Shootings in Connecticut: New York pols urge tougher gun control
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The mass shooting Friday at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., has drawn expressions of grief and outrage from politicians across New York and the nation, with many calling for a nationwide crackdown on gun violence.
Connecticut state officials confirmed 27 shot dead in the rampage in Newtown -- 20 children, six adults and the shooter.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued a statement offering condolences to the families of those killed in the shooting rampage -- many reportedly students at the school -- calling it a senseless and horrific act of violence."
"We as a society must unify and once and for all crack down on the guns that have cost the lives of far too many innocent Americans," Cuomo said. "Let this terrible tragedy finally be the wake-up call for aggressive action and I pledge my full support in that effort."
U.S. Rep. Nita Lowey (D-Harrison) issued a similar statement and said the "expressions of sympathy must be matched with concrete actions to stop gun violence."
"We cannot tolerate mass shootings as a mere inconvenience or a normal part of our everyday lives," Lowey said. "Easy availability of the deadliest weapons to the most dangerous people has cost countless lives and caused immeasurable suffering, never more so than today."
"The horror of what happened is beyond words and leaves a permanent lump in your throat," said Sen. Charles Schumer (D-New York) "To senselessly lose so many innocent lives breaks your heart. Perhaps an awful tragedy like this will bring us together so we can do what it takes to prevent this horror from being repeated again."
Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, a father of three, said he was deeply saddened by the shooting rampage.
"The heartfelt prayers of my wife Sheila and I go out to the victims and families of this senseless act of violence," he said in a statement. "Westchester County stands ready to offer any assistance that could be helpful."
"As a father and grandfather, there are no words that can truly express how saddened I am by this senseless act," he said in statement Thursday afternoon. "I encourage everyone to hold their loved ones a little closer this evening and take time to remember the people that are important to you."
In a live televised address Thursday, President Barack Obama echoed those sentiments and said "our hearts are broken today" for those killed in the shooting rampage and for the survivors whose "innocence has been torn away from them."
"As a country, we have been through this too many times. Whether it is a school in Newtown, a shopping mall in Oregon, a temple in Wisconsin, a movie theater in Aurora or a street corner in Chicago, these neighborhoods are our neighborhoods and these children are our children," Obama said. "We're going to have to come together to take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics."