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Virginia Lawmakers Weigh In On Gun Control

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Virginia lawmakers are playing a key role in the gun-control debate that's been rekindled following the massacre in Newtown, Conn. 

Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) was one of the first lawmakers to pivot on gun control. He maintains an "A" rating from the National Rifle Association, but says he is now open to restricting assault weapons. Northern Virginia Democrat Jim Moran is calling for further reforms. He's introduced legislation to require background checks for every gun purchase and to require gun owners to report any lost or stolen firearms. 

"More than two-thirds of all NRA membership support every provision within the bill," Moran says. "But the gun manufacturers and thus the leadership of the NRA opposes all of them and through political intimidation I'm afraid they're going to continue to get their way." 

