But in the aftermath of that shooting and as the election season loomed, the Justice Department backed off from a list of recommendations that included measure designed to help keep mentally ill people from getting guns.
There are also other political considerations.
While Democratic lawmakers took to the airwaves this weekend to call for congressional action on gun control, the few Republicans who did speak out pointed to numerous court cases that have upheld Second Amendment rights and said guns are needed as mechanisms for self-defense. And others have said the solution is more guns in schools, not fewer.
Texas Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert said on "Fox News Sunday" that if school principal Dawn Hochsprung had an assault rifle in her office, she could have killed the shooter.
"I wish to God she had an M-4 in her office locked up -- so when she heard gunfire, she pulls it out and she didn't have to lunge heroically with nothing in her hands," Gohmert said. "But she takes him out, takes his head off, before he can kill those precious kids."
NRA big supporter of politicians
Protecting those Second Amendment rights has also included hefty campaign donations.
During the 2012 election cycle, the NRA donated $719,596 to candidates. Republicans received $634,146 of that, according to the Center for Responsive Politics' analysis of federal campaign data. For example, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Virginia, ranked among the top five recipients, having received $7,450 in this cycle.
Some $85,450 went to Democrats, many of them in states that are considered more conservative when it comes to gun control laws. For example, Democratic Rep. Jim Matheson got $6,950 this cycle and represents a district in Utah, a state gun control policy advocates say has some of the nation's weakest gun laws.
A number of Democratic lawmakers who hail from conservative states are up for re-election in 2014, which may also increase the pressure not to touch the gun issue.
Gun policies are "still a third rail especially if you're really going to try and do something about it," said Alan Lizotte, dean and professor at the State University of New York at Albany's School of Criminal Justice. "There are a lot of issues there."
According to a new ABC News/Washington Post survey on gun control conducted over the weekend, 52% of people see the mass shootings as a sign of broader problems in society. This up from 24% in August shortly after the deadly theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado.
The poll also found rise in people who strongly favor stricter gun control, 44%, and a double-digit gap between them and the 32% who say they strongly oppose stricter gun control laws. In August, 39% supported tougher laws and 37% opposed them.
A Pew poll conducted after the Giffords shooting found that 49% of Americans said it was "more important to protect the rights of Americans to own guns," while 46% said it was "more important to control gun ownership."
But a survey conducted by CNN/ORC International in August shortly after the Aurora incident found that 76% of those surveyed believe "there should be some restrictions on owning guns."
And as debate is sure to ensue in Washington, so it has already online.
"You can make as many laws as you want it will NOT change people who want to hurt others. We all need to arm our self now. That is the only way," reader Steve Lahey commented on CNN.com.
Which prompted another reader to reply: "That worked so well for the shooter's mother, didn't it?"