US President Barack Obama visited the grieving relatives of the 26 people killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School last Friday, saying that more must be done to prevent such tragedies happening in the future.

At the sombre service in Newtown, Connecticut the President told residents he shared their grief and vowed as leader of the nation to do more to protect its children.

"Can we say that we are truly doing enough to give all the children of the country the chance that they deserve to live out their lives in happiness and with purpose. I've been reflecting on this the last few days and if we are honest with ourselves -- the answer is no. We are not doing enough and we will have to change."

"In the coming weeks I'll use whatever power this office holds to engage my fellow citizens from law enforcement to mental health professionals to parents and educators in an effort aimed at preventing more tragedies like this. Because what choice do we have? We can't accept events like this as routine."

The first funerals for the 20 children and six adults gunned down at the school will be held today. The Mayor of New York Michael Bloomberg has said that tackling gun crime should be Obama's number one priority in his second term as US President.

"The President campaigned back in 2008 on a bill that would prohibit assault weapons. We've got to really question whether military-style weapons with big magazines belong on the streets ofAmerica in this day and age. Nobody questions the Second Amendment's right to bear arms but I don't think the Founding Fathers had the idea that every man, woman and child could carry an assault weapon and I think the President, through his leadership, could get a bill like that throughCongress but at least he's got to try."

Two senior US Democrats have already called for stricter gun control in the wake of the shootings, with the Governor of Connecticut Dannel Malloy saying that whilst the state had an existing ban on assault weapons, the lack of a similar ban at federal level made it difficult to keep them out of the state.

Written and presented by Alfred Joyner