U.S. Senator Joe Manchin says he is just trying to have a discussion about ways to prevent future mass shootings like the one, last week, that lead to the deaths of 20 kids and more than half a dozen adults in Newtown, Connecticut.
“I’m not afraid to have these conversations and I know I’m going to get criticized,” Senator Manchin said on Wednesday’s MetroNews Talkline. He was a guest on the show for the second time this week to talk about his position on firearm regulatory changes and what should be done after the Newtown.
“I am open to talking about how do we have a better society with less violence and not blame just the gun owner, because if you blame the gun owner, you’re blaming me,” the Senator said.
Host Hoppy Kercheval asked Senator Manchin if he will support California Senator Dianne Feinstein’s proposed bill to reinstate the ban on assault weapons. That ban first took effect in 1994 and expired in 2004.
“I’m not supporting a ban on anything. I’m supporting a conversation on everything,” Senator Manchin said.
“I can’t say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to any of the things because all I’ve asked for, I want the NRA to tell me why we have any weapon you might want. Is there any grounds or any changes or anything they would like to look at? I don’t know. I can’t even get a conversation to have responsible people at the table to finally come out with a conclusion.”
In a statement issued Tuesday, the first since the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School, officials with the National Rifle Association said the following: “The NRA is prepared to offer meaningful contributions to help make sure this never happens again.”
NRA officials will be in Washington, D.C. on Friday for a news conference focused on the organization’s response to calls for additional gun control legislation in the wake of the Newtown school shootings.
Senator Manchin, though, says what happened in Newtown, when Adam Lanza, 20, opened fire at the school before killing himself, was not just about the weapons used.
“The gun didn’t shoot itself. It didn’t commit that act by itself. It couldn’t.” The Senator says that’s why the response to Newtown must include large scale reviews of violence in the media along with mental health diagnosis and treatment in the United States.