As President Obama prepared to speak at a vigil in Newtown tonight, back in Washington there were growing calls for him to make good on his promise of "meaningful action" on gun control.
Speaking to NBC's Meet the Press, Senator Dianne Feinstein announced she would introduce a bill to ban assault weapons on the opening day of the new Congress next month.
The bill, she explained, would ban "the sale, the transfer, the importation and the possession" of assault weapons, as well as magazines that carry more than 10 bullets.
Feinstein, a California Democrat, was instrumental in creating the 1994 Federal Assault Weapons Ban, which expired in 2004. This, she said, would be a "perfected" version of that law.
In his statement immediately following the shootings in Connecticut on Friday, Obama argued for "meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics."
In the past, gun control advocates have criticised the President for failing to act; in 2010, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence accused him of "extraordinary silence and passivity" on the issue, awarding him an "F" grade for his lack of effort.
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has long supported stricter gun laws, said yesterday that it was "time for the President to stand up and lead."
Mr Obama, said Bloomberg, should introduce an assault weapons ban, and insist that federal agencies enforce existing gun legislation more energetically.
"This should be his number one agenda. He's the President of the United States, and if he does nothing, during his second term something like 48,000 Americans will be killed with illegal guns.
That is roughly the amount of Americans killed in the whole Vietnam War."
Democrat lawmakers have shied away from discussing gun control in recent years, fearful of incurring the wrath of the National Rifle Association (NRA), which is considered the country's most powerful lobby group.
But yesterday senior Democrats led the demands for a renewal of the assault weapons ban, among them New York Senator Chuck Schumer; Dick Durbin, the Senator from Illinois who, as Majority Whip, is the second most powerful Democrat in the Senate; and former Vice Presidential candidate Joe Lieberman.
Lieberman told Fox News Sunday, "The strongest conceivable gun control laws won't stop all acts of violence, but… the stronger our gun control laws are, the fewer acts of violence - including mass violence - will happen in our society."
As the debate opened up, some of the families began to speak about their ordeal, including Robbie Parker, the father of six year old Emilie.
He called for compassion and understanding as said that his thoughts were also with the Lanza family: "I can't imagine how hard this experience must be for you. I want you to know that our family and our love and support goes out to you as well."
With his state at the heart of the debate, Connecticut Representative John Larson said over the weekend that Congress must look at wide-ranging new gun control measures, including the ban on assault weapons, and the institution of background checks for all gun sales.
Lieberman's fellow Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal was more circumspect about policy detail, but told ABC's This Week that Friday's events would "spur and transform the national conversation".
The state's Governor, Dan Malloy, who broke the tragic news to bereaved families in Newtown on Friday, said of assault weapons like the one used in the attack, "You don't hunt deer with these things… One can only hope that we'll find a way to limit these weapons that really only have one purpose."
Authorities in Indiana today said a man they named as 60-year-old Von Meyer who had 47 guns and ammunition in his home had been arrested, after allegedly threatening to kill people at an elementary school near his home in Cedar Lake, about 45 miles southeast of Chicago.
Not all of Washington is in agreement, however. According to the programme's host, David Gregory, no supporters of so-called "gun rights" were willing to appear on Meet the Press.
But Congressman Louie Gohmert, a Texas Republican, told Fox News the problem was not too many guns, but too few.
Mass murderers, Gohmert claimed, chose locations where they knew their victims would be unarmed: "Every mass killing of more than three people in recent history has been in a place where guns were prohibited," he said.
The tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary could have been prevented, Gohmert went on, if the school's principal, Dawn Hochsprung, had access to an assault rifle of her own. "I wish to God she had had an M4 in her office," he said, "so when she heard gunfire… she takes his head off before he can kill those precious kids."
Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.