In wake of violence, some lawmakers defiant in calls for tougher gun laws

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(CBS News) In the aftermath of last month's shooting in Colorado, in which graduate-school dropout James Holmes allegedly opened fire on a theater full of moviegoers with four legally purchased guns, killing 12 people and wounding 58 more, it seemed unlikely that politicians would embrace a serious conversation about gun laws. Gun control has long been seen as a politically toxic issue for Republicans and Democrats alike, and in a Congress defined by its bitterly partisan nature, the possibility of passing stricter gun laws is seen as a non-starter.

On Sunday, however, mass gun violence broke out in America for the second time in about two weeks, when a gunman opened fire in and outside of a Sikh temple in Wisconsin, killing six people before being fatally shot himself. The gun used in the attacks, a 9 mm pistol, was purchased legally "relatively recently" by the suspect at a local gun shop, according to CBS News source.

On the same day, three victims from the 2011 Tucson shootings, in which then-Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., was shot in the head and six others were killed, appeared in an ad demanding that President Obama and Mitt Romney outline a plan to reduce gun violence in the United States.

Now, despite a widespread reticence among members of Congress and political candidates to raise the issue of gun control on the campaign trail, some candidates and Congress members are renewing the calls for new gun control measures.

"Our hearts are heavy today with the weight of another shooting massacre that has shattered a peaceful community, and our thoughts are with those in mourning and others still recovering from their wounds," said Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., in a statement. "We send a message of sympathy to the family and friends of the victims and ask colleagues in government and Americans across the country to join together and redouble our efforts to prevent gun violence."

It's an issue that has gained little traction in Congress in recent years, even among Democrats.

"The votes aren't there for gun control," said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, in an interview with the Huffington Post. "We certainly aren't going to be able to do it in this Congress, and I don't know that we would be able to do it in a Democratic Congress because it takes a lot of votes to go down that path." 

But not everyone is content with that response.