By Alexander Bolton - 12/15/12 11:00 AM EST
President Obama has urged the nation to unite in the wake of a shooting spree at a Connecticut elementary school, which left 20 children and six adults dead, to prevent similar tragedies in the future.
Obama listed incidents of gun violence around the nation and called on people to put partisan differences aside to find ways to reduce the bloodshed.
“Any of these neighborhoods could be our own. So we have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this. Regardless of the politics,” he said.
House Speaker John Boehner's (R-Ohio) office announced on Friday there would be no weekly Republican address "so that President Obama can speak for the entire nation at this time of mourning."
Obama expressed grief for the families of the slain school children at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
“Most of those who died were just young children with their whole lives ahead of them. And every parent in America has a heart heavy with hurt,” he said.
The president also saluted teachers who were killed: “Men and women who devoted their lives to helping our children fulfill their dreams.”
He called on the nation to show support to the bereaved families in Connecticut.
“Because while nothing can take the place of a lost child or loved one, all of us can extend a hand to those in need — to remind them that we are there for them; and that the love they felt for those they lost endures not just in their own memories, but also in their community, and their country,” he said.
Obama has previously called for stepped-up background checks for gun buyers, although White House officials have stopped short of proposing new legislation to mandate new regulation.