Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said Wednesday that the Obama administration remains committed to tackling the issue of gun violence, despite the failure to move legislation after Mr. Obama made it one of his top priorities following the Sandy Hook shootings in December 2012.
Mr. Holder told a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing that his worst day as attorney general was when he traveled to Newtown, Conn. and toured Sandy Hook Elementary School following the shooting deaths of 20 children and six educators.
“If people had seen the crime scene search pictures of those little angels, I suspect that the outcome of that effort that we mounted last year would have been different,” he said.
Measures backed by Mr. Obama to ban military-style semiautomatic rifles and high-capacity magazines and institute universal gun-purchase background checks all failed in the U.S. Senate last year, but Mr. Holder says the administration is not giving up.
“My resolve is as firm as it was back then,” he said. “And I think what we should also understand is that the vast majority of the American people still want those common sense gun safety measures that we advanced last year. Our commitment is real and we will revisit these issues.”
Mr. Obama touched briefly on the issue of guns toward the end of his State of the Union address to the nation Tuesday evening.
“I intend to keep trying, with or without Congress, to help stop more tragedies from visiting innocent Americans in our movie theaters, in our shopping malls, or schools like Sandy Hook,” the president said.