Peter Foster at the UK Telegraph reports:
Two US Senators became the first of America’s pro-gun advocates to break ranks on Monday night as they called for a ban on assault weapons in the wake of the Sandy Hook elementary school shootings.
The two Senators – both Democrats but with “A” ratings and previous endorsements from the powerful National Rifle Association gun lobby group – both spoke out to argue publicly that the death of 20 Year 2 children was a “game-changing” moment for America’s divisive gun debate.
“Never before have we seen our babies slaughtered. It’s never happened in America that I can recall, seeing this carnage,” said Senator Joe Manchin, who in 2010 released a political advert touting his NRA endorsement and showing him with a hunting rifle ‘taking aim’ at a piece of climate change legislation.
“Anybody that’s a proud gun owner, a proud member of the NRA, they’re also proud parents, they’re proud grandparents. They understand this has changed where we go from here,” the West Virginia senator said on MSNBC.
Those thoughts were later echoed by Mark Warner, a senator for the rural, gun-loving state of Virginia, who has said gun control could no longer be a subject for partisan feuding between Republicans and Democrats.
“I believe every American has Second Amendment rights, the ability to hunt is part of our culture. I’ve had a NRA (National Rifle Association) rating of an “A” but, you know, enough is enough,” Mr Warner said on CBS News.
“It is time for this kind of senseless violence to end. There won’t be one perfect law to stop a crazy person from doing evil things. But when we have close to 30,000 killings a year from all types of gun violence, even if we save a few lives, we make progress.”
The remarks could put pressure on both the NRA and Republican pro-gun legislators to accept the need for tighter gun controls, particularly on assault rifles.
But in a sign of the political difficulties that lie ahead, since the Sandy Hook shootings last Friday both the NRA and all pro-gun Republican senators and congressman have remained silent.
The NBS’s influential “Meet the Press” program said it had contacted 31 pro-gun senators last weekend, but all had declined to appear.
But as the popular outrage continues to build, advocates of tighter gun control continued yesterday moved to seize the initiative on what is being viewed as the best opportunity for more than a decade to force through tougher gun laws.
That pressure continued to build on Mr Obama who promised the bereaved parents of Newtown he would use “whatever power this office holds” to prevent a repeat of more tragedies like Sandy Hook, although without directly specifying new legislation on gun control.
Jay Carney, the White House spokesman refused to be drawn on specific measures at a briefing yesterday, but said that Mr Obama would be “moving forward” to address what he described as a “complex problem that will require a complex solution” of which gun controls formed only one part.