- (Photo: Reuters/Khaled Abdullah)
Leading National Rifle Association (NRA) member Sen. Joe Manchin has suggested that it is time to take the "sensible, reasonable approach" and crack down on assault weapons, following Friday's tragedy in Newtown, Conn.
"We've got to sit down. I ask all my friends at NRA -- and I'm a proud NRA member and always have been -- we need to sit down and move this dialogue to a sensible, reasonable approach to fixing it," Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat, said on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program.
Manchin was addressing the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, where 20 year-old Adam Lanza shot dead 26 people, including the school's principal, a psychologist, four teachers and 20 young children, before eventually turning the gun on himself.
Before attacking the school, Lanza killed his mother, Nancy Lanza at their Newtown home. Four weapons were found on the gunman, including two handguns and one assault rifle, although it could not be confirmed which ones he used in the shooting. All four of them, however, had legally been purchased by his mother.
"I don't know anyone in the sporting or hunting arena that goes out with an assault rifle. I don't know anybody that needs 30 rounds in a clip to go hunting. I mean, these are things that need to be talked about," Manchin added. He suggested that the gun lobby needs to cooperate with a reform of the nation's gun laws, which would mark a change for an organization that has been active against any attempts to limit gun sales in America.
On Sunday night, the Very Rev. Gary Hall of the Washington National Cathedral, which is the seat of the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church in the U.S., said that Christians need to rise up against gun violence and address the problem head on.
"The Christian community, indeed, the entire American faith community, can no longer tolerate this persisting and escalating gun violence against our people. Enough is enough," said Hall, who is the dean of the cathedral, CNN reported.
"The best way in my thinking to mourn the Sandy Hook shooting is to mobilize the faith community for gun control," he added.
Hall insisted that too many political leaders have been held "in terror of the gun lobby," but incidents such as the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy need to wake people up to the importance of eliminating gun violence.
"I believe the gun lobby is no match for the cross lobby," Hall said.
The debate over gun laws is likely to continue long into the future. Many from the pro-gun field refuse to place any of the blame from mass shootings on guns themselves, and say that the Second Amendment right to bear arms should not be threatened in any way. Others, however, are seeing the link between America's gun violence rate and the ease of access to arms and ammunition.
President Barack Obama, while consoling grieving families in Newtown on Sunday, said that important action needs to be taken to address America's gun violence problem, although he was not specific as to what changes he had in mind.
"In the coming weeks, I will use whatever power this office holds to engage my fellow citizens -- from law enforcement to mental health professionals to parents and educators -- in an effort aimed at preventing more tragedies like this," Obama said.