Last Updated:September 23 @ 09:28 am

High profile pro-NRA Democrat quick to follow party line

By Pam Ramsey and Michele Salcedo

Sen. Joe Manchin

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - 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.

"I'm not afraid to say, `Let's talk about that,'" Manchin told reporters during a conference call Monday. "I'm not afraid of the political ramifications."

"You have people who want to use scare tactics and extremes and try to drive a wedge when we're trying to have a dialogue," he said. "Don't you think we should at least sit down and talk about it?"

The comments by the West Virginia Democrat came on the day of the first funerals for the Sandy Hook Elementary School students killed Friday.

The massacre renewed calls from some Democrats for a ban on military-style assault weapons and a look at how the nation deals with individuals suffering from serious mental illness.

Manchin said school safety, movies and videogames that glorify violence should also be part of the discussion.

"This needs to have an adult conversation about the society we have become and the direction we are going," he said.

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.

"We can't be afraid to talk about it," Manchin said. "I'm not supporting a thing except open dialogue."

Manchin, who had been hunting with his family over the weekend, also said a 2010 campaign ad that showed him firing a hunting rifle at a paper target labeled "Cap and Trade Bill" did not glorify firearms.

"What we did at that time and the way we used it was in the most responsible manner. I'm a proud gun owner and I'm a responsible user and I don't think that glorified anything. It was not intended for that," he said.

Manchin is the most prominent gun rights advocate to speak publicly in the wake of the shooting.

Chris Feldhaus, a 31-year-old Republican from Charleston, W.Va., said he voted for Manchin in November but believed his latest remarks were an effort to win more support.

"I like what he does, but lately it seems like he's more of a TV guy wanting to be on TV more so than worrying about the issues," Feldhaus said.

Terri Roush, another Manchin supporter from Nitro, W.Va., said even if he was just trying to be in the spotlight, the issue deserved to be in the spotlight.

"So if he's the voice to do it, then by all means. I think he's somebody in West Virginia that people respect, people admire. I think it's something that needs to be brought to everyone's attention," she said.

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Salcedo contributed from Washington. Associated Press writer John Raby in Charleston also contributed to this report.

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7 Comments

  1. capricorn1Comment by capricorn1
    December 18, 2012 @ 7:32 am

    you sir should be removed from the senate for you are a treasonous individual who like your party is drunk for more power and control over we the people.
    just admit it you are a socialist anti gun nazi,but not for your personal use or your bodyguards.you want everything and for the people to have none or what you and the rest of the govenment say we can have.this is TYRANNY AND HAS TO STOP NOW.

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  2. Jota_Comment by Jota_
    December 18, 2012 @ 9:14 am

    “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.”

    We have been having one for at least forty years

    The problem is the gun control advocates cannot put up a fact or a reasoned argument to support their position and in losing the debate, simple want restrictions without reason

    So they make one emotional appeal after another, depending upon the people’s ignorance and gullibility, to once again tie their hands, while insuring the criminals, who will not obey any law, can run free

    So what it is really time for is liberals to grow up and face facts.

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    • nickster99Comment by nickster99
      December 18, 2012 @ 10:52 am

      Its because all these bleeding hearts are full of emotions But lack any guts or substance needed to have a discussion about anything! Not just gun restrictions.

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  3. fabianComment by fabian
    December 18, 2012 @ 9:57 am

    Fine sir, let’s have a discussion. First, at this range, with modern ammunition and their capability to expand and shrapnel a 9mm or 10mm bullet is as deadly as a 223. Remington (both ammo by the way use ballistic to circumvent the Geneva’s convention that bans “dumdum” bullets). Bushmaster rifles are meant to “engage” targets at long distance and cases or mass murders at long range are scarce. Second, about control, these weapons were own legally by the mother. Any control on the shooter would have been in vain. So how do we start the conversation? I know how to, but I’m not going to tell you because I don’t like liberals bullshitting millions under the pretense of one event. Prepare for the worst and pray for the best.

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  4. inluminatuoComment by inluminatuo
    December 18, 2012 @ 10:59 am

    Barack, it is not the guns which safeguard the children that we need to fear, but the mental aberrations fed to the children by you liberal mind twisters of no national or personal accountability for one’s own actions and poor life choices that make them live in secular states of situational morality where the flavor of today is enable the children to be Gods in and of themselves, then tomorrow show up at funerals of innocent victims of your ideology for more campaign self edification of your own self , to shed crocodile tears when the chickens of your self-taught ideology of NO responsibility for the action of SELF come home to roost upon the graves of your innocent children. The only policy changes you need to make are to finally begin to enforce and honor the laws of the land so the people no longer need live in fear of you and your destruction of our freedoms, then guns will no longer be needed.

    Just admit it Barack, your election and now re-election have caused more guns to be imported, bought sold and embraced than any other force in this new century. Just enforce the laws of the land, force the children in adult bodies to act like responsible adults again by governing SELF and taking responsibility for their own poor life choices and the evil and death you and you ideology bring to America will fade as fast as you created them. Of course then you would have to admit there is a higher authority on the planet than you and you might have to secede actual power back to the people to run their own lives on unredistributed wealth and unredistributed morality that can never be counted on in an emergency when there is no time to pre-appropriate the redistributed moral or economic strength needed at the moment of crisis to slay the enemy at hand. Such acts would never have happened in the 50s or 60s when real men walked the earth armed with the moral fiber to act and were led by conscience, not party lines of dependency.

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  5. Dingbat36Comment by Dingbat36
    December 18, 2012 @ 11:12 am

    Don’t try to tell me this useless Democrat doesn’t know the difference between a “machine gun” carried by the military and the weapons used in all these shootings. The absolute only thing they have in common is the way they look. He’s supposed to be an avid hunter and gun advocate? Garbage, he’s only another useless politician toeing the party line.

    The perpetrators of these recent incidents stole the guns they used…..in the latest case he perp shot his own mother to get the gun (or guns), she had a lot of them and not the brains to have a gun safe!

    The Mall shooter in Oregon (my state) was shown a gun by a 22 year old concealed carry permit holder. He didn’t shoot because there were people in the area and he didn’t want to hit an innocent by-stander but the perp was trying to un-jam his weapon and looked up and saw that there was someone else with a gun…….he ran but had already shot the three people (two deaths and one serious injury). The only other bullet to come out of the perps gun was the one which saved the people of the state of Oregon the trouble and expense of the trial and imprisonment of the disgusting murderer.

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  6. CowgirlComment by Cowgirl
    December 18, 2012 @ 4:48 pm

    Joe Machin, another traitor democrat. Have one in my State who produced Obamacare and is so proud of it.

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