President Obama due in Chicago to push for gun control

President Barack Obama speaks at Linamar Corporation in Arden, N.C. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

February 13, 2013 2:50:54 PM PST
President Barack Obama is taking his push for gun control on the road this week. He will speak at a Chicago high school on Friday.

Following his emotional appeal for gun control legislation during his State of the Union speech Tuesday night, President Obama is traveling around the country with his message.

The White House says Obama will speak Friday afternoon at Hyde Park Academy, which is about 1 mile from the first family's home.

The president traveled to North Carolina Wednesday to reinforce the message of economic opportunity for the middle class that he highlighted in his State of the Union speech.

But the emotion in Tuesday night's address came about seven minutes from the end.

"The families of Oak Creek, and Tucson, and Blacksburg, and the countless other communities ripped open by gun violence, they deserve a simple vote," Obama said.

With Hadiya Pendleton's parents sitting alongside the president's wife, Obama called for what he considered meaningful, common-sense gun control as he told Hadiya's story.

"Just three weeks ago, she was here, in Washington, with her classmates, performing for her country at my inauguration," said Obama. "And a week later, she was shot and killed in a Chicago park after school, just a mile away from my house."

"It's a start," said Cleo Pendleton, Hadiya's mother. "They need to do some things."

With other families hit by gun violence in attendance, the president made it clear he would push ahead.

"Overwhelming majorities of Americans, Americans who believe in the 2nd Amendment, have come together around common sense reform, like background checks that will make it harder for criminals to get their hands on a gun," said the president.

Hadiya Pendleton was shot January 29 while taking refuge from the rain in a Chicago park. Chicago police say known gang members mistook her group as rivals and began shooting.

Michael Ward, 18, and Kenneth Williams, 20, appeared in court Wednesday for a hearing. Both are charged with first degree murder.

The Chicago Sun-Times reports Ward's family members says he made mistakes but was not a gang member.

The president has been under pressure to come back to Chicago and talk about the city's gun violence problems. It remains to be seen whether his 3-hour visit on Friday will be enough to satisfy the critics.