(NECN/NBC News: Tom Costello) - Even before Friday’s carnage, there have been so many mass shootings this year alone:
- Two murdered at a Portland mall on Tuesday
- Another six murdered at a Sikh temple in August
- Seven murdered at a small university in California
- Five murdered at a Seattle coffee shop
- And 12 dead, 58 wounded at a movie theater in Aurora, Colo.
On Friday morning, within minutes of the Connecticut massacre, social media lit up.
"When will it stop?" read one tweet.
Another read: "I can't take it anymore: I'm a hunter, who loves hunting (ducks mostly) and own guns, and I'm saying we need some damn gun control."
And this tweet: "People who shoot up schools won't be stopped by laws and/or will find guns."
While on the NRA’s Facebook page: "We need to protect our children, not build laws against guns."
But by mid-afternoon, with the White House flag at half-staff, President Obama said, "As a country, we have been through this too many times."
A citizen petition on the White House website was calling for gun control, and the president was hinting at something he has rarely mentioned: "We're going to have to come together to take action, regardless of the politics."
And in Colorado, still haunted by the Aurora and Columbine massacres, the governor of that western, pro-gun state, also said it's time to begin a discussion about sensible gun control.
"We can't postpone the discussion on a national level every time there is a shooting,” said John Hickenlooper.
On Friday, the NRA, which has been central to the debate for so long, said it would have no comment "until the facts are thoroughly known."
"I was shot four times during that whole ordeal,” said Colin Goddard, a survivor of the 2007 shooting at Virginia Tech. “I still have three bullets with me for the rest of my life."
He's now an advocate for background checks on gun sales.
"You know, I thought you had to register your gun and get a license for it, and certainly go through a background check,” Goddard said. “It took getting shot to learn that we actually don't do any of that. We don't even do background checks on all sales in this country. When I learned that, I couldn't' believe that."
On Friday night, wounded former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords' husband, Mark Kelly, joined the call on Facebook for gun control with 10,000 "Likes" and counting.
While most polls show gun control is less popular than it was 20 years ago, background checks, gun registration and a ban on felons or the mentally ill owning guns does have popular support.
On Friday, with dozens dead, including so many children, the debate over guns is back.