Manchin on gun control: Newtown has 'changed me'
December 17th, 2012
09:53 AM ET
5 years ago

Manchin on gun control: Newtown has 'changed me'

(CNN) - Sen. Joe Manchin, a conservative Democrat from West Virginia and "proud gun owner," said Monday he believes last week's Connecticut elementary school shooting should be the tipping point in the debate over limiting gun rights.

"Who would have ever thought, in America, or anywhere in the world, that children would be slaughtered?" he said on CNN's "Amanpour." "You know, that–it's changed me."

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Related: Sen-elect Joe Donnelly, pro-gun Democrat, now open to gun control measures

Manchin said he's committed to bringing "the dialogue that would bring a total change."

"And I mean a total change," he added.

While Democratic lawmakers took to the airwaves this weekend to call for congressional action on gun control, the few Republicans who did speak out pointed to numerous court cases that have upheld Second Amendment rights and said guns are needed as mechanisms for self-defense.

Manchin, who has an 'A' rating with the National Rifle Association, said the gun rights debate is not about vilifying the Second Amendment but a need to prevent another mass shooting like the one in Newtown, Connecticut, which left 20 children and six adults dead.

"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 earlier Monday on MSNBC.

His tone sounds markedly different from one of his television ads as a Senate nominee in 2010, when he used a rifle to put a bullet through the Cap and Trade bill. He was serving as the state's governor at the time.

The senator was re-elected this year and doesn't face another election until 2016, giving him ample room to take political stances unpopular with his base.

"I want to call all our friends in the NRA, sit down and bring them into it," he said. "We all have to be at the table."

Manchin also pointed to Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, who announced Sunday she will re-introduce an assault weapons ban when Congress reconvenes in January.

"Anyone saying they don't want to talk and sit down and have that type of dialogue is wrong," he said.

The senator said he believes that "seeing the massacre of so many innocent children has changed" opinions.

His comments were echoed by another Senate Democrat with high marks from the NRA. Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia said Monday it was time for both parties to meet in the middle on the issue.

"I've been a longtime supporter of Second Amendment rights. I believe every American has Second Amendment rights. The ability to hunt is part of our culture. I have an NRA rating of an 'A,' but enough is enough," he told WBBT, a local CNN affiliate in Richmond, Virginia.

"I join with what I hope what will be a majority of both Democrats and Republicans," he continued. "There should not be a Democrat or Republican position on this. It is time for this kind of senseless violence to end."

- CNN's Steve Brusk and Dan Merica contributed to this report.

Filed under: Connecticut • Gun rights • Joe Manchin
soundoff (170 Responses)
  1. grixxly


    Red Herring... and nice ad hominem attack. Because you don't believe it doesn't make it so. And outdated? Seen what's been happening in the middle east? So arrogant to believe it couldn't happen here?

    December 17, 2012 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  2. RandyIA

    Rudy, instead of picking and choosing words why don't you put the whole 2nd amendment. Looking I can spin it too.

    "The right of the people" to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed

    December 17, 2012 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  3. Sandra Smith

    Listen closely to Manchin's words......the NRA should have a place at the table.....a blue ribbon panel. He may be upset about this horrible act but these are NRA-approved talking points. The NRA does not deserve a place at the table. Neither does Walmart or gun show operators. Any man or woman that feels a deep desire to fire semi automatic, automatic weapons with large capacity firing power should "man up" and join our military – though one would wonder how many would be accepted. Guns should be for hunting (high capacity would make meat-loaf of a deer) or home protection (also semi automatic not needed.) All of this, including the desire for open carry, is a substitution for what they lack & we know what that is.

    December 17, 2012 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  4. ghostriter

    grixxly, wow. Exactly what was ad hominem about my comment? I simply said that using an outdated argument for gun rights doesn't make sense. And a red herring is usually a term used to describe a scapegoat situation in which something is blamed for something else when in fact it is simply a scapegoat to divert attention from the real issue. All I said was that using that argument is old and stupid.

