US marks first anniversary of Sandy Hook massacre

President Obama: "We have to do more to keep dangerous people from getting their hands on a gun so easily"

US President Barack Obama has marked the anniversary of the Sandy Hook school shootings by urging Americans to push for tighter gun control.

He said the United States had to "do more to keep dangerous people from getting their hands on guns so easily".

Twenty children and six school workers were killed at the elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, a year ago.

On Friday, two students were shot and wounded by another student at a school in Colorado.

The gunman later died, apparently of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

'Troubled minds'

Mr Obama and his wife Michelle observed a moment of silence at the White House and lit candles in memory of those who died.

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Everyone here tells you each family suffers in a different way. But of course they all suffer”

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In his weekly radio address, Mr Obama urged Americans to do more to restrict gun ownership and improve mental healthcare - or, as he put it, "heal troubled minds".

"We have to do everything we can to protect our children from harm and make them feel loved, and valued, and cared for,'' he said.

President Obama called for stricter gun laws following the tragedy, but Congress has rejected every one.

In the town itself, some of the bereaved held small ceremonies but the media were asked to stay away.

A tree is hung with birdhouses bearing the name of Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting victims as part of a memorial in Sandy Hook village in Newtown, Connecticut December 13, 2013. In Newtown, various memorials including these birdhouses have been created in honour of those who died

"The community needs time to be alone and to reflect on our past year in personal ways, without a camera or a microphone," First Selectman Pat Llodra told a news conference this week.

The bells at St Rose of Lima church in Newtown rang 26 times - once for each of gunman Adam Lanza's victims at the school.

He was 20 years old when he killed his mother in their Newtown home and drove to Sandy Hook to carry out the massacre. He killed himself as police arrived.

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