Himes was speaking of Noah Pozner and Jack Pinto, two six-year olds who were buried in Connecticut Monday. They were two of 20 children killed last week in an act that immediately reignited the debate in Washington over gun control laws.

Himes said he hoped the killing of innocent children would lead to progress this time, and said Congress must now make sure this sort of incident does not happen again.

"I don't think there's any risk at all that we can't do that, in a country awash in guns, and not just guns for the hunter or for the person who wishes to protect him or herself, but guns that were designed with the explicit purpose of killing as many people as rapidly as possible," he said.

"So I don't think there's any risk that we can't act, but I think that there is a profound risk that, just as after Aurora, just as after Oregon, just as after Columbine, we won't act."

Himes was joined by Connecticut's four other Democratic members on the floor to mark the shooting. Several of them, including Rep. John Larson (D-Conn.), said it is the responsibility of Congress to pass tougher laws.

"We have a responsibility to respond in the most comprehensive way," he said, adding that if this were a terrorist attack, Congress would to everything it could to protect people.

"That's why we take an oath of office here. That is our god-given responsibility," he said. "We must act and act now."

Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.), who was on the floor last July to mark a shooting in a Colorado movie theater that killed 12 people, said this latest bout of gun violence against children shows Congress has failed in its duty so far.

"We have not done enough to protect our children," she said. "We have not been able to get a grip on the increasing incidents of gun massacres, and because of that, we have failed our children."

She acknowledged that not every violent event can be stopped, but said banning weapons that can fire dozens of rounds per minute would at least reduce the death toll when they do occur.

"If you limit the weapons an ammunition available to them, you can give the people in their sights some fighting chance to stop that killer," she said.

Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) called on members to support H.R. 308, the Large Capacity Ammunition Feeding Device Act, which would ban guns with large ammo capacity and set penalties for possession or transfer of these weapons.

Other members said gun violence must also be curbed by considering limits on gun accessibility by people with mental illnesses, and must also look at cultural changes to curb violence.

"This is a really complex problem that requires complex policy solutions, but the complexity should not keep us from doing what it is that we need to do to protect our children," Rep. Donna Edwards (D-Md.) said.