Sandy Hook tragedy: Joe Scarborough, Sen. Manchin shift on gun control


Newtown, Conn. residents Claire Swanson, Ian Fuchs, Kate Suba, Jaden Albrecht and Simran Chand hold candles at a memorial for victims on Sunday, following the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Dec. 16, 2012 in Newtown, Connecticut.


Mario Tama

MSNBC pundit Joe Scarborough has long been known for his conservative views. The former Congressman even used to be one of the NRA's own top-rated lawmakers, Politico reported.

But in the wake of the Sandy Hook shooting, Scarborough has changed his mind.

In a lengthy speech on his show, he said that he had rethought his "long-held" pro-gun ideology. "From this day forward, nothing can ever be the same again," he said. "Let this be our true landmark ... politicians can no longer be allowed to defend the status quo."

He criticized ideological politicians, as well as "entertainment moguls," saying: "Entertainment moguls don't have an absolute right to glorify murder while spreading mayhem in young minds across America. And our Bill of Rights does not guarantee gun manufacturers the absolute right to sell military-style, high-caliber, semi-automatic combat assault rifles with high-capacity magazines to whoever the hell they want."

More from GlobalPost: Obama in Newtown for Sandy Hook vigil

Scarborough also featured a guest on his show who had experienced a similar ideological shift. Joe Manchin III, a pro-gun-rights, Democratic West Virginia senator, hinted that his views had changed.

“I don’t know anybody who needs 30 rounds in a clip to go hunting. I mean, these are things that need to be talked about,” Manchin said. The comments are surprising, coming from a politician who in 2010 made waves for a commercial that showed him firing a rifle at an environmental bill, The New York Times reported.

Most pro-gun pundits, though, have been sticking with their beliefs since Friday's mass shooting of 20 children and six school personnel at Sandy Hook Elementary. Appearing on "The O'Reilly Factor" Friday night, Fox News correspondent Geraldo Rivera suggested that gun tragedies can be prevented by staffing "an armed cop at every school."

The NRA has meanwhile been "strangely silent" since the shootings, hiding its Facebook page and declining interview requests from reporters, the National Journal reported.