day,” said the president in his address to lawmakers and the nation.
“I have seen the courage of parents, students, pastors, and police officers all over this country who say ‘we are not afraid,’ and I intend to keep trying, with or without Congress, to help stop more tragedies from visiting innocent Americans in our movie theaters, shopping malls, or schools like Sandy Hook,” Obama added.
Obama pressed lawmakers to pass tougher gun control restrictions in his 2013 State of the Union as well, which came weeks after the deadly massacre at the Newtown, Conn., Sandy Hook Elementary School.
But a bill that would strengthen background checks on firearm purchases failed to muster enough support in the Senate in the face of staunch opposition from the nation’s gun lobby.
Obama tasked Vice President Joe Biden with heading a presidential task force on gun violence and enacted many of their recommendations to bypass Congress.
But the president has continued to call for tighter background checks and bans on military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazine clips.
After a mass shooting at the Washington Navy Yard in September, Obama spoke at a memorial service and said that the public should demand action from lawmakers.
“We can't accept this,” said the president about gun violence. “We are going to have to change.”
"I do not accept that we cannot find a common-sense way to preserve our traditions including our basic Second Amendment freedoms and the rights of law-abiding gun owners while at the same time reducing the gun violence that unleashes so much mayhem on a regular basis,” said Obama.