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Obama urges Congress to move on gun control issue

Updated: 2013-02-13 17:24
( Xinhua)

WASHINGTON - US President Barack Obama urged the Congress to move on the long-time divisive issue of gun control in the first State of the Union address of his second term on Tuesday.

"It has been two months since Newtown. I know this is not the first time this country has debated how to reduce gun violence. But this time is different," said Obama at the last part of his address, about two months after the Sandy Hook school shooting massacre in Newtown, Connecticut.

He stressed that "overwhelming majorities" of Americans now favor "common-sense reform," including tighter background checks for gun purchasers, and police chiefs ask for banning of "weapons of war" and "massive ammunition magazines."

"Because in the two months since Newtown, more than a thousand birthdays, graduations and anniversaries have been stolen from our lives by a bullet from a gun," said Obama.

He also noted that senators of both parties are now working together "on tough new laws to prevent anyone from buying guns for resale to criminals."

Obama also told the story of Hadiya Pendleton, a 15-year-old Chicago girl who was gunned down just days after performing inauguration festivities for Obama last month.

With Pendleton's parents and other gun violence victims' families invited to the chamber, Obama told lawmakers, "they deserve a vote."

Obama is currently seeking public support for his package of gun control agenda and pushing Congress to move on the long-time divisive issue.

Days ahead of his second-term inauguration in January, Obama unveiled a sweeping package of gun violence reduction proposals, a month after the Sandy Hook elementary school mass shooting. The December massacre that killed 26 people including 20 school children has rekindled a nationwide debate on gun control.