Democratic lawmakers and independent Sen. Joe Lieberman say that military-style assault weapons should be banned and that a national commission should be established to examine mass shootings in the United States.
The proposals were among the first to come from Congress in the wake of Friday's school shooting in Newtown, Conn.
Before a Sunday night vigil in Newtown, Lieberman said: "This is a moment to start a very serious national conversation about violence in our society, particularly about these acts of mass violence." The Connecticut senator is retiring next month.
Gun rights activists remained largely quiet on the issue, all but one declining to appear on the Sunday talk shows. Meanwhile, Democrats vowed action and said it was time to hear from voters - not gun lobbyists - on how to prevent the next shooting.