Many Americans are re-examining their position on gun control after 26 people, including 20 young children, were massacred by a disturbed young man armed with a military-style assault rifle at an elementary school in Newton, Connecticut.
These quotes illustrate the gamut of views: from those who argue that restrictions on gun ownership will do nothing to stop such atrocities, to those who say enough is enough, and are demanding action:
FILMMAKER MICHAEL MOORE, A LONG-TIME GUN CONTROL ACTIVIST
"The way to honor these dead children is to demand strict gun control, free mental health care, and an end to violence as public policy."
NEW YORK MAYOR MICHAEL BLOOMBERG
"It's time for the president, I think, to stand up and lead. And tell this country what we should do. His job is not just to be well-meaning. His job is to perform and to protect the American public."
MEDIA MOGUL RUPERT MURDOCH
"Terrible news today. When will politicians find courage to ban automatic weapons? As in Oz (Australia) after similar tragedy." Murdoch, interestingly, owns Fox News, the popular US cable channel that is broadly pro-gun rights.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA
"We can't tolerate this anymore. These tragedies must end, and to end them we must change. Are we really prepared to say that we're powerless in the face of such carnage, that the politics are too hard?"
CALIFORNIA SENATOR DIANNE FEINSTEIN
"It's going to be strong, and it's going to be definitive. And it's going to ban by name at least 100 military-style semiautomatic assault weapons." The leading Democrat has vowed to table legislation to outlaw certain assault weapons and large magazine clips on the first day of the new Congress, January 3.
SENATOR MAJORITY LEADER HARRY REID
"In the coming days and weeks, we'll engage in a meaningful conversation and thoughtful debate about how to change laws and culture that allow this violence to continue to grow." As top Democrat in the Senate, Reid will be crucial to the success or failure of any gun control legislation. The Arizona senator had a reputation as a pro-gun politician.
DEMOCRATIC SENATOR JOE MANCHIN
"Never before have we seen our babies slaughtered. This awful massacre has changed where we go from here. Our conversation should move beyond dialogue.
"Everything needs to be on the table, and I ask all my colleagues to sit down to talk about firearms, mental health and our culture." Manchin, of West Virginia, was seen as the most pro-gun Democrat in Congress.
REPUBLICAN SENATOR MARCO RUBIO
Through spokesman Alex Conant, Rubio called for a "serious and comprehensive study of our laws to find new and better ways to prevent any more mass shootings." As a rising star of his party and potential 2016 presidential candidate, Rubio's willingness to take another look at the issue is another key indicator of the changing mood.
TEXAS GOVERNOR RICK PERRY
"You should be able to carry your handgun anywhere in this state," the 2012 Republican presidential candidate told a Tea Party gathering in Texas to wide applause.
"One of the things I hope we don't see from our federal government is this knee-jerk reaction from Washington, D.C., when there is an event that occurs that they come in and think they know the answer."
FORMER REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE MIKE HUCKABEE
"People want to pass new laws... but this is a heart issue, laws don't change this kind of thing.
"We ask why there is violence in our schools but we have systematically removed God from our schools." The 2008 Republican presidential candidate rowed back on these remarks after widespread condemnation.
LEADING CONSERVATIVE COMMENTATOR ANN COULTER
"Only one policy has ever been shown to deter mass murder: concealed-carry laws -- more guns, less mass shootings."
NATIONAL RIFLE ASSOCIATION (NRA)
America's predominant gun lobby, a mighty Washington powerbroker whose wrath has inspired fear in politicians on both sides of the aisle for a generation, has remained silent and apparently suspended its Facebook page.