US President Barack Obama has said that he himself was surprised by his public crying this week while talking of steps to tackle gun violence. (AFP File Photo)
US President Barack Obama has said that he himself was surprised by his public crying this week while talking of steps to tackle gun violence.
"I was, too, actually," Obama told CNN during a town hall on gun laws in a suburb here.
"I think a lot of people were surprised by that moment," he was asked about his weeping incident at the White House this week.
"I've said this before. It continues to haunt me. It was one of the worst days of my presidency," Obama said.
Wiping away tears as he spoke of children killed in Connecticut in 2012, Obama unveiled a series of executive actions on guns, including expanding mandatory background checks for some private sales.
Obama said he visited Newtown two days after what happened. "It was still very raw. It's the only time I've ever seen Secret Service cry on duty. It wasn't just the parents.
You had siblings, 10-year-olds, eight-year- olds, three-year-olds who in some cases didn't even understand that their brother or sister weren't going to be coming home," he said.
Obama said that he's never owned a gun but said that doesn't mean he he's spearheading a 'conspiracy' to take away other Americans' constitutional right to purchase firearms. "I have never owned a gun," Obama said.
"I grew up mostly in Hawaii, and other than hunting for wild pig, which they do once in a while there's not the popularity of hunting and sportsmanship with guns as much as there are in other parts of the country," he said.
Then Obama recollected the conversation he had once with Michelle while they were campaigning for presidency.
"Michelle and I are, then, campaigning out in Iowa, and we're going to farms, and we're going to counties, and at one point, Michelle turned to me, and she said, you know, if I was living in a farmhouse where the sheriff's department is pretty far away and somebody can just turn off the highway and come up to the farm, I'd want to have a shotgun or a rifle to make sure that I was protected and my family was protected," Obama said.
"And she was absolutely right. So part of the reason I think that this ends up being such a difficult issue is because people occupy different realities," he said.
Obama strongly refuted allegations that he wants to take everybody's gun, describing it as a conspiracy.
"Part of the challenge in this is that the gun debate gets wrapped up in broader debates about whether the federal government is oppressive and there are conspiracy theories floating around the Internet these days all the time," he said.
"It is fair to call the conspiracy,...Are you suggesting that the notion that we are creating a plot to take everybody's guns away so that we can impose martial law...Yes, that is a conspiracy! I would hope that would agree with that," he said.