Surrounded by mothers of gun victims, President Barack Obama on Thursday ramped up pressure on the US Senate to pass a gun control package that has stumbled on Capitol Hill.
Obama told wavering lawmakers “don’t get squishy” as he rejected suggestions that Washington had “missed its opportunity” in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre to introduce tougher gun controls.
“The notion that two months or three months after something as horrific as what happened at Newtown happens, and we’ve moved on to other things? That’s not who we are. That’s not who we are,” Obama said from the White House.
“I want to make sure every American is listening today. Less than 100 days ago that happened. And the entire country was shocked. The entire country pledged we would do something about it and this time would be different. Shame on us if we forgot. I haven’t forgotten those kids. Shame on us if we forgot.”
More from GlobalPost: Newtown warrants reveal that Adam Lanza fired 155 bullets in 5 minutes
Obama accused opponents of the bill, which includes a proposal to expand background checks for prospective gun buyers, of drumming up “fear.”
“There are some powerful forces on the other side that are interested in running out the clock or changing the subject or drowning out the majority of the American people to prevent any of these reforms from happening at all,” he said.
“They’re doing everything they can to make all our progress collapse under the weight of fear and frustration or, their assumption is that people will just forget about it."
A proposal to reinstate an assault weapons ban has already been dropped from the main bill that will be debated by the Senate after the Easter recess.
Obama urged voters to call members of Congress and pressure them to back the legislation, saying “tears aren’t enough.”
It was time to turn “the heartbreak into something real.”