As President Obama spoke to mourning families in Newtown, Conn., on Sunday night, he clearly seemed to suggest a need for tougher gun laws.
"Are we really prepared to say that we're powerless in the face of such carnage? That the politics are too hard?" he said.
For Congress, the politics have been too hard.
The combination of a powerful gun owners' lobby in the form of the National Rifle Association and a loss of public support for gun control has stymied efforts in recent years to tighten gun laws.