A day after all 31 anti-gun control senators declined interviews on NBC's "Meet the Press,", Sen. Joe Manchin, a Second Amendment defender from West Virginia, told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" Monday that it was time for a "sensible, reasonable" debate on firearms restrictions.
Friday's massacre at a Connecticut elementary school has propelled the issue back into the public realm after the deaths of 20 children and eight adults shocked the nation.
"It's time to move beyond rhetoric. We need to sit down and have a common-sense discussion and move in a reasonable way. … Everything has to be on the table," Manchin, a Democrat, told Joe Scarborough on Monday, adding that he had just gone on a deer-hunting trip with his family.
Manchin's comments come as a surprise because he has an "A" rating from the NRA for his anti-gun control positions, and the organization endorsed him as recently as October 2012.
"Joe Manchin is committed to protecting the Right to Keep and Bear Arms guaranteed to all Americans," NRA Chairman Chris Cox said in a statement earlier this year.
Manchin also appears to be the first senator with an "A" rating from the NRA to go on national television to discuss gun control in the wake of the Newtown shooting.
On Sunday, David Gregory of "Meet the Press" said all 31 "pro-gun rights" senators in the new Congress declined interviews on the show. CBS's "Face the Nation" said it faced a similar problem.