W.Va.'s Manchin: Time to rethink gun legislation
WASHINGTON — Sen. Joe Manchin, an avid hunter and lifelong member of the National Rifle Association, says it's time for all sides in the gun policy debate to move beyond the political rhetoric and begin an honest discussion about reasonable restrictions on guns.
The school shooting in Connecticut that killed 20 children has changed the dialogue, Manchin said, adding that he agrees with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has advocated banning the sale of assault weapons.
The comments by the West Virginia Democrat came on the morning of the first funerals for the Sandy Hook Elementary School students killed Friday. Investigators say Adam Lanza shot his way into the school and opened fire on a first grade class, stopping only when he heard the police. Lanza, described as troubled by family members, then shot himself. He had killed his mother before heading to the school. Investigators are still searching for the reason behind the rampage.
The massacre renewed calls from some Democrats on Sunday for a ban on military-style assault weapons and a look at how the nation deals with individuals suffering from serious mental illness.
President Barack Obama traveled to Newtown, Conn., Sunday night to console the grieving families, the fourth such trip he's had to make during his presidency. He vowed to use “whatever power this office holds” to safeguard the nation's children, raising the prospect he will pursue policy changes to stem gun violence.
Gun control was a hot topic in the early 1990s, when Congress enacted a 10-year ban on assault weapons. But since that ban expired in 2004, few Americans have wanted stricter laws and politicians say they don't want to become targets of a powerful gun-rights lobby.
“This is bigger than just about guns,” Manchin said. “It's about how we treat people with mental illness, how we intervene, how we get them the care they need, how we protect our schools. It's just so sad.”
Manchin, who had been hunting with his family over the weekend, said gun rights advocates have been concerned about the erosion of the Second Amendment right to bear and keep arms, “taking guns away and people not allowed to have them. That's not what this should be about. Millions and millions of people are proud gun owners and they do it responsibly and by the law.”
But the self-described “proud outdoorsman and hunter” said, “I don't know anyone in the sporting or hunting arena that goes out with an assault rifle, I don't know anybody who needs 30 rounds in a clip to go hunting.”
Manchin is the most prominent gun rights advocate to speak publicly in the wake of the shooting. He made his comments on MSNBC's “Morning Joe.”
“Never before have we seen our babies slaughtered. It's never happened in America that I can recall, seeing this carnage,” Manchin said. “Anybody that's a proud gun owner, a proud member of the NRA, they're also proud parents, they're proud grandparents. They understand this has changed where we go from here.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- U.S. Steel to relocate to new corporate headquarters on former site of Civic Arena
- Clues to Chief Justice John Roberts’ thinking on new ObamaCare case
- AP: Hagel to resign as secretary of defense
- Pirates trade Davis to A’s for international signing bonus money
- CT scans can find smokers’ lung cancer early
- NFL parity makes playoff chase a multi-team muddle
- Iraqi family, torn apart for opposing Saddam, reunites in Pittsburgh
- Starkey: No explaining Steelers, AFC North
- For Steelers, a fight to finish for playoff berth
- Firearm owners organization supports gun restriction lawsuits
- Finding balance between toughness, excessiveness key for Penguins’ Downie