Pro-NRA West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), who once featured himself shooting a rifle in a campaign commercial, is now saying it is “time to act” on gun policy. Manchin received an “A” from the NRA on their last legislative report card. He proudly trumpeted their support in the ad.
After a weekend of images of 6 and 7 year old victims of one of the worst mass shooting in U.S. history were continuously featured on TV, it seems Manchin may be re-thinking his views on guns. The Connecticut medical examiner announced on Saturday that most of the young victims of Friday’s massacre were shot multiple times by a man using a Bushmaster M4 .223 assault rifle, the type of which became legal after the assault weapons ban expired in 2004.
Several lawmakers who have previously been pro-NRA have been heard to indicate today that they may be in the midst of a change of mind on guns. Twenty-seven people were shot to death on Friday in Newtown, Conn., during the seventh mass shooting in the U.S. this year. Just four months ago, 70 people were shot and 12 killed in a movie theater in Colorado by a man with a AR-15 semi-automatic assault weapon.
“I want to call all our friends in the NRA, sit down and have this discussion,” Manchin said on MSNBC. “They have to be at the table. We all have to,” he added.
Politico reports that, “Manchin appears to be the most prominent gun rights supporter to discuss the issue on the national stage since Friday’s massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.”
The images of 6 and 7 years old victims would appear to have had an effect on Manchin.
“Never before have we seen our babies slaughtered,” Manchin told MSNBC added. “It’s never happened in America that I can recall, ever seeing this type of carnage. Anybody, anybody that lives in America, anybody that’s a proud gun owner, anyone that’s 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,” he concluded.
Two funerals were held today in Connecticut for two first graders who were murdered on Friday.