WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama was moved to tears in an unusually emotional display during his announcement of new executive actions on guns.
Obama said "it gets me mad" every time he thinks about the 20 first-graders who were killed in the mass shooting at a Connecticut elementary school in December 2012.
But his emotions had already begun to overtake him by the time he said that.
Obama defended his executive actions to tighten criminal background checks.
The president said Tuesday his actions are consistent with the constitutional right to right to bear arms. The president noted that he taught constitutional law, and added: "I know a little about this."
Obama says some constraints on freedom are necessary to protect innocent people. He notes that the right to free speech also comes with the limitation that you can't yell "fire" in a theater.
Obama also spoke about rights that had been denied victims of other mass shootings. He mentioned freedom of religion taken from parishioners killed at a South Carolina church and freedom of assembly taken from movie-goers killed at cinemas in Colorado and Louisiana. He also mentioned the violence in his Chicago hometown.
Obama paused and wiped a tear from the corner of his left eye. Tears flowed freely down both cheeks.