The NRA’s A-rated West Virginia Senator called for a ban on assault weapons on Monday’s Morning Joe, following the tragic shootings in Newtown, Conn.
Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., called for a bipartisan conversation on reforming gun laws.
“Anyone saying they don’t want to talk and sit down and have that type of discussion is wrong.”
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said yesterday that she would reintroduce a bill banning assault weapons on the first day of the new Congress and Manchin vowed to support for it.
“I want to call all our friends at the NRA and sit down,” Manchin said. “They have to be at the table. This is a time for all of us to sit down and move in a responsible manner. I think they will.”
Manchin said it was crucial to involve the NRA in the conversation. “You have to have everybody at the table, not just the people you think will support this. I’m a lifetime [NRA] member and I’m willing to sit down and ask all of my colleagues to sit down.”
Manchin has voted in support of many pro-gun laws, earning the NRA’s endorsement for his recent reelection.
“Seeing the massacre of so many innocent children has changed everything,” he said. “Everything has to be on the table.”
Gun rights advocates have always said that an assault weapon bans would lead to further gun controls and eventually a repeal of the Second Amendment, but Manchin and Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough both commented that the Second Amendment shouldn’t protect the right to own weapons designed for combat.
“I’m a proud outdoors-man and huntsman, like many Americans, and I like shooting, but this doesn’t make sense,” Manchin said. “I don’t know anyone in the sporting and hunting arena who goes out with an assault rifle; I don’t know anyone who needs 30 rounds in the clip to go hunting.”
Random House’s Jon Meacham added that other parts of the Bill of Rights have exceptions to keep people safe.
“The First Amendment isn’t absolute either, you can’t yell ‘fire’ in a crowded theater,” he said. “We all give up some limits on our liberty in order to live in a social compact, that’s what a Republic is.”
Manchin said that after the fiscal cliff is resolved, this will be a high priority.
Newtown’s shooting “has changed the dialogue and it should move beyond dialogue, we need action.”