With gun legislation practically non-existent in recent years, it’s easy to forget that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), before he became his caucus’ leader, voted against the assault weapons ban. But in light of Friday’s violence, Reid is joining his Democratic colleagues in looking anew at possible changes.
Reid conceded that “every idea must be on the table,” adding, “We need to accept the reality that we are not doing enough to protect our citizens.” The majority leader went on to say, “I believe part of that healing process will require Congress to examine what can be done to prevent more tragedies like the ones in Newtown, Conn.; Aurora, Colo.; Oak Creek, Wis.; and Portland, Ore.”
Also today, Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), who’s also been considered an NRA ally, conceded his perspective has changed. “I’ve been a strong supporter of Second Amendment rights,” Warner said this morning. “I’ve got an A rating from the NRA. But the status quo isn’t acceptable. I’ve got three daughters. They asked me on Friday evening, ‘Dad, what are you gonna do about this?’ There’s got to be a way to put reasonable restrictions, particularly as we look at assault weapons, as we look at these fast clips of ammunition.”
Rep. John Yarmuth (D) of Kentucky went even further, saying he’s chosen not to speak out in the past, fearing political pushback, but the circumstances have changed. “I have been largely silent on the issue of gun violence over the past six years, and I am now as sorry for that as I am for what happened to the families who lost so much in this most recent, but sadly not isolated, tragedy,” Yarmuth said.