New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a longtime advocate of gun control, responded that "President Obama rightly sent his heartfelt condolences to the families in Newtown. But the country needs him to send a bill to Congress to fix this problem. 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."
Recent mass shootings have not spurred support for stricter gun laws. An August Washington Post-Kaiser Family Foundation poll shortly after the mass shooting in Aurora found 51 percent supporting stricter gun laws, almost unchanged from 52 percent in January 2011. That Washington Post-ABC News poll found that a 57 percent majority supported banning high-capacity ammunition clips with more than 10 bullets, but two-thirds opposed an across-the-board ban on handgun sales.
Some polling suggests that Americans view high-profile shootings as isolated events, not evidence of a broader problem in American society.
Some activists said the sight of dead children could change public opinion and the political atmosphere.
"It could spur an effort" to pass gun control legislation, said Kristen Rand, the legislative director of Violence Policy Center. "It may be harder for the NRA to say no. And for the [National Shooting Sports Foundation], which has been at the forefront of efforts to rebrand assault rifles as modern sporting rifles."