{{show_title_date || "Action beyond conversation needed on gun control, access, 12/14/12, 7:00 PM ET"}}

Rep. McCarthy: Conversation about gun control ‘has to go forward’

Updated

Talking to the press after Friday’s mass murder at a Connecticut elementary school, White House spokesman Jay Carney said “today’s not the day” for a discussion on gun control.

“They’re right,” agreed Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy on Friday’s Hardball with Chris Matthews. “It should have been years ago.”

For the New York Democrat, it’s personal. McCarthy came to Congress in 1996 determined to enact stricter gun laws after her husband was killed in a mass shooting on the Long Island Rail Road.

McCarthy applauded President Obama who called for “meaningful action” to prevent such tragedies like the one at Sandy Hook Elementary School. She said her “heart goes out to the families and to those who lost their loved ones”: she knows what they’re going through. “But the conversation [about gun control] has to go forward,” she said.

The lawmaker pointed to NFL player Jovan Belcher’s recent murder-suicide, which involved a gun, and how a commentator on the case–presumably NBC’s Bob Costas–came under intense scrutiny for taking on the issue of gun control during a half-time show.  “That’s why people are afraid to speak out,” said McCarthy. “They’re afraid of the NRA. They’re afraid of the large lobbyists. And [it’s] the same thing with the members of Congress, whether they’re Republican or Democrat.”

The National Rifle Association declined to comment to Hardball, saying they wanted to know all the details of the Newtown, Conn. shooting first.

Colin Goddard, a survivor of the 2007 mass shooting at Virginia Tech, told Chris Matthews he wanted to see stricter background checks before gun purchases are allowed. Matthews asked him about the argument that if administration officials were carrying guns at the school, they could have killed the attacker before he killed so many children.

“We are the most armed country in the modern world and we have the most problems with gun violence. If more guns solved our problems, then we’d be the safest country already,” said Goddard.

Friday’s shooting left 27 people dead, including 20 children. Adam Lanza, 20, has been identified as the suspected gunman.

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Rep. McCarthy: Conversation about gun control 'has to go forward'

Updated