NRA member Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) said today it’s necessary that people not “villainize” the National Rifle Association in moving forward on a discussion of gun laws.
“We need to bring the NRA in. These are all good people. They have children and grandchildren; they are hurting, too. They are grieving,” Manchin said this morning on CNN.
“So we can’t villainize, and if you start to villainize, you will push them away and we won’t move forward. What will happen is a stalemate again and that’s not what we desire.”
The senator has singled out assault weapons and large clips of ammunition as starting points that could be laid out on the table.
“Hopefully you will have proud members of the NRA and defenders of the second amendment who says it’s time to have an intelligent conversation. The military assault rifles, is that something needed in our society?” he said. “Was it designed for the purpose of our military and our first responders and police defending us as a nation? And those who are the discussions we should be having, along with the other things we’ve been talking, the mental health and violent culture.”
Manchin, who’s been successful in West Virginia largely due to his moderate, blue-collar stances, said he isn’t worried about backlash from his constituents.
“There is always going to be, I guess, movement or political backlash on anything and everything. The easiest vote to take in Washington is a no vote. Vote for nothing. You don’t really have to explain,” he said. “Have we had such a toxic atmosphere, political toxic atmosphere we can’t set and have a mature, intelligent decision and look at things and make sure we can protect the second amendment to the constitution, which I will as fervently as ever? I’m a proud member and will always be. But with that, I’m a responsible parent and grandparent.”