As word spread of the 27 tragic deaths at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., politicians from across the country offered their sympathies, expressed frustration and called for reform.
Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who was the victim of a mass shooting in January 2011, sent her prayers via her husband's Facebook page, and a tearful President Obama told the nation, "our hearts are broken."
Mark Kelly, husband of former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords:
"I just woke up in my hotel room in Beijing, China, to learn that another mass shooting has taken place -- this time at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in CT. My thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims and the entire community of Newtown, CT. I just spoke to Gabby, and she sends her prayers from Tucson.
"As we mourn, we must sound a call for our leaders to stand up and do what is right. This time our response must consist of more than regret, sorrow, and condolence. The children of Sandy Hook Elementary School and all victims of gun violence deserve leaders who have the courage to participate in a meaningful discussion about our gun laws -- and how they can be reformed and better enforced to prevent gun violence and death in America. This can no longer wait." (Facebook)
President Barack Obama:
"The majority of those who died today were children -- beautiful little kids between the ages of 5 and 10-years-old," he said, pausing to wipe away a tear. "They had their entire lives ahead of them -- birthdays, graduations, weddings, kids of their own."
"Our hearts are broken today, for the parents, grandparents, sisters and brothers of these little children," Obama added, "as well as the families of the adults who were lost." (NBC News)
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg
"It has come to that. Not even kindergarteners learning their A,B,Cs are safe. We heard after Columbine that it was too soon to talk about gun laws. We heard it after Virginia Tech. After Tucson and Aurora and Oak Creek. And now we are hearing it again. For every day we wait, 34 more people are murdered with guns. Today, many of them were 5-year-olds. President Obama rightly sent his heartfelt condolences to the families in Newtown. But the country needs him to send a bill to Congress to fix this problem. Calling for 'meaningful action' is not enough. We need immediate action. We have heard all the rhetoric before. What we have not seen is leadership -- not from the White House and not from Congress. That must end today. This is a national tragedy and it demands a national response. My deepest sympathies are with the families of all those affected, and my determination to stop this madness is stronger than ever."
Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ)
"This is a day of great sadness in America, and our hearts go out to the victims and their families. This latest shooting tragedy is an unthinkable act of violence carried out against young children and innocent people. Americans are sick and tired of these attacks on our children and neighbors and they are sick and tired of nothing being done in Washington to stop the bloodshed. If we do not take action to address gun violence, shooting tragedies like this will continue. As President Obama said, we must act now 'regardless of the politics.'"
Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT)
"Hadassah and I are shocked and heartbroken by the horrific events in Newtown today. We know this community and its people well. It is a beautiful town with wonderful people. As parents and grandparents, our hearts grieve for them today, and we send our prayers to each of them. I have spoken with President Obama and Vice President Biden today, both of whom share our grief and will do everything they can to console, comfort, and strengthen the survivors and the community. I will do everything in my power to assist the victims, survivors and their loved ones in the long days ahead, and extend my deepest sympathies to everyone affected by this terrible event.
Tales of Horror from Newtown School Shooting
"I commend the work of our local authorities and first responders for their dedication today in Newtown. I hope that all those involved are able to work together in the coming days as details become more clear, and that families in the Newtown community may have some semblance of peace during this holiday season. All of our prayers are with those in Newtown."
House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio)
"The horror of this day seems so unbearable, but we will lock arms and unite as citizens, for that is how Americans rise above unspeakable evil. Let us all come together in God's grace to pray for the families of the victims, that they may find some comfort and peace amid such suffering. Let us give thanks for all those who helped get people to safety, and take heart from their example. The House of Representatives -- like every American -- stands ready to assist the people of Newtown, Connecticut."
Rep. George Miller (D-CA)
"Today, my thoughts and prayers are with the parents, families and school employees dealing with the horrific loss of life in Newtown, Connecticut. I join all Americans in grieving for this community suffering from this incomprehensible tragedy.
"Today is for sorrow and prayers. But the days ahead are for serious reflection about how we can reduce the flow of guns into the wrong hands. One mass shooting after another in America is followed by sincere and painful mourning but no real action to protect the innocent. We must come together as a nation to honestly discuss how to prevent people intent on carrying out these savage attacks from so easily obtaining guns and ammunition. The nation is ready for this conversation. More importantly, though, the safety of children and all Americans demands we have it."
Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.)
"I am in shock and disbelief at this horrible tragedy that took so many innocent lives today. As a father and grandfather, it is beyond my comprehension why anyone would want to hurt innocent children. I join the millions of Americans whose thoughts and hearts are with those suffering because of this horrible crime in Connecticut."
Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D-NY)
"Today's horrific act of violence in Newtown, Connecticut is senseless and heartbreaking. There are no words to express the profound grief we all feel at the loss of so many, especially young children. My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their friends and family and the entire Newtown community.
"We cannot tolerate mass shootings as a mere inconvenience or a normal part of our everyday lives. Easy availability of the deadliest weapons to the most dangerous people has cost countless lives and caused immeasurable suffering, never more so than today. Our expressions of sympathy must be matched with concrete actions to stop gun violence."
Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Col.)
"The terrible news out of Connecticut is staggering. Like all Colorado families, my family is grieving and our hearts are with the victims, their families, and all of the students and employees at the school. This is a parent's worst nightmare. As Coloradans, we know how this type of tragedy can shake a community to its core. We are here for Connecticut as they work together to heal in the days ahead."
Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.)
"This is a terrible, senseless, incomprehensible tragedy and my thoughts and prayers are with everyone in Newtown and Sandy Hook Elementary School. I have been in touch with the governor's office and other officials and will do everything in my power to be there for the affected families."
Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.)
"As a parent and a public official, my heart and prayers are with these innocent victims, their families, and the entire community. I share the shock of all Connecticut at this hideous, horrific crime of inhuman violence. I will be in close communication with law enforcement and state and local officials to ensure they receive the federal support and resources they need. "
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo
"I was shocked and saddened to hear of the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School this morning in Newtown, Connecticut. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of the innocent victims -- many of whom were young children -- whose lives were claimed by this senseless and horrific act of violence. During times of such unthinkable tragedy, all New Yorkers stand together with the people of our neighboring state to grieve the loss of life and help bear the pain and anguish that will be felt by so many in the weeks, months, and years to come.
"While we don't have all the facts and our focus must be on the victims, this is yet another senseless and horrific act of violence involving guns. We as a society must unify and once and for all crack down on the guns that have cost the lives of far too many innocent Americans. Let this terrible tragedy finally be the wake-up call for aggressive action and I pledge my full support in that effort."
Sen. Olympia J. Snowe (R-ME)
"Like all Americans, I am shocked and sickened at this reprehensible, heinous act at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut. Such senseless violence is simply unimaginable and has no place in this great country of ours. As we struggle to comprehend this national tragedy, we stand united in holding the families and loved ones of those lost in our thoughts, and we pray for the full recovery of everyone who has been injured."
Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY)
"The horror of what happened is beyond words and leaves a permanent lump in your throat. To senselessly lose so many innocent lives breaks your heart. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all who lost a loved one today, to all who are injured, and to those that survived. The people of New York will help in any way we can as our fellow citizens struggle to comprehend today's events. Perhaps an awful tragedy like this will bring us together so we can do what it takes to prevent this horror from being repeated again."
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL)
"My heart breaks for the victims and families impacted by the senseless act of violence today in Newtown, Connecticut. In a world that can at times be defined by its darkness, children are a reminder of what is good, cheerful and beautiful about life. An act of violence against these defenseless young people, as well as the faculty and staff who dedicate themselves daily to educating and caring for them, is a deed of unconscionable evil. I pray that God holds Newtown close tonight as all of her residents come to terms with this tragedy."