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Newtown families invited to Obama gun control event

WASHINGTON (AP) Families of the victims of last month's shooting attack at a Connecticut elementary school have been invited to the White House today to see President Barack Obama outline an effort aimed at reducing gun violence.


The parents of Grace McDonnell were on hand for the announcements.  When President Obama met with the families in Newotwn shortly after the shootings, they presented him with a picture painted by Grace.  Obama hung the picture in his private study and say he thinks of Grace everytime he walks passed it.

Obama's ideas include bans on military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines -- but he would need congressional approval for that. He's also taking steps on his own, including efforts to boost availability of mental health services.

In advance of today's event, the National Rifle Association has released an online video calling Obama an ``elitist hypocrite'' for having armed secret Service agents protect his daughters at school while not committing to installing armed guards in all schools.


President Obama is taking 23 executive actions aimed at curbing gun violence that don't require congressional action, including measures to encourage schools to hire police officers, increase research on gun violence and improve efforts to prosecute gun crime.

The executive actions are part of an overarching package assembled by a task force led by Vice President Joe Biden. The measures come a month after the mass shooting in Newtown, Ct., that killed 20 elementary school children.

Obama is directing the Centers for Disease Control to research gun violence and is seeking rules to ensure that law enforcement conducts background checks before returning seized firearms.

He intends to nominate Todd Jones as director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Jones is the agency's acting director.

President Obama was joined by children who sent letters expressing concern about gun crimes when he announces proposals Wednesday to reduce gun violence.

Three days after 26 students and teachers were killed by a gunman at their Connecticut elementary school, an 8-year-old from Maryland asked Obama for ``some changes in the laws with guns.''

The boy named Grant wrote, ``It's a free country but I recommend there needs (to) be a limit with guns.''

Eleven-year-old Julia from the District of Columbia asked Obama ``to try very hard to make guns not allowed. Not just for me, but for the whole United States.''

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