Senator Joe Manchin, Other Gun NRA Backers Agree Its Time For Gun Control Debate

Senator Joe Manchin is joining a number of other NRA supporters and gun rights advocates who seem to be ready to discuss gun control measures in the wake of Friday’s school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.

Manchin, a Democrat from West Virginia, has been one of the party’s strongest supporters of the National Rifle Association. But in the wake of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School that claimed 26 lives, Manchin said he is ready to have a “sensible, reasonable” debate about gun control.

“It’s time to move beyond rhetoric. We need to sit down and have a common-sense discussion and move in a reasonable way,” Manchin said in an interview on MSNBC’s Morning Joe on Monday.

“Everything has to be on the table,” he later added. A gun owner himself, Manchin noted that he just returned from a deer hunting trip with family.

Manchin becomes first senator with an “A” rating from the NRA to speak publicly in the wake of the Connecticut school shooting, The Huffington Post noted. On Sunday, NBC’s David Gregory reached out to all 31 senators in favor of gun rights, but said all turned down his request to appear on Meet the Press.

Joe Manchin said on Monday that assault rifles are not needed for hunting.

“I don’t know anyone who in the hunting or sporting arena that goes out with an assault rifle. I don’t know anybody that needs 30 rounds in the clip to go hunting,” Manchin said. “I mean, these are things that need to be talked about.”

Joe Manchin is not the only gun rights supporter to change his tune. MSNBC host Joe Scarborough noted that he can no longer oppose gun control. A former conservative member of congress, Scarborough said he no longer supports the right to buy assault rifles:

“I knew that day that the ideologies of my past career were no longer relevant to the future that I want, that I demand for my children. Friday changed everything. It must change everything. We all must begin anew and demand that Washington’s old way of doing business is no longer acceptable. Entertainment moguls don’t have an absolute right to glorify murder while spreading mayhem in young minds across America. And our Bill of Rights does not guarantee gun manufacturers the absolute right to sell military-style, high-caliber, semi-automatic combat assault rifles with high-capacity magazines to whoever the hell they want.

“It is time for Congress to put children before deadly dogmas. It’s time for politicians to start focusing more on protecting our schoolyards than putting together their next fundraiser. It’s time for Washington to stop trying to win endless wars overseas when we’re losing the war at home … For the sake of my four children and yours, I choose life and I choose change.”

Joe Manchin will have a chance to have the gun control debate in the near future, the Los Angeles Times noted. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat from California, said on Meet the Press that she intends to introduce legislation at the beginning on the new term of Congress.