    Last I checked, this is not the middle east. I do so love when conservatives use other countries as examples or reasons why we should do or not do something. Especially any country that employs socialists practices.

    I bet you converted your Y2K bunker into your Mayan calendar bunker as well.....

    December 17, 2012 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  5. Danny Hunt

    "Election promises, "not going to take your gun away" but these people know that as soon as they see another terrible rage shooting or organized crime of terror aimed at children the stereotype and bad rhetoric machine is going to start all over again to advocate gun control." "hiding the causes and advocating a defenseless population."

    December 17, 2012 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  6. Danny Hunt

    Newtown, Connecticut : Enough! Enough! Enough! with the Stereotypes and Bad Rhetoric

    "I watched the interfaith prayer vigil tonight for the victims of Newtown CT and saw President Barack Obama speak of the first steps to prevent these terrible crimes. The first step in suicide prevention is knowing the suicide factors, for rage shootings it is the same, using rage shooting factors to prevent rage shootings." see the Rage Shooting Factors page.

    "What I did see in one case is that instead of looking or speaking of factors, rage shooting factors, and causes it seemed that the discussion went towards rhetoric, which is linked to abuse, organized crime strategy, discrimination, and advocating a defenseless population."

    "a deranged person" "too many guns" these are rhetoric to advocate gun control but not the cause or explanations for rage shootings.

    I see a lot of Americans that associate guns with freedom but they seem to have forgotten why. A well armed population deters different forms of dictatorships and oppression. Marie Antoinette is a famous quote "let them eat cake", which led to the French revolution.
    1. Regimes that are repressive and oppressive fear a well armed population because they fear retaliation and the guillotine aka Marie Antoinette "let them eat garbage"

    December 17, 2012 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  7. Siva Prakash

    Hi ,

    There should be ban on Gun Control and also seize those who have high capacity Guns .


    December 17, 2012 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  8. Sniffit

    And in the country in which giant corporations have purchased our government and representation with their money and the gov't has nukes and drones, the Teatrolls will tell you it's unions that are "obsolete," not pseudo-militia daycamp warriors running around with high-powered assault rifles and pretending they're freedom fighters.

    December 17, 2012 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  9. Sniffit

    "Regimes that are repressive and oppressive fear a well armed population because they fear retaliation and the guillotine aka Marie Antoinette "let them eat garbage""

    Regimes with nukes, drones, tanks and fighter jets don't have much to fear from large groups of people armed with pistols and assault rifles. Reality: the only thing that protects us from a modern day industrialized nation with the wartime capabilities of the USA is the fact that our soldiers would hopefully say "no." Short of that, we already industrialized ourselves past the point of no return.

    December 17, 2012 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  10. Yellow Dog Democrat

    I am retired from the criminal justice system, having spent 31 years as a Probation Officer for a state court system. This was a truly horrific event, but I would like to add that this number of Americans day DAILY to gunviolence. We have learned to live with this level of violence, but THIS IS INSANITY. Do you think when the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution was penned our Founding Fathers had anything like this in mind?

    December 17, 2012 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  11. jack

    I carried a rifle (M4) in 3 tours in Iraqi as an Infantry Officer and have been a life long hunter.I do not want to live in a country where you have to be armed to go to the grocery store or your child's teacher has crayons, paper and a 9mm pistol in the room.

    The "gun nut"crowd is full of idiots and "ramboo wanabees" who usually have never been in law enforcement or if they ever served, never served in an active combat zone in a position that was directly in combat. The gun nut crowd and NRA is full of idiots who see only black helicopters and any sane attempts to limit firearms.

    December 17, 2012 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  12. Dan

    Obviously, the only to stop school violence is to arm the students. Starting at kindergarden, give students a small pistol to play with.

    December 17, 2012 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  13. Whome

    The right to own guns was put into the Constitution to protect the people from an oppressive unresponsive out of control government, sound like anything you know? Tell us about the Fast and Furious Mr. President.

