The horrific massacre in Newtown on Friday is reopening national debate over gun control and that has some pro-gun advocates already preparing for a fight.
Scott Wilson, president of the Connecticut Citizens Defense League, which lobbies against gun control, said he expects anti-gun legislation to be introduced next year on the federal level and in Connecticut.
"We are getting indications that, because of some of the higher profile massacres, we will see some legislation," Wilson said. "Connecticut will try to do something. I understand the sentiments and feelings. But I think violent criminals will go to whatever means to achieve their ends."
U.S. Rep. Jim Himes, D-4, said he supports reasonable gun control, such as limiting high-load magazines and renewing a long-expired federal ban on assault weapons.
"It needs to spark a debate on gun control," Himes said of the Newtown shootings. "We are trying to prevent a lot of Americans from getting killed. But it's also about enforcement and national standards. People die in New York all the time from guns smuggled from Virginia."
President Obama on Friday, while wiping away tears over the deaths of 20 young children at six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School, called for "meaningful action" to prevent similar tragedies in the future. He stopped short of proposing specific legislation.
Himes said he hopes Obama, who no longer faces re-election, will use his second term to fight for gun control. "I hope he will push for it," Himes said.
New York Democratic Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, whose husband Dennis was among six Long Island Rail Road commuters killed by a gunman in 1993, said tragedies like what happened in Newtown are becoming all too common.
McCarthy said she hoped Obama's promise to "take meaningful action'' will "stay true as we continue down this road again.'' Himes has co-sponsored bills introduced by McCarthy to renew the federal assault weapon ban and cap the number of bullets that can be put in magazines.
U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn, said he believes the Newtown tragedy, when viewed in the context of other recent shootings, could lead to a real discussion of violence.
"I think inevitably this horrific tragedy will change the nature and transform the tenor of national violence prevention. I'm hearing from colleagues and law enforcement people that something has to be done and this incident may be a call to action," Blumenthal said.
Blumenthal said he plans to address the issue on floor of the Senate in the coming days.
"No single law can solve the problem of gun violence but there have been so many tragedies. There may be a serious effort to address gun violence," he said.
Republicans, many of whom rely on backing from the National Rifle Association, are so far staying away from talking about firearms regulation in the wake of the Newtown shootings. The NRA has been mute since the tragedy. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a former Republican and an advocate for gun restrictions, said now is the time to act. "Calling for `meaningful action' is not enough. We need immediate action. We have heard all the rhetoric before," Bloomberg said.
"We're a better country than this," said Brian Malte of the Brady Campaign. "We're optimistic that the American people have had enough. We're optimistic the American public wants to have this conversation, that the voices of Americans will be heard throughout the country after what happened today."
Even Rupert Murdoch, the conservative owner of Fox News, said in a recent tweet that automatic weapons should be banned.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., author of a 1994 assault weapons ban which lapsed in 2004, said she expects an extensive debate over gun control.
"I hope and trust that in the next session of Congress there will be sustained and thoughtful debate about America's gun culture and our responsibility to prevent more loss of life," she said.
The federal assault weapons ban outlawed 19 types of military-style rifles as well as high-capacity ammunition magazines. Feinstein has called for reintroduction of an "updated" assault weapons ban.
The guns allegedly used in the Newtown shootings, two automatic pistols and a semi-automatic rifle, are legal in Connecticut, but the 20 year-old shooter, Adam Lanza, was illegally possessing them because state residents can't carry a handgun until they are 21 years old and must have a permit. He was also wearing illegal body armor.
Himes said he would not support banning Glock pistols like those used by Lanza, but said he would prohibit 30 round magazines, which turn the weapons into small machine guns.
Larry Pratt, executive director of Gun Owners of America, said the solution to terrible events like the Newtown shootings is to arm teachers.
"This tragedy underscores the urgency of getting rid of gun bans in school zones. The only thing accomplished by gun free zones is to insure that mass murderers can slay more before they are finally confronted by someone with a gun," Pratt said.
Himes said Gun Owners of American is one of several "extremist groups" that "perpetrate a myth that we are safer with guns -- I believe most people have more common sense."