By Justin Sink and Jonathan Easley - 06/13/13 04:45 PM EDT
President Obama and Vice President Biden will meet with families of victims of the Sandy Hook shooting on Thursday afternoon at the White House.
It will be the president's first known in-person meeting with victims’ families since a bipartisan gun control bill failed in the Senate. The vote prompted a fiery statement from the president in the Rose Garden, where he was surrounded by some of the same family members.
Obama at the time called it a “pretty shameful day for Washington,” and vowed to press on for a background check bill.
“Sooner or later we are going to get this right,” he said.
Thursday’s meeting comes amid a furious push by gun control reform activists to reignite a debate on Capitol Hill.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s group Mayors Against Illegal Guns bused the Newtown Action Alliance into Washington. The citizen group, which is in part made up of families of Sandy Hook victims, will hold a press conference, hand-deliver messages to lawmakers and form a “human ribbon remembrance” of the victims at Capitol Hill on Thursday.
Other family members met Wednesday with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), a co-sponsor of the Senate background checks bill, as well as Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).
On Friday, Mayors Against Illegal Guns begins its “No More Names” nationwide bus tour, in which family members of gun violence victims will visit 25 states over 100 days. Members of the group plan to stand in front of the hometown offices of lawmakers opposed to gun control reform in an attempt to convince the Senate to reconsider the background checks bill.
The renewed efforts are aimed at four Democrats in particular — Sens. Mark Pryor (Ark.), Max Baucus (Mont.), Mark Begich (Alaska) and Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.) — who all voted against the background checks bill.
If those four were to switch sides, the bill would likely need only one additional Republican defector to squeeze through the Senate.