    December 17, 2012 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  14. LynneSki

    I'm not at all surprised that he has changed his tone....he doesn't want to be seen as someone protecting people who kill little tiny children! I am just waiting for the NRA to change their tone as well! What a great marketing campaign anti-gun people could create against the NRA if they don't make a change. "The NRA – pro mass killing of elementary school children!"

    December 17, 2012 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  15. Derrick in WV

    I am with the rest of the world in condemning this act of pure evil. It brings many to state the phrase "We need to have a serious discussion on gun control". It has already been reported that he was not the legal owner of the weapons. Please tell me what law could be passed that would prevent this tragedy from repeating itself. The school where my son attends has glass windows around the entire building on the first floor as well as glass doors that you get "buzzed" in through. Mr. Manchin, my son is 9 and I am teaching him to hunt with an AR-15. It has no recoil and the stock can be adjusted to fit his frame. He has harvested his first deer this year with the rifle. I also use this weapon to hunt predators, so yes people do hunt with these types of weapons as well as use them for home protection. That said, "Please tell me what law could be put into place that would ensure the safety of others and preventing this from happening again!"

    December 17, 2012 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  16. Ozzie

    'bout time you woke up, Joe.

    December 17, 2012 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  17. Shannon

    I would hope it would change him, if you care more about your guns than the children of America, you aren't much of a person.

    December 17, 2012 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  18. Holly

    Going after the guns is a good start. We lose 400+ childeren every year to DUI accidents, alcohol must be banned. Hollywood glamorizes violence in movies and video games and until we stop patronizing them they will continue to look the other way and put the dollars in there pockets.

    December 17, 2012 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  19. PeaceNick

    A wacko with a gun! The gun is only half of the issue. We must also address the wacko. Everyone wants to keep the guns away from the wackos. Even radical pro-gun people want that. But, the radical anti-gun people only want to talk about the gun. That won't work. Let's talk about both parts of the issue.

    December 17, 2012 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  20. Ben

    the word "REGULATED" is right there, in plain sight, in the 2nd ammendment. Look again, it's still there.

    December 17, 2012 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  21. Jorge

    all you guys calling for gun control are spitting in the face of our forefathers and every solder who ever served, bled, and died for you to be free. YOU are going to kill America. I live here because I want to be free to speak my mind try talking bad about the government in Canada or the UK I'll visit you in prison. We need to punish those who break the law and put more cops on the street.

    December 17, 2012 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  22. moragami

    What is the number one fear of a gun-owner? Being attacked by someone with a gun. If nobody has guns, you won't have anything to fear, and you won't need guns either.

    You probably think you're a responsible gun-owner. I think that maybe you are today, but maybe tomorrow you won't be. Maybe tomorrow you'll lose your mind, or maybe it will be your rotten kid. Point is, we just can't take the risk, I don't want any of you to have to power to kill me by merely pointing my way. Screw you and the 2nd amendment too. Times have changed and we can't trust our citizens to play nicely with guns anymore.

    December 17, 2012 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  23. moragami

    You probably think you're a responsible gun-owner. I think that maybe you are today, but maybe tomorrow you won't be. Maybe tomorrow you'll lose your mind, or maybe it will be your rotten kid. Point is, we just can't take the risk, I don't want any of you to have to power to kill me by merely pointing my way. Screw you and the 2nd amendment too. Times have changed and we can't trust our citizens to play nicely with guns anymore.

    December 17, 2012 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  24. Yawn

    Children are killed around the world for devious reasons. This was not the first case.

    December 17, 2012 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  25. Justin Jackson

    @Sandra Smith I did man up and joined the military nearly a decade ago. I own an AR-15 for personal use. I shoot as much as I can as it is a safe and productive hobby. Let me make this very clear; An AR-15 is not an assault rifle. Assault rifles are automatic, or fire in three round bursts. You think school shootings would end if you pulled these weapons out of the hands of people like me you are very misinformed. Marijuana has been banned over half a century ago and more people have it today than ever. Once these are banned and all the sheepdogs turn in their arms, only wolves will have them.

    December 17, 2012 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
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