14 Apr 2013

Mother of slain boy delivers radio address

9:05 am on 14 April 2013

In an unusual move, United States President Barack Obama invited the mother of a boy killed in the Connecticut school massacre last year to deliver his weekly address to the nation on Saturday.

The BBC reports the address by Francine Wheeler, mother of Ben, was the culmination of calls to Congress for tougher gun control laws.

In an often emotional statement, Ms Wheeler recalled waiting for her son to return home following the shootings, and said the "tidal wave of anguish" resulting from that day had yet to recede.

Her address was broadcast on radio and released as a video online.

Ben, aged six, was killed with 19 other children and six teachers when Adam Lanza, 20, opened fire at his elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut on 14 December.

Senators are to debate new laws that will extend background checks to gun sales made at gun shows and over the internet.

The measures are the result of a bipartisan deal struck between Republican and Democrat senators last week.

In a statement President Obama said Ms Wheeler's message was one that "every American should hear".

"This shouldn't be about politics," he said.