Speaker of the House John Boehner, ordered the flags at the U.S. Capitol to be lowered to half-mast Friday after 20 children and 6 adults were shot and killed at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn.
The White House said Friday this was not a day to discuss policy, but some in Congress were calling for action.
"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," said Democratic New York Rep. Jerrold Nadler. "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. How many more Columbines and Newtowns must we live through? I am challenging President Obama, the Congress, and the American public to act on our outrage and, finally, do something about this."
Other legislators offered their condolences.
"I was deeply saddened to hear about today's shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. What occurred there is every parent's worst nightmare," said Democratic Maryland Rep. Steny Hoyer. The Democratic Whip called the shooting "a senseless tragedy, leaving us to wonder what could motivate someone to commit such a horrible act against innocent children and those who serve as their educators. My thoughts and prayers are with the students, teachers and families affected by today's shooting."
Republican Kentucky Rep. Mitch McConnell, the House Majority Leader, said he was "crushed" to hear the news.
"We are all crushed by the news of today's horrifying massacre in Newtown. I invite everyone to lift their hearts in prayer for the victims and their families," McConnell says.
Democratic Majority Leader, California Rep. Nancy Pelosi, said there were "no words" she could offer that could console the families of the children at the school.
"We are all stunned, shocked, and distraught by this tragic shooting, by this violent act, and by the loss of so many young children. Our hearts go out to the families and friends of the students, teachers, and educators killed and wounded in Newtown, Connecticut. The entire nation will continue to stand as a source of support to this community in the days and weeks to come."
See more reactions from members of Congress.
- Are Mass Shootings A Fact of Life in America?
- How to Protect Yourself in a Mass Shooting
- Wrong Ryan Lanza ID-ed?
Lauren Fox is a political reporter for U.S. News and World Report. You can follow her on Twitter or reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.