(WASHINGTON) — As the Senate opened up session for the first time since the massacre in Newtown, Conn., Senate Majority leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said that all options need to be on the table to legislatively respond to gun violence.
“We need to accept the reality that we are not doing enough to protect our citizens,” Reid said Monday afternoon. “We have no greater responsibility than keeping our most vulnerable and most precious resource – our children – safe. And every idea should be on the table as we discuss how best to do just that.”
Reid said that part of the healing process will be to “examine what can be done to prevent more tragedies” like this and others, which have devastated the nation in recent years.
“In the coming days and weeks, we will engage in a meaningful conversation and thoughtful debate about how to change laws and culture that allow violence to grow,” Reid said.
The Senate was not in session on Friday, the day of the shootings.
After a moment of silence was held on the Senate floor both the Senate Majority Leader and the Senate Minority Leader paid tribute to the lives lost at Sandy Hook Elementary.
“There’s no escaping the fact that the massacre stands out for its awfulness,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said. “We stand with the people of Newtown today and in the days ahead. We can do nothing to lessen their anguish, but we can let them know that we mourn with them. That we share a tiny part of the burden in our own hearts.”
Senate Chaplain Barry Black opened up the legislative day with a prayer, calling for all lawmakers to act promptly.
“May the incomprehensible destruction of lives still framed by springtime remind us of the importance of not delaying in seizing our opportunities to do good,” Black said. “Make our lawmakers willing to act promptly, remembering that time is fleeting, and that they shall not pass this way again.”
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Deirdre Walsh and Eugene Scott, CNN
Tom LoBianco, CNN
Jim Acosta and Greg Clary, CNN