President Obama said the Newton, Conn., shootings on December 14 was the "worst day" of his time in office.
Recollecting the tragic shooting deaths of 20 first graders and six adults at a Newtown, Conn. elementary school on NBC's "Meet the Press," the president had been asked how his administration planned to move forward on gun control measures he had suggested in recent weeks. Ultimately, the president said, any coming legislation would be dependent on public approval.
"The question then becomes whether we are actually shook up enough by what happened here that it does not just become another one of these routine episodes where it gets a lot of attention for a couple of weeks and then it drifts away," he said. "It certainly won't feel like that to me. This is something that - you know, that was the worst day of my presidency. And it's not something that I want to see repeated."
President Obama pledged to put his "full weight" behind additional gun control measures in 2013, repeating his call for a renewal of the assault weapons ban and the closing of the so-called "gun show loophole," which allows private sellers to offer firearms to people without a background check. A CNN poll in July reported 96 percent of Americans supported background checks for all purchases, regardless of origin.
"I think there are a vast majority of responsible gun owners out there who recognize that we can't have a situation in which somebody with severe psychological problems is able to get the kind of high capacity weapons that this individual in Newtown obtained and gun down our kids," he continued. "And, yes, it's going to be hard."
The president said the White House would put forward "very specific" proposals after a fact-finding task force headed by Vice President Biden concluded.
Host David Gregory also asked the president what he thought of the call from the National Rifle Association to place armed security in every American school, an opinion first voiced by the organization's president, Wayne LaPierre. Obama stated that while he wouldn't "prejudge" recommendations, he was hesitant.
"I am skeptical that the only answer is putting more guns in schools," he said. "And I think the vast majority of the American people are skeptical that that somehow is going to solve our problem."