WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Sen Joe Manchin, (D-W.Va.) spoke with President Barack Obama Tuesday over the phone regarding gun rights in light of the Newtown school shooting last week.
“The president called me this afternoon. We agree that as Americans and parents, all of our children belong to all of us – and we must work together to keep our precious children safe,” Manchin said.
“I believe that we must have a dialogue and bring parties from all sides to the table. I know my friends at the National Rifle Association and those who support our second amendment rights will participate because I know that their hearts are aching for the families in Newtown, just like all Americans’.”
The NRA released a statement Tuesday, stating that the organization was “shocked, saddened and heartbroken by the news of the horrific and senseless murders in Newtown.”
The statement mentioned that the NRA was “prepared to offer meaningful contributions to help make sure this never happens again,” and that a news conference would be held in Washington, D.C., on Friday, Dec. 21.
“Out of respect for the families, and as a matter of common decency, we have given time for mourning, prayer and a full investigation of the facts before commenting,” the release stated.
Manchin said that, in order to have a productive dialogue regarding the matter, a number of “criticual issues” would have to be addressed: “including our mental health system, safety in our schools and a media and entertainment culture that glorifies unspeakable violence.”
The White House said Obama was “actively supportive” of efforts on Capitol Hill to reinstate an assault weapons ban.
“What I have learned since coming to Washington is that there are some who will vilify you for being open to a conversation with anyone you might not agree with,” Manchin said. “That’s wrong – as Americans, we all need to sit down and have a serious, adult conversation about the best actions to move forward.
“The deaths of these children demand that each and every one of us in Washington and the United States be willing to talk with each other.”