Sen. Joe Manchin told a radio show Wednesday that his statements about the possibility of new gun control measures in the wake of the Newtown, Conn., shootings had been misconstrued.
According to the Charleston Post
, the West Virginia Democrat is a long-time member of the NRA and enjoys its financial and political support and now, apparently, wants to wait for word from the organization before taking a definite position.
In interviews Monday following the Friday killing of 20 school children and six adults at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Manchin suggested he was open to tightening restrictions on assault weapons and large-capacity bullet magazines. But the Post reported that he told popular West Virginia talk show host Hoppy Kercheval Wednesday he’s “not supporting a ban on anything; I'm supporting a conversation on everything.”
Manchin, one of Congress' biggest opponents in the past of gun control measures, first broached the subject of changes in the laws just a few hours after President Barack Obama had raised the issue during a speech to families in Newtown. At the time, the senator mentioned several specific proposals, including a ban on magazines holding more than 10 rounds.
The Post, however, reported that he declined to offer any specific plans in the radio interview and appeared to back away from his earlier comments. He said he wanted to hear what the NRA would have to say this Friday in a scheduled news conference. The organization has remained mostly silent on talk of new gun control measures since the Connecticut tragedy.
"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 any things they would like to look at?" Manchin said.
The senator had also praised California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein earlier this week for calling for renewal of the ban on assault weapons, saying he doesn't know anyone who goes hunting with an assault rifle and a 30-round clip.
On the radio, however, he warned her against making the NRA “the villain" in the gun control fight.
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