President Obama reached out to at least one lawmaker who has switched his position on gun control in the aftermath of the shooting rampage in Newtown, Conn, calling Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.V., after the pro-gun Democrat
White House spokesperson Jay Carney said the president called Manchin and, though Carney did not reveal any details of the conversation, he said the president has been "heartened" by changing positions of members of Congress.
In a written statement, Manchin, who has an "A" rating from the National Rifle Association, said, "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.
"I believe that we must have a dialogue and bring parties from all sides to the table," Manchin continued. "I know my friends at the NRA 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.
"[A]s Americans, we all need to sit down and have a serious, adult conversation about the best actions to move forward."
After a gunman killed 26 people, including 20 children, at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., Friday, the president immediately declared that changes must be made, but was initially vague on what sorts of changes, especially to gun laws, that he'd seek other than to say he would talk with mental health professionals and lawmakers about how to move forward.
Today, a day after Mr. Obama met with Vice President Joe Biden and members of his cabinet about guns and violence, Carney provided more details about what sort of gun control legislation the president could get behind. Carney said the president would consider legislation that limits high-volume ammunition and closes the gun show loophole. The loophole is a provision that allows people to circumvent background checks by purchasing a gun from an unlicensed seller.
The president also backs a ban on assault weapons, Carney said, which his advisers insist he has long been behind, even though the president did not push the issue after previous mass shootings in Tucson, Ariz., and Aurora, Colo.
But Carney insisted that legislation alone won't solve the problem of gun violence. "It is a simply a fact that legislation that addresses access to certain types of weapons or magazines or how we perform back ground checks, while they have merit and the president supports the ones that I've mentioned, would not alone address this problem," he said.
Dismissing the president's previous inaction, Carney said "[T]he president believes....we have not done enough as a country to address this problem and we need to do more."