WASHINGTON — A growing group of House and Senate Democratic lawmakers Friday called upon Congress to quickly take up new gun control laws after a man shot and killed dozens of people, including many children, at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
"Today is a day for mourning and prayer, but we must immediately get to work to end these senseless, mass killings of innocent Americans," said Democratic Rep. Chris Van Hollen. "Together, we must act now to stop the carnage.”
California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, long an advocate of stricter gun laws, rued the killings as needless and preventable.
“I hope and trust that in the next session of Congress there will be sustained and thoughtful debate about America’s gun culture and our responsibility to prevent more loss of life," she said.
Such remarks comprised a growing contingent of Democratic voices demanding a sober assessment of gun laws in the wake of the mass shooting.
President Barack Obama, too, said the shooting would require "meaningful action" in response.
But Republicans quietly avoided taking a policy stance in the wake of the mass killing, with most opting instead to offer condolences to the victims and their families.
"The horror of this day seems so unbearable, but we will lock arms and unite as citizens, for that is how Americans rise above unspeakable evil," said House Speaker John Boehner in a statement. "Let us all come together in God’s grace to pray for the families of the victims, that they may find some comfort and peace amid such suffering."
"The House of Representatives – like every American – stands ready to assist the people of Newtown, Connecticut," he added.