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Passionate Obama demands gun reform

President Barack Obama said Thursday that Americans should be ashamed if the pain of the Newtown school shooting three months ago has ebbed to such an extent that gun reform efforts are fading.

"Tears aren't enough, expressions of sympathy aren't enough, speeches aren't enough," Obama said, in a passionate speech at the White House surrounded by relatives of gun violence victims.

"Now is the time to turn that heartbreak into something real," Obama said, three months after 20 children and six teachers and caregivers were gunned down in Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

The president held his event amid indications that the tidal wave of national grief that prompted promises of action on greater gun control after the massacre in December was fading.

"I want to make sure every American is listening today," said Obama, bristling with anger after saying he had read a report that questioned whether Washington had gone soft on reform efforts as the horror of Newtown fades.

"Less than 100 days ago that happened. The entire country was shocked, the entire country pledged we would do something about it and this time it would be different," he said.

"Shame on us if we have forgotten. I haven't forgotten those kids. Shame on us if we have forgotten."

Top Democrats in Congress have said that there is not sufficient support for some measures proposed by Obama, including a reinstatement of an assault weapons ban.

The legislative fight is now surrounding White House plans to close loopholes in background checks designed to ensure mentally unstable people and criminals cannot get guns.

Obama also hopes to enact new laws clamping down on gun trafficking and providing more help to secure America's schools.

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