WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama on Wednesday demanded 'concrete proposals' on curbing gun violence that he could send to Congress no later than January -- an urgent effort to build on the growing political consensus over gun restrictions following last week's massacre of children at a Connecticut school.

It was a tough new tone for the president, whose first four years were largely quiet on the issue amid widespread political reluctance to tackle a powerful gun-rights lobby. But emotions have been high after the gunman in Friday's shooting used a semi-automatic rifle to kill 20 young children and six adults at the school, shooting many several times and at close range, after killing his mother at home. He then killed himself.

'This time, the words need to lead to action,' Obama said. He said he will push legislation 'without delay' and urged Congress to hold votes on the bill next year.

'The fact that this problem is complex can no longer be an excuse for doing nothing,' Obama said. 'The fact that we can't prevent every act of violence doesn't mean we can't steadily reduce the violence.'

As part of his call for 'real progress, right now,' Obama pressed Congress to reinstate an assault weapons ban, which expired in 2004. He also called for stricter background checks for people who seek to purchase weapons and limited high-capacity clips.

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