POSTED: 10:17 a.m. HST, Dec 14, 2012
LAST UPDATED: 10:33 a.m. HST, Dec 14, 2012
WASHINGTON » President Barack Obama spoke from the White House briefing room about the mass shooting at a Connecticut elementary school, his first comments on an incident that has left at least 27 people dead, including 18 children.
White House spokesman Jay Carney said that mass shootings "weigh heavily" on Obama as the president and as a father. But Carney said that today was not the day to talk about gun control.
Obama was not expected to take questions from the media.
Earlier today, Obama spoke to Connecticut's governor today and expressed condolences to those who lost loved ones in the elementary school shooting, Carney said.
Obama was briefed on the shooting this morning by his counterterrorism adviser John Brennan, and Carney said he would continue to receive regular updates throughout the day.
The press briefing room where Obama will speak is named the "James S. Brady Press Briefing Room" in 2000 in honor of the former White House press secretary, James Brady, who was shot and disabled in the assassination attempt on Ronald Reagan in 1981. Brady and his wife, Sarah, have become activists for gun control measures.
While Carney said Obama remains committed to renewing an assault weapons ban, he said this was not the day for that debate.
"There is, I'm sure — will be, rather — a day for discussion of the usual Washington policy debates, but I don't think today is that day," Carney said.
"As a father, incidents like these weigh heavily on him," Carney added.
Others, however, were already calling to engage in a new discussion of gun control.
" If now is not the time to have a serious discussion about gun control and the epidemic of gun violence plaguing our society, I don't know when is," Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y. said in a statement. "How many more Columbines and Newtowns must we live through? I am challenging President Obama, the Congress and the American public to act on our outrage and, finally, do something about this."
In addition to his phone call with Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy, Obama also spoke today with FBI director Robert Mueller. The FBI is supporting state and local law enforcement officials in Connecticut as they respond to and investigate the incident.
Carney said the administration would "do everything we can to support state and local law enforcement.