"I think that day will come, but today's not that day."
That's the response from White House spokesperson Jay Carney when asked about the prospect of tougher gun control laws following a brutal massacre at a Connecticut elementary school that has left 27 people dead, including 20 children.
According to reports, the killings happened on Friday morning at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, about 95 kilometres northeast of New York City.
In an afternoon address to a stunned nation, President Obama said that "we've been through this too many times."
"Whether it's an elementary school in Newtown, a shopping mall in Oregon, or a temple in Wisconsin, or a movie theater in Aurora, or a street corner in Chicago, these neighborhoods are our neighborhoods, and these children are our children," a visibly shaken Obama said.
"We're going to have to come together to take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics."
More on the Newtown tragedy:
- Full coverage: Sandy Hook school shooting in Connecticut
- Photos from the school
- Video: Parent: A powerless and terrifying feeling
- Canadian PM Stephen Harper calls massacre 'senseless violence'
- Raw video: Gunman killed at the scene
- Raw video: Footage from the scene
Indeed, the U.S. has been through this way too many times before.
According, to William Wolfe-Wylie of Postmedia News, the United States has among the worst record of mass gun violence in the Western world.
"Since the Columbine High School shooting in 1999, there have been 31 school shootings in the United States and only 14 in the rest of the world combined," he wrote on Friday.
This shooting, because of the number of deaths of young people, will invariably touch a nerve around the world.
It already has.
Many took to Twitter denouncing existing gun control laws in the United States. Some also touted Canada as an example where gun control works.
Others, however, argued that those calling for tougher gun laws — on the day of the massacre — are nothing but political opportunists.
"I am disgusted by those who want to get into the politics of today's violence. Shame on Michael Moore & MSNBC," GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain tweeted, according to the New York Daily News.
Certainly, today may not be the day to discuss it.
But, as explained by The Telegraph newspaper in the UK, if America was going to adopt tougher rules, the weeks and months ahead present the best opportunity.
This shooting could be different; it could produce change. The dead include large numbers of children, probably the greatest number ever to lose their lives in a gun massacre.
Mr. Obama does not have re-election to worry about and in a second term may feel able to pass some of the restrictions that he believes in but has never had the political leverage to implement.
If today's massacre doesn't force U.S. lawmakers to take a tougher stand against guns, what will?
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