Newtown relatives to join Obama lobbying on gun control measures

President Obama will travel back to Washington from a Connecticut speech on gun control with relatives of children killed in December at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

White House press secretary Jay Carney said Monday that the president would meet privately with survivors, families and first responders ahead of his remarks in Connecticut. 

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Following the president's remarks, 11 family members who had originally planned to be in Washington to lobby Congress on the proposed gun legislation will travel back with the president aboard Air Force One. Carney said they were offered a ride so they could attend the event and be back in Washington.

"I think those family members who have felt the pain of the Sandy Hook tragedy most keenly are important voices in this discussion," Carney said. "I think it's almost self-evident."

Carney repeatedly referred at Monday's briefing to the lawmakers who stood to applaud Obama's call during the State of the Union address for an up-and-down vote on new gun control measures. He said those lawmakers owed it to the victims of gun violence to prevent a Republican filibuster of the legislation.

"It is the obligation of the members of Congress who stood and applauded when the president called on them to vote on these issues to live up to that applause when the cameras were on and not take the less courageous route by using procedural measures to block the vote," he said. 

The Senate is expected to take up legislation even as divisions remain on what the measure will include.

Obama's speech in Hartford, Conn., is the first event of a week in which the White House is planning an all-out gun control offensive. 

On Tuesday, Vice President Biden and Attorney General Holder — two key players behind the president's legislative push — will speak at the White House in support of the legislation. Later in the week, first lady Michelle Obama will advocate a gun control package at a speech in Chicago.

Obama is expected to discuss the shootings at the elementary school and say that the nation should take the appropriate steps to ensure that violence around the nation is minimized.

Obama is also expected to highlight the laws passed by Connecticut’s General Assembly last week, which ban more than 100 assault weapons and magazines that hold more than 10 bullets. The stiffer laws also require universal background checks and would set up a registry for assault weapons and magazines.

This story was posted at 11:57 a.m. and updated at 2:46 p.m.

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