Will Friday's tragic shooting at a Connecticut elementary school prompt a new push for stricter federal gun laws?
Many, including White House press secretary Jay Carney, said that a debate over gun-control legislation should wait for another day. But others urged public officials to think of the massacre as a call to act.
President Barack Obama, who has remained relatively silent on the gun debate during his first term, mourned the shooting victims during an emotional statement from the White House on Friday afternoon. But he also hinted that policy changes could be taken up in the future.
"We're going to have to come together to take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics," he said.
Hardly any action on gun legislation at the federal level has taken place in the wake of recent mass shootings, angering gun control advocates, while gun rights have been expanded at the state level.
Pro-gun control groups staged a rally Friday afternoon near the White House urging the president to take a stand. Will this time be different? It's hard to say. But here is a snapshot of the gun debates that followed mass shootings over the past five years, none of which produced significant results.
NEWTOWN, CONNECTICUT ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
Twenty children and six adults were shot and killed when a heavily-armed man carried out an attack at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut on December 14. The response:
White House press secretary Jay Carney: "Twenty seven people, including 20 children, shot and killed when a heavily-armed man carried out an attack at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut on December 14. The gunman was also found dead inside the school, raising the total death toll to 28. The shooter's mother was slain in the attack.
"We're still waiting for more information about what the incident in Connecticut. As we do, I think it's important on a day like today to view this, as I know the president as a father does, and I as a father and others who are parents certainly do, which is to feel enormous sympathy for families that are affected and to do everything we can to support state and local law enforcement and to support those who are enduring what appears to be a very tragic event.
"There is, I'm sure -- will be, rather, a day for discussion of the usual Washington policy debates, but I don't think today is that day." -- (Source: Transcript, White House Press Briefing, 12/14/2012)
Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-New York), pro-gun control: "I was just giving the White House a heads up that the gloves are off on my side and I was going to do everything I possibly could. … If that meant embarrassing everybody, that's what I would do." (Source: Politico, 12/14/2012)
Piers Morgan: "This is now President Obama's biggest test - will he have the courage to stand up to the American gun lobby?" (Source: Twitter, 12/14/2012)
Bill Hobbs: "No mass shooting killer was ever stopped by someone telling him he's in a gun-free zone." (Source: Twitter, 12/14/2012)
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg: "Calling for 'meaningful action' is not enough. We need immediate action. We have heard all the rhetoric before. What we have not seen is leadership – not from the White House and not from Congress. That must end today." (Source: Statement, 12/14/2012)
AURORA, COLORADO MOVIE THEATER
A masked gunman entered a crowded movie theater during a midnight premiere of the latest Batman film and opened fire, killing 12 people and wounding 58. The response:
White House press secretary Jay Carney: "We can take steps to keep guns out of the hands of people who shouldn't have them with existing law." (Source: Univision News, 07/22/2012)