Democrats push­ing gun con­trol

De­bate tone shifts fol­low­ing New­town.

Austin American-Statesman - - THE SECOND FRONT - By­jeremy Peters

Con­gres­sional Democrats showed signs Mon­day of a more ag­gres­sive push on gun con­trol in the wake of the New­town, Conn., killings, while Repub­li­cans and gun-rights ad­vo­cates re­mained largely silent on pol­icy mat­ters.

Sen. Joe Manchin III, DW.Va., the pro-gun-rights se­na­tor who drew at­ten­tion in 2010 af­ter run­ning a com­mer­cial that showed him fir­ing a ri­fle at an en­vi­ron­men­tal bill, said that “ev­ery­thing should be on the ta­ble” as gun con­trol is de­bated in the coming weeks and months.

Rep. John Yar­muth, a mod­er­ate Demo­crat from Ken­tucky, held a news con­fer­ence to say he backed new leg­is­la­tion.

“I have been largely silent on the is­sue of gun vi­o­lence over the past six years, and I am now as sorry for that as I am for what hap­pened to the fam­i­lies who lost so much in this most re­cent, but sadly not iso­lated, tragedy,” Yar­muth said in a state­ment. “The Na­tional Ri­fle As­so­ci­a­tion has spent un­told mil­lions of dol­lars in­still­ing fear in our ci­ti­zens and our politi­cians.”

He added, “I be­lieve it is more ra­tio­nal to fear guns far more than the il­lu­sory po­lit­i­cal power of the NRA.”

And in a Twit­ter mes­sage sent out be­fore a tele­vi­sion ap­pear­ance, Sen. Mark Warner, DVa., called the episode a “game changer.”

The NRA has been largely silent since the shoot­ings Fri­day morn­ing. On Mon­day, the home page of its web- site con­tained a blog post from Nov. 27, ti­tled, “More Guns, Less Crime in Vir­ginia,” and the as­so­ci­a­tion’s Twit­ter ac­count, which is nor­mally ac­tive, has not sent a mes­sage since Fri­day.

It re­mains un­clear whether any new leg­is­la­tion is likely to pass, es­pe­cially given that Congress re­mains fo­cused on bud­get mat­ters for the time be­ing.

But the tone of the po­lit­i­cal de­bate does seem to have shifted.

Manchin, an avid hunter, in­di­cated that he sup­ported re-eval­u­at­ing laws that per­mit peo­ple to have clips that hold dozens of rounds of am­mu­ni­tion and to own as­sault ri­fles.

“I don’t know any­body in the sport­ing or hunt­ing arena that goes out with an as­sault ri­fle,” Manchin said, speak­ing on the MSNBC pro­gram “Morn­ing Joe.”

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