LONDON — As the world joined Americans in mourning the school massacre in Connecticut, many urged U.S. politicians to honor the 27 victims, especially the children, by pushing for stronger gun control laws.
Twitter users and media personalities in the United Kingdom immediately invoked Dunblane — a 1996 shooting in that small Scottish town in which 16 children were killed. That tragedy prompted a campaign that ultimately led to tighter gun control, effectively making it illegal to buy or possess a handgun in the U.K.
"This is America's Dunblane," British CNN host Piers Morgan wrote on Twitter. "We banned handguns in Britain after that appalling tragedy. What will the U.S. do? Inaction not an option."
Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard called Friday's attack a "senseless and incomprehensible act of evil." Australia confronted a similar tragedy in 1996, when a man went on a shooting spree in the southern state of Tasmania, killing 35 people. The mass killing sparked outrage across the country and led the government to impose strict new gun laws, including a ban on semiautomatic rifles.
British Prime Minister David Cameron said he was "deeply saddened" to learn of the "horrific shooting."
Queen Elizabeth II sent a message to President Barack Obama, saying she was shocked to learn of the "dreadful loss of life" and that the thoughts and prayers of all in the U.K. are with those affected by the events.
The Vatican said Pope Benedict XVI conveyed "his heartfelt grief and the assurance of his closeness in prayer to the victims and their families, and to all those affected by the shocking event" in a condolence message.
German Chancellor Ang-ela Merkel said her "deepest sympathy" is reserved for relatives of the victims. "Once again we stand aghast at a deed that cannot be comprehended," she said in a statement.
Russian President Vladimir Putin called the events "particularly tragic" given that the majority of the victims were children. "Vladimir Putin asked Barack Obama to convey words of support and sympathy to the families and friends of the victims and expressed his empathy with the American people," the Kremlin said in a statement.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai expressed his condolences to the American nation. "Such incidents should not happen anywhere in the world," Karzai said, adding that Afghanistan frequently witnesses such tragedies and can sympathize with those affected.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed his horror at the "savage massacre," saying that his country knows the "shock and agony" such cruel acts can bring.
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda said, "The sympathy of the Japanese people is with the American people." In Japan, guns are severely restricted and there are extremely few gun-related crimes.