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Obama, Biden meet with Sandy Hook families

WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden met Thursday with relatives of the victims of the Connecticut school shooting, who were visiting Washington on the eve of the six-month anniversary of the tragedy to push anew for gun control.

Legislation to expand background checks for gun buyers failed in the Senate in April, and there are no indications it has gained any traction over concerns about protecting gun rights. But some of the Sandy Hook victims' relatives have been making emotional pleas to lawmakers this week and appeared with supportive lawmakers at a Capitol news conference Thursday.

Twenty first-graders and six staffers were killed on Dec. 14 in the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. Some of the families of the victims have pushed Congress to toughen firearms laws, and Obama spokesman Jay Carney said that the White House commends their "courage and perseverance."

"We want them to know that, as we approach the six-month anniversary of that terrible day, we will never forget and we will continue to fight alongside them," Carney said.

The White House would provide no details, saying that was intended to protect the families' privacy.

Biden plans to hold a gun control event at the White House Tuesday, although his office won't discuss details. Last week, Biden sent an email to Democrats saying he has faith Congress will pass meaningful gun laws if everything is done to make it happen and declared, "This fight is far from over."

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Thursday that he would not accept watered-down background checks as the price for pushing new legislation through his chamber. Reid said talks aimed at finding the 60 votes the measure will need to prevail "have not borne much fruit yet," but predicted they will.

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