Wiping back tears as he remembered children who died in a mass shooting, President Barack Obama on Tuesday described new steps he is taking to tighten gun rules and urged Americans to vote for candidates willing to do more to prevent gun violence.
As Obama delivered a powerful address in the White House, surrounded by family members of people killed in shootings, his voice rose to a yell as he said the constitutional rights of Americans to bear arms needed to be balanced by the right to worship, gather peacefully and live their lives.
Obama has often said his toughest time in office was grappling with the December 2012 massacre of 20 children and six adults at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut.
"Every time I think about those kids, it gets me mad," Obama said, tears rolling down his cheek.
"That changed me, that day," he said, after being introduced by Mark Barden, whose 7-year-old son was killed in the shooting. "My hope earnestly has been that it would change the country."
After that tragedy, the Democratic president failed to persuade Congress to toughen U.S. gun laws. He has blamed lawmakers for being in the thrall of the powerful National Rifle Association gun lobby group.
The stocks of gunmakers Smith & Wesson Holding Corp and Sturm Ruger & Co Inc have climbed since the announcement. On Tuesday, Smith & Wesson jumped 12 percent to $26.10 a share and Sturm Ruger was up nearly 7 percent at $65.62.
Obama acknowledged that laws won't change during his remaining year in office, but said he will continue to raise the issue in the time he has left.