Nightly News   |  April 13, 2013

Sandy Hook mom makes plea for gun control

All across the country Saturday, people turned out at rallies to demand tougher gun laws. Meanwhile, Sandy Hook mother Francine Wheeler made an emotional appeal for national gun-control legislation. NBC’s Kristen Welker reports.

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>> here in the country, new developments in the debate over guns including an emotional plea from a mother of a boy killed in newtown and exclusive reporting tonight that another republican senator will vote for expanded background checks . we've both parts of the story covered tonight. kristin in.

>> good evening, the senate will take up debate on the gun legislation this coming week as the passionate public discussion rages on.

>> reporter: across the country tod tod today from atlanta to indiana, people rallied for tougher gun laws .

>> a background check is a baseline kmen sense thing to do.

>> this is a public safety issue.

>> reporter: some gun rights advocates protested against new laws.

>> do do not attack our rights as citizens. we are law abiding citizens and being victim miized for this.

>> for the first time ever, the president turned over his address to a private citizen. she is a grieving newtown parent.

>> our son was murdered in his first grade classroom on december 14th . exactly four months ago this weekend.

>> wheeler was among the newtown families that spent the week on capitol hill pressing congress to act, and going senator to senator the wheelers and other parntss shared their stories. the conversations help to persuade the senate to allow debate on the new gun legislation that would expand background checks , a compromise deal crafted by two senators. the national rifle association has launched new ads against the legislation, arguing that it limits the rights of law abiding citizens. meanwhile the nra was criticized for sponsoring a nascar race in texas today. which culminates in a pistol wheeling celebration. the race was asked to not air, but the event will go on as plans as will debate over guns.

>> help us do something before our tragedy becomes your tragedy.

>> with 9 in 10 americans supporting background checks , they are hoping that is more popular