The question surfaces each time a mass murder unfolds: Will this one change the political calculus in Washington against tougher gun control?
The answer was "no" after the Virginia Tech killings, the attempted assassination of Gabby Giffords, the Colorado movie-theater attack, the Wisconsin Sikh temple shootings, and more.
The massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., stands as a possible tipping point after Washington's decade-long aversion even to talking about stricter gun laws.
President Barack Obama says it's time for the country to come together and "take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics."
It remains to be seen whether Sandy Hook will break the usual cycle of universal shock fading into political reality.