White House readies gun-control plan as more Sandy Hook victims laid to rest

Pall bearers carry the casket of Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting victim Victoria Soto out of the Lordship Community Church after her funeral ceremony in Stratford, Connecticut.

President Barack Obama assigned Vice President Joe Biden on Wednesday to find ways to curtail gun violence in America and try to avoid tragedies like the elementary school massacre in Connecticut, where the town buried one of its heroes on Wednesday.

With Newtown still in mourning from last Friday’s shooting, when a 20-year-old gunman shot dead 26 people at Sandy Hook Elementary School and then himself, Biden took the assignment to produce recommendations and report back to Obama in time for the president’s State of the Union address in late January.

Obama’s initiative addressed national outrage over the shootings in Connecticut, which have prompted longtime gun-rights supporters to reconsider their positions and a major private equity firm to put its gun-making business up for sale.

Funerals or wakes were held for four of Newtown’s children on Wednesday, as well as the school principal. Teacher Victoria Soto, who is credited with saving half her class of 6- and 7-year-olds by diverting the shooter and hiding the children in a closet, was also laid to rest.

“Vicki achieved in her 27 years what many of us will never achieve if we live to be a hundred,” the Reverend Meg Boxwell Williams told the funeral service. “Her last act was absolutely selfless, Christ-like, laying down her life for her children.”

Gunman Adam Lanza, 20, shot his mother at home and then killed 20 children and six adults at the school before shooting himself in the head, officials said.

Soto hid her students in a closet when she heard the shooting start early Friday morning, and when Lanza entered Soto’s classroom she tried to throw him off by telling him the students were at the other end of the school in an auditorium, the Hartford Courant reported, citing unnamed law-enforcement officials.

Lanza shot six of the children when they tried to run, and police later found the remaining seven students still hiding in the closet, the Courant said. Those children told law enforcement officials what had happened, the Courant reported.

The account provided Newtown with a positive story to cling to following the horrible events that left the nation stunned.

Soto’s death “mixed with the glad knowledge that her sacrifice saved so many children,” Williams said.

MOURNERS LINE THE STREETS

Some 30 police motorcycles from surrounding towns led the hearse carrying Soto’s body to the service in Stratford, Connecticut. About 200 mourners lined the streets outside the church, including a mother and daughter from Maryland who never met Soto but made the long drive because they were touched by her bravery in trying to protect the children in her class.

The family of the school’s slain principal, Dawn Hochsprung, invited mourners to visit a local funeral home on Wednesday. Her burial was due to be private at an undisclosed time.

Hundreds braved a bitter wind to pay their respects to the fallen principal, including Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.

After the service for Daniel Barden, 7, a bagpiper played “America the Beautiful,” as hundreds of police officers and firefighters, some from New York City and distant towns, stood in formation outside.

The little boy loved his family, riding waves at the beach, playing drums, foosball, reading and making s’mores around a bonfire at his grandfather’s house, said an obituary in the Newtown Bee newspaper.

Funerals were also held for for Charlotte Bacon and Caroline Previdi, both 6, and a wake for Chase Kowalski, 7.

The massacre prompted some Republican lawmakers to open the door to a national debate about gun control.

That may give an opening to Obama, who said he hoped the National Rifle Association gun lobby would reflect on the tragedy as it awaits Biden’s recommendations.

“The vast majority of responsible law-abiding gun owners would be some of the first to say that we should be able to keep an irresponsible, law-breaking few from buying a weapon of war,” Obama said.

Connecticut’s U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal and Senator-elect Chris Murphy met on Wednesday evening with a group of about 40 Newtown residents who are pushing for strengthened gun control and calling themselves Newtown United.

Blumenthal said, as he asks people in town if there is anything he can do, they tell him: “Yes. Do something about guns.”



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Drive charged in fatal hit and run, police…

The NYPD has arrested a man they say is responsible for a fatal hit and run in Manhattan last weekend. Doohee Cho, 33, was hit…

Local

Mayor de Blasio raises minimum wage for some…

Mayor Bill de Blasio signed an executive order Tuesday morning that will raise the minimum wage for workers employed by private companies that receive more…

National

3 myths about the working poor

Linda Tirado works to debunk some common stereotypes about the working poor in her new book, "Hand to Mouth."

Money

Lawsuit funding advances: friend or foe?

Reporter was commissioned to write this in-depth article Many plaintiffs awaiting resolution of their lawsuit or legal claim often find themselves in a tricky financial…

Going Out

Which NYC restaurant lost its three-star Michelin rating?

A record 73 restaurants in New York City collected coveted Michelin stars on Tuesday as a mix of trendy spots and fine-dining stalwarts underscored the…

Entertainment

Interview: Metro chats with filmmaker Meir Kalmanson, man…

A New York filmmaker hands out smiles to its residents.

Television

TV watch list, Tuesday, Sept. 30: 'Selfie,' 'Utopia'…

'Selfie' This modern day take on the "My Fair Lady" story stars John Cho in the Henry Higgins role. Perhaps instead of "the rain in…

Music

Can't-miss weekend events continue to attract the masses

Reporter was commissioned to write this in-depth article Earlier this summer, the Firefly Music Festival drew crowds of tens of thousands of people to Dover, Delaware.…

MLB

Mets 2014 report card

The Mets wrapped up their eight straight season without a playoff appearance last weekend. Needless to say, they fell a bit short of general manager…

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Cowboys, Packers, Ravens, Chargers climb

NFL Power Rankings: Cowboys, Packers, Ravens, Chargers climb

NFL

Ryan Quigley making a big impact for Jets…

Ryan Quigley, now in his second year as the Jets punter, had an exceptional afternoon with six punts for an average of 51.7 yards per punt.

NFL

3 positives to take from Jets loss to…

The Jets suffered another loss Sunday — 24-17 to the Lions — but the reason why it hurts so much for Jets fans is that…

Style

Products that support breast cancer awareness and research

Asics GT-1000, $100 Asics’ third pink collection in collaboration with Christina Applegate’s Right Action for Women includes this pink-accented version of its best-selling GT-1000 3…

Wellbeing

Dr. Marisa Weiss: Where we stand on breast…

As an oncologist and a survivor herself, Dr. Marisa Weiss knows the urgency felt by those diagnosed with breast cancer. Genetic testing has accelerated the…

Wellbeing

Bees' stingers hold new hope for cancer cure

A promising new lead in the search for a cancer cure has turned up in a place that most people naturally avoid. A team from…

Home

Emily Henderson on small space design

Design expert Emily Henderson shows us how to upgrade our cramped quarters.