NEWTOWN - Residents in the Connecticut community where 20 children and six staff members were shot to death have started a petition to ban assault weapons.
The proposed Sandy Hook Assault Weapons Ban would "be modeled in accordance with the anticipated Federal Assault Weapons Ban," according to those who support it.
Multiple businesses near the massive memorial in Sandy Hook have posted green and white signs asking people to support the ban. The signs are done in the same style as the all-caps signs around Newtown that read, "We are Sandy Hook. We choose love."
Signs encourage Newtown residents to support an assault weapons ban "for the safety of our residents and to honor the memories of the 26 victims of the December 14, 2012, atrocities brought forth upon our community." Supporters are petitioning Newtown leaders "to immediately complete and pass an ordinance called the Sandy Hook Assault Weapons Ban."
"To be modeled in accordance with the anticipated Federal Assault Weapons Ban; the 'Sandy Hook Assault Weapons Ban' will be subject to future modification to achieve and maintain a practical, community-supported ordinance that demonstrates the courage and commitment of this community to lead the way, in a State and Federal Constitutionally-compliant manner"
But it's not clear how many people have signed the ban, or an exact time frame.
Among the businesses displaying the petitions were Demitasse Cafe and Sandy Hook Deli and Catering. However when asked how to sign the petition Sunday, staff there were unsure and did not appear to be collecting signatures.
Speaking to Newtown two days after the shooting, President Obama said he would use "whatever power this office holds" to prevent similar tragedies. Sunday night, more than 300,000 had petitioned Obama on the White House website to limit guns through legislation, with some of the petitions specifically addressing the need for an assault weapons ban.
But tens of thousands more also petitioned the president to not restrict the rights of law abiding gun owners, and more than 9,000 asked that petitions on an assault weapons ban be dissolved as unconstitutional under the Second Amendment.
"We hear you," Obama said in a video response. "Now like the majority of Americans, I believe that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual's right to bear arms. We have a strong tradition of gun ownership that has been handed down from generation to generation. And the fact is, most gun owners in America are responsible."
Obama, who praised many gun owners for wanting to prevent tragedies like Newtown, has called on Congress to take up and pass "common sense legislation that has the support of a majority of the American people," he said.
That would include banning assault weapons and high capacity ammunition clips like the kind killer Adam Lanza was carrying in Sandy Hook Elementary School. A Bushmaster XM-15 rifle was recovered at the school along with several hundred rounds of unused ammunition. Police think the 20-year-old who killed himself as police arrived would have continued killing children.
Obama also tasked Vice President Joe Biden with leading the effort to come up with a comprehensive set of proposals to keep children safe. That would include addressing school safety, mental illness, and "a culture that too often glorifies guns and violence."
Biden helped draft the 1994 crime bill that led to the Federal Assault Weapons Ban that year, which expired a decade later. Previous efforts to renew the bill have failed.
Obama said he wants the proposals by January and that he'll do "everything in my power as President to advance these efforts."
An unwavering National Rifle Association said Sunday that not a single new gun regulation would make children safer, that "a media machine" relishes blaming the gun industry for each new attack like the one that occurred at a Connecticut elementary school, and that a White House task force on gun violence may try to undermine the Second Amendment.
"Look, a gun is a tool. The problem is the criminal," said Wayne LaPierre, the CEO of the nation's largest gun-rights lobby, said Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press."
On Friday, he asked Congress for money to put a police officer in every school and said at a press conference, "the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun."
LaPierre said the arming of every single school in America needs to come "before we engage in any lengthy debate over legislation, regulation or anything else," and also before children return to school.
The NRA leader dismissed efforts to revive the assault weapons ban as a "phony piece of legislation" that's built on lies. He made clear it was highly unlikely that the NRA could support any new gun regulations.
"If it's crazy to call for putting police and armed security in our schools to protect our children, then call me crazy," LaPierre said Sunday on NBC. "I think the American people think it's crazy not to do it. It's the one thing that would keep people safe."
Information from The Associated Press and Hearst Newspapers photographer Joshua Trujillo is included in this report. Casey McNerthney can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Casey on Twitter at twitter.com/mcnerthney.