Manchin: ‘We need action’ on gun violence

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Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) said the recent mass shooting at a Connecticut elementary school has "changed the dialogue" on gun control and called for “action” to prevent future tragedies. 

"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 Monday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” "This has changed the dialogue and it should move beyond dialogue -- we need action."


Manchin's comments come after a shooting massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., on Friday that resulted in 27 dead, including 20 young children. 

Manchin has been a strong advocate of gun ownership rights and was endorsed by the National Rifle Association Political Victory in October with an "A" rating.

The horrific shooting, however, has sparked renewed debate over gun violence with President Obama and many of Manchin’s Democratic colleagues saying more steps need to be taken to prevent such incidents in the future.

“In the coming weeks I’ll use whatever power this office holds to engage my fellow citizens from law enforcement, mental health professionals to parents and educators in an effort aimed at preventing more tragedies like this,” said Obama on Sunday evening at a Newtown vigil for the victims.

Manchin on Monday said that NRA, the nation’s most prominent gun-rights advocacy group, would have to "be at the table" as well in discussing gun control. 

"I'm going to speak to all my colleagues, I'm going to reach out to all my colleagues at the NRA," Manchin said. 

He added that he would be open to discussing with Sen. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) her plans to introduce legislation to re-instate the federal ban on assault weapons.

"Dianne Feinstein is a beautiful person and she's said she's going to reintroduce the bill. Anyone saying they don't want to talk and sit down and have that type of dialogue is wrong," Manchin said. "Anybody that says that when [Sen.] Chuck Schumer [D-N.Y.] says we shouldn't have more than ten rounds in a clip, they would be wrong that that shouldn't be on the table. Everything should be on the table.”

Manchin also praised Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) who on Sunday called for a “national commission on violence,” which would examine not only gun laws, but entertainment culture and mental healthcare.

“Joe Lieberman even took it to the next level, which I appreciate it so much,” said Manchin. “This is bigger than just about the guns. It's about how we treat people with mental illness, how we intervene, how we give them the care we need."

Manchin also stressed that there were ways to improve gun safety without unfairly hindering recreational hunting. 

"I don't know anyone in the sporting or hunting arena that goes out with an assault rifle," Manchin said. "I don't know anyone that needs 30 rounds to go hunting. I mean these are things that need to be talked about."

In a separate interview later on MSNBC, Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) said passing an assault weapon ban now would be "practical and feasible."

"I think an assault weapon ban can be revived at the federal level. I think that is practical and feasible," Blumenthal said. "Especially with the kind of change in debate that I would anticipate."

This story was updated at 9:12 a.m.