WASHINGTON (WUSA) -- President Obama says in the 33 days since the Newtown massacre, he's received tons of letters from children pleading for the country to do something to keep them safe.
One of those letters came from 11-year-old Julia Stokes of DC.
She stood behind the President as he signed executive orders and pushed Congress to pass new limits on gun control. "It was amazing, it was breath-taking."
Julia was horrified by Newtown. "I read all the stories, and I know a lot about it. That day, I was very scared to go to school."
She lives on Capitol Hill, she's the daughter of a pediatrician, and she felt compelled to do something. "I knew that I couldn't do anything as one person, but I knew he could. And so I decided to ask him."
The President read from her letter. "And then Julia said.... Julia, where are you? 'I'm not scared for my safety, I'm scared for others.'"
Julia's letter reached the President's desk. "I have a two-year-old brother, and a five-year-old," she told me on the White House lawn after the President's speech. "And my two-year-old is going to pre-school. and I don't want anything to happen to him."
"They're voices," said the President, "should compel us to change."
The words of children, somehow more powerful than anything adults can say. "I know laws have to be passed by Congress," Julia wrote, "but I beg you to try very hard." "Julia," the President told her, "I will try very hard."
The National Rifle Association responded swiftly. Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre promising the fight of it's life. He told members, "this is not about keeping children safe... It's about taking your guns away, period."
"I think it's fine for people to own a gun if they want one," says Julia. "But I think they need to have better laws."
Julia says this was a day she'll never forget -- but she dreams of coming back to the White House again -- when Congress has approved stricter limits on guns. "It will be amazing for him to have like answered my prayer. Answered my letter."
The President said his mind was also on another little girl today: Grace McDonald, 7, who was murdered at Sandy Hook. Grace's father gave the President one of her drawings. And he says he's framed it and hung it just off the Oval Office in his private study.
WRITTEN AND REPORTED BY BRUCE LESHAN
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