The Washington Post

Sen. Mark Warner seeks gun control action in wake of mass shooting

Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) has an A rating from the National Rifle Association — and a new perspective on gun control since Friday’s mass shooting at a Connecticut elementary school.

“I‘ve been a strong supporter of Second Amendment rights,” Warner said Monday outside the Virginia Capitol, where he was attending an unrelated meeting. “I’ve got an A rating from the NRA. But the status quo isn’t acceptable. I’ve got three daughters. They asked me on Friday evening, ‘Dad, what are you gonna do about this?’ There’s got to be a way to put reasonable restrictions, particularly as we look at assault weapons, as we look at these fast clips of ammunition.”

Warner said his resolve to pursue a solution solidified over the weekend while attending a Washington Wizards game. Many people approached him to talk about the tragedy, in which a gunman with a military-style rifle killed 20 first-graders and seven adults.

“I must have had a half-dozen people come up — Colin Powell actually,” Warner said. “People were just coming up and saying, ‘Hey, we’ve got to [do something].’”

Warner declined to elaborate on what Powell, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and former secretary of state, had said.

U.S. Sen. Mark Warner. (Win McNamee/GETTY IMAGES)

Warner said he hoped that the massacre would serve as a “game changer” on guns, as he put it in a tweet.

“I hope and pray that this won’t just be a flashpoint and then recede into the quagmire of legislative non-function in Washington,” he said. “But I think you’re gonna see — at least I hope — there are an awful lot of folks who, like myself, who’ve got an A rating from the NRA that are willing to say, ‘Enough.’ We’ve got to find a way that you can responsibly own firearms in the country but put appropriate restrictions on some of those tools of ... mass killings.”

Laura Vozzella covers Virginia politics for The Washington Post.

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