In the wake of Friday's tragic massacre of 26 people, in which the shooter reportedly used a semi-automatic assault rifle, support for a ban on such weapons is growing -- even in unexpected corners.
In a Monday appearance on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," West Virginia's pro-gun senator said that while he grew in a "hunting culture," he doesn't see the need for any hunter to have an assault rifle. "I've never had more than three shells in a clip," Manchin, a Democrat, told fellow hunting enthusiast and host Joe Scarborough.
Manchin echoed President Barack Obama's call for "meaningful action" on gun violence.
"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. "[The Newtown shooting] has changed the dialogue. This has moved beyond dialogue. We need action."
Though he didn't explicitly say he would support Sen. Dianne Feinstein's plans to introduce an assault weapons ban bill, Manchin did hint he was open to it:
I believe this is a time for all of us to sit down and move in a responsible manner. And I think [the NRA] will. And if Dianne [Feinstein] is saying basically that assault weapons -- I don't know anyone in the sporting or hunting arena that goes out with an assault rifle. I don't know anybody that needs 30 rounds in the clip to go hunting. I mean, these are things that need to be talked about.
So I think opening up and seeing the massacre of so many innocent children, it's changed. It's changed America. We've never seen this happen.
Manchin also said he wanted to involve the NRA (so far silent on the Newtown shooting) in any discussions on gun restrictions.
"What I want to do is I want to call all our friends in the NRA and sit down and have this -- bring them into it," Manchin said. "They have to be at the table. We all have to."
Manchin holds the NRA's "A Rating" stamp of approval on gun rights, and once released a pro-gun campaign ad called "Dead Aim," in which he shoots a cap-and-trade bill. (Via Vulture)