As the Paris attacks stoke fears of a similar attack happening in America, victims of mass shootings say similar scenes of heartbreak and carnage are already too common and familiar.

For Sandy Phillips, watching the Paris bloodbath unfold on television brought back memories of the night her daughter was killed when a gunman opened fire on a packed movie theater in suburban Denver.

She says so-called "soft-target" attacks have already happened in the U.S. and that leaders should focus on the much greater threat of gun violence. Terrorism has accounted for only a few dozen deaths since 9/11, while more than 215,000 people have been murdered since then.

Experts say Americans tend to see mass shootings as isolated events, while violence inspired by ideology creates more fear.