Days after the shootings in Newtown, Connecticut, demands from the public and lawmakers for tougher gun control legislation were met by President Barack Obama's call for a re-examination of the country's gun laws.
Obama announced Wednesday that Vice President Joe Biden will lead an administration effort to develop recommendations no later than January for preventing another mass shooting.
But this isn't the first time the country has heard calls for action to put an end to gun violence. Most of the time, little happens legislatively. And of the action that has been taken to curb gun violence, much of the legislation enacted in the last three decades has been undone by court challenges -- many of which were supported by Second Amendment advocates.
Now, with 20 children and seven adults shot to death by a man who then took his own life, some in Washington say, "This time is different."
Here is a list of some of the worst mass shootings in the past and the legislative action -- or inaction -- following each:
Sept. 5, 1949 - Camden, N.J.
A World War II veteran, 28-year-old Howard Unruh shoots and kills 13 of his neighbors. Unruh was found insane and committed to a state mental institution rather than standing trial.
Legislative reaction: No legislative reaction could be found.
Aug. 1, 1966 - Austin, Texas
Dead: 19, including the shooter
Wounded: at least 30
The University of Texas bell tower shooter, 25-year-old Charles Joseph Whitman, kills 16 people and wounds at least 30 from his perch above the university grounds. Whitman was heavily fortified with a variety of weapons when he started picking off his victims. He also shot and killed his mother and wife earlier in the day.
Legislative reaction: Rather than addressing gun violence, the discussions after the crime surrounded a brain tumor that Whitman was found to have. The governor of Texas at the time, John Connally -- who had been wounded during the Kennedy assassination in Dallas in 1963 -- asked for legislation requiring someone to be committed for life if they were found insane in murder and in kidnapping cases, Time Magazine reported following the shooting. Sen. Robert Kennedy, who was later assassinated in Los Angeles while campaigning for president, asked for the same legislation at the federal level.
Sept. 25, 1982 - Wilkes-Barre, Pa.
Dead: 13 A 40-year-old prison guard shoots and kills 13 people, including five of his children.
The gunman, George Banks, used a Colt AR-15 semi-automatic rifle when he went house to house, shooting his victims. Banks was sentenced to death by electrocution, but he received a stay of execution in 2004. He was declared incompetent in 2010.
Legislative reaction: No direct legislative reaction. However, the assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan in 1981 prompted a reaction to gun violence. In 1982, the city of Chicago became the first major municipality to ban guns. Chicago's suburbs weren't far behind. But soon after, the National Rifle Association begins to try to pre-empt gun control legislation nationwide. The U.S. Supreme Court overturned the ban in 2010.
July 18, 1984 - San Ysidro, Calif.
Dead: 22, including the shooter
James Oliver Huberty, 41, opens fire at a McDonald's in Southern California. By the time Huberty was shot and killed by a SWAT team sniper, he had killed or wounded 41 people. Huberty's victims ranged in age from 8 months to 74 years. Huberty used a long-barreled Uzi, a Winchester 12-gauge pump-action shotgun and a 9 mm handgun to target his victims.
Legislative reaction: No legislative reaction.
Jan. 17, 1989 - Stockton, Calif.
Dead: 6, including the shooter
On a sunny Tuesday morning, Patrick Purdy, 24, sets his station wagon on fire, then walks onto the playground at Cleveland Elementary School in Stockton, Calif., and opens fire with a Type 56 Assault Rifle (a Chinese copy of the AK-47), killing five children before taking his own life. Legislative reaction: It took nearly five years, but the shooting led to the first major federal legislation on military-style assault weapons. The Federal Assault Weapons Ban was enacted in 1994 and expired in 2004. Also, in 1989, President George H.W. Bush signed an executive order banning the import of semi-automatic assault weapons.
Oct. 16, 1991 - Killeen, Texas
Dead: 24, including the shooter
George Hennard, 35, drives a pickup truck through the wall of a Luby's cafeteria in Killeen, Texas, fatally shoots 23 people and wounds more than 20 others before killing himself. According to eyewitness accounts, Hennard methodically chose his victims, most of whom were women, before he was wounded by police and shot himself.
Legislative reaction: No direct legislative reaction. However Reagan publicly pressured President George H. W. Bush, who had been his vice president, to get behind gun legislation that would impose a five-day waiting period on the purchase of a handgun. Known as the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, the legislation also required local law enforcement to conduct background checks. Reagan's support came at the behest of his wife, former first lady Nancy Reagan. The bill was named for Reagan's press secretary, James Brady, who was left paralyzed and with brain damage as a result of the 1981 assassination attempt on the president. A 1997 Supreme Court case later determined the background checks in the Brady Bill to be unconstitutional.
April 20, 1999 - Littleton, Colo.
Dead: 15, including the two shooters
High school seniors Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold use an Intratec TEC-DC-9, 9 mm semi-automatic handgun, two 12-gauge sawed-off shotguns and a Hi-Point 9-mm carbine rifle to kill 13 people and wound 23 others at Columbine High School before taking their own lives.
Legislative reaction: Legislation at both the state and federal levels was enacted following the Columbine massacre. At the federal level, the U.S. Senate passed a bill requiring background checks for firearms sold during gun shows. The bill passed by one vote, with then-Vice President Al Gore breaking the 50-50 tie in the Senate. At the state level, Colorado Gov. Bill Owens reauthorized the state's "InstaCheck" program that required background checks with firearm purchases. Another state bill, that would have allowed local officials to enforce a federal law that banned gun dealers from selling firearms to anyone under 20 years old, failed in the Colorado House.
April 16, 2007 - Blacksburg, Va.
Dead: 33, including the shooter On the Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg, Va., 23-year-old student Seung-Hui Cho goes on a shooting rampage, killing 32 people in two locations and wounding an undetermined number of others. Cho later killed himself. Cho had been declared mentally ill and "an imminent danger" to himself by a Virginia special justice, and the shooting sparked a discussion of gun control and mental illness.
Legislative reaction: President George W. Bush signed legislation in 2007 to enhance compliance with reporting requirements after the shooting to keep mentally ill people from accessing firearms.
March 10, 2009 - Kinston, Ala.
Dead: 11, including the shooter Michael McLendon, 28, sets out on a rampage through three Alabama towns, killing 10 people before turning his weapon on himself. It was the deadliest crime in Alabama state history. Police said they believed McLendon used at least 200 rounds to kill his victims, using an SKS rifle, an AR-15 made by Bushmaster, a 12-gauge shotgun and a .38-caliber handgun.