The Washington Times - December 17, 2012, 10:47AM

Sen. Joe Manchin III, a pro-gun West Virginia Democrat and member of the National Rifle Association, said Monday that “we need action” in the wake of the shootings in Newtown, Conn., and offered praise for Sen. Dianne Feinstein, California Democrat, who has pledged to introduce a bill to reinstate a ban on assault weapons.

Mr. Manchin, perhaps best known for literally shooting a bullet through President Obama’s cap-and-trade energy bill during his 2010 campaign, said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that “every child should have a safe place in their life” in the wake of the Connecticut shootings last week that claimed the lives of six adults and 20 children.

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“I think in West Virginia, all our hearts go out to every parent, every affected family,” Mr. Manchin said. “But the bottom line is absolutely we’ve got to — we’ve got to sit down. I ask all my friends in NRA — and I’m a proud NRA member and always have been — that we need to sit down and move this dialogue to a sensible, reasonable approach to fixing — it’s part of it, not all of it. But everything has to be on the table, and I think it will be.”

Mr. Manchin, noting that he had just came from deer hunting with his family and that he’s never had more than three shells in a clip, said having a conversation about preventing future tragedies and protecting the Second Amendment rights of Americans are not mutually exclusive.

“I’m telling you, I believe this is the time for all of us to sit down and move in a responsible manner, and I think they will,” he said. “And I think when you look at it, if Dianne’s saying that, basically, assault weapons — 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.”