House Democrats urge debate on gun violence following Conn. shooting

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Reps. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), Ted Deutch (D-Fla.), Donna Edwards (D-Md.), Mike Honda (D-Calif.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) all issued statements connecting the broader debate on gun violence to the incident on Friday, the latest in multiple mass shootings this year.

The shooting at at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., resulted in multiple fatalities. The Associated Press reports 27 dead, including 18 children, as well as one identified shooter.

"If now is not the time to have a serious discussion about gun control and the epidemic of gun violence plaguing our society, I don’t know when is,” Nadler said in a statement. "Yet another unstable person has gotten access to firearms and committed an unspeakable crime against innocent children. We cannot simply accept this as a routine product of modern American life.”

Edwards tweeted she is praying for "courage" to talk about controlling access to handguns, as well as for the victims of the Newtown violence.

“Time to come together to stop gun violence,” tweeted Deutch.

 “[I]t is my hope that we can finally take action to address the root causes of these horrific tragedies together, as a nation," Honda said in a staement.

"Easy availability of the deadliest weapons to the most dangerous people has cost countless lives and caused immeasurable suffering, never more so than today," said Lowey. "Our expressions of sympathy must be matched with concrete actions to stop gun violence.”

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, addressing the reports, said earlier that "today is not the day" to discuss gun laws.

“I think it’s important, on a day like today, to view this as I know the president, as a father, does, and others who are parents certainly do: which is to feel enormous sympathy for those families affected and to do everything that we can to support state and local law enforcement and to support those who are enduring what appears to be a very tragic event,” he told reporters.

President Obama, addressing the nation in the afternoon, said it is time to "come together...to take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics," not an explicit push for gun control but an indication he is not ignoring the debate. Subsequently, additional Democrats, including those in the Senate, agreed it is time to confront the topic.

Rep. Ron Barber (D-Ariz.), himself the victim of the mass shooting that leaves former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords still recovering from being shot in the head, issued a statement of support urging the community to “come together to support each other.”

The shooting has already prompted a national conversation on Twitter, with #guncontrolnow is trending on Friday afternoon.

Updated at 4:01 p.m.

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