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President Obama visits Newtown, calls for change

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: President Obama visits Newtown, calls for change
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President Obama is calling for change just days after a gunman killed 26 people, including 20 children at Sandy Hook Elementary School. The gunman also killed his own mother. The first two funerals for the victims will be held today. Our Josh Robin has more on the president's visit to Newtown, Connecticut.

NEWTOWN, Conn. -- The nation must change. That's what President Obama said after visiting another scene of a mass shooting: Newtown, Connecticut - two days after a gunman killed 27 people, including 20 children.

"We can't tolerate this anymore. These tragedies must end," said President Obama.

Even as he offered the nation's prayers, President Obama had stern words against gun violence.

"Can we say that we're truly doing enough to give all the children of this country, the chance they deserve to live out their lives in happiness, and with purpose. I've been reflecting on this the last few days, and if we're honest with ourselves, the answer is no," said President Obama.

While the President did not offer specific policy changes at the interfaith service, he did say he would engage fellow citizens. He also didn't use the words gun control, but for one moment seemed to refer to those who oppose tighter restrictions.

"Are we prepared to say that such violence visited on our children year after year after year is somehow the price of our freedom?" asked Obama.

Children, whose names the president read, bringing sobs from the auditorium at the local high school, where Newtown had come to mend its bottomless grief.

"It is a defining moment for our town, but it does not define us. We are Newtown - a special and caring place. We are defined by acts of courage, and acts of love,” said Patricia Llodra, Newtown, Conn. First Selectwoman

That courage brought applause for the police who responded to the school, while moans of grief sounded as Obama read the names of the teachers slain protecting their students.

"Dawn Hochsprung and Mary Sherlach, Vicky Soto, Lauren Russo, Rachel Devino and Anne Marie Murphy. They responded as we all hope we might respond in such terrifying circumstances - with courage and with love."

Obama started his day at his daughter's dance recital. He says the nation is mourning with Newtown. The response from the nation's lawmakers is still to come.

A leading Democratic Senator says she will introduce new legislation to ban assault weapons. A previous ban expired in 2004.

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