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In the end, Sens. Joe Manchin III, West Virginia Democrat, and Patrick J. Toomey, Pennsylvania Republican, emerged with a bill that would have greatly expanded background checks for all firearms purchases. In April, the bill was killed in the Senate by a 54-46 vote, six short of the 60 needed to proceed and stopping, for all practical purposes, any movement toward federal gun control legislation.

Making efforts even more daunting, two Democratic state senators were ousted from office in a recall election that centered on support for gun crackdowns in Colorado, including a ban on high-capacity magazines.

Still, the White House continues to prod Congress to tackle the issue.

When asked about the rash of mass shootings, White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters that “this is why we should take action to reduce gun violence.”

“The president supports, as do an overwhelming majority of Americans, common-sense measures to reduce gun violence,” he said.

With the body count rising, most lawmakers and other public officials on Monday avoided directly linking the Navy Yard shootings and the need for more gun control. Indeed, Senate Majority Whip Richard J. Durbin, Illinois Democrat, canceled a hearing on gun laws and the Trayvon Martin shooting that had been scheduled for Tuesday. The witness list featured Sybrina Fulton, the mother of Trayvon.

A spokesman for Mr. Durbin, who also is chairman of the Senate Judiciary subcommittee on the Constitution, civil rights and human rights, announced Monday afternoon that the planned 10 a.m. hearing on “stand your ground” laws had been delayed and not rescheduled.

Across Twitter, however, the debate gained new life.

A member of the Russian parliament tweeted that “nobody’s even surprised anymore,” a reference to America’s recent history of gun massacres.

Actor Henry Winkler tweeted, “Another shooting in Wash DC. Please. America do nothing to promote gun control because that’s how we roll until we have all shot each other.”

David Frum, a journalist and former speechwriter for President George W. Bush, tweeted a sarcastic series of “rules” for how gun control advocates should discuss the Navy Yard shootings.

“Rule 1: It is ‘ghoulish’ to suggest in any way that the easy availability of guns might in any way enable gun slaughter,” he said. “Rule 4: Any attempt to stop mass casualty shootings is ‘political.’ Allowing them to continue is ‘non-political.’”

Mr. Erickson’s post denouncing a gun control push ended “Grow the hell up, people. You too David Frum.”