Senate gun-reform advocate deplores 'litany of massacres'
Senator Dianne Feinstein demanded an answer to America's continuing gun tragedies, asking "when will enough be enough" in the wake of Monday's horrific deadly shooting in the US capital.
Feinstein, who chairs the powerful Senate Intelligence Committee, helped lead a push for tighter gun laws in the wake of last December's shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut that left 20 children and six adults dead.
That gun-control effort, including Feinstein's bid to ban assault weapons and high-capacity clips, failed in the Senate early this year amid fierce debate.
Feinstein said she mourned the 12 people slain by a gunman at the Navy Yard in Washington, saying the killer was reportedly armed with a shotgun, an assault rifle similar to the one used in Newtown, and a semi-automatic pistol.
"This is one more event to add to the litany of massacres that occur when a deranged person or grievance killer is able to obtain multiple weapons -- including a military-style assault rifle -- and kill many people in a short amount of time," Feinstein said.
"When will enough be enough?" she added. "Congress must stop shirking its responsibility and resume a thoughtful debate on gun violence in this country."
Dozens of lawmakers returning from their districts spoke of the horror of Monday's tragedy, but perhaps in recognition of the deeply divisive nature of the issue on Capitol Hill, few made open appeals to re-ignite the debate on the nation's gun laws.
"Senseless gun violence makes me sick. So sad. Prayers for victims," said Senate Democrat Claire McCaskill on Twitter.
Even Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, who pressed for tighter gun laws in the wake of Newtown, released a measured, non-political statement about the latest tragedy.
"Heartfelt thoughts and prayers are with victims and loved ones in tragic gun violence at Washington DC Navy Yard," he wrote.
But veteran Senator Jay Rockefeller, who announced he is in his final term, sounded prepared to resume the gun control debate.
"We are becoming far too familiar with senseless, tragic violence," he wrote in a statement.
"This is the seventh shooting since 2009, and these repeated incidents demand our attention."
The Newtown Action Alliance, a group of friends and relatives of Newtown victims, said its members were due in Washington Tuesday to participate in a series of events -- planned before Monday's tragedy -- aimed at re-opening the gun debate.
"Our hearts ache. Our thoughts and prayers from Sandy Hook to DC," tweeted alliance member Monte Frank. "Tomorrow we get back to work to end this madness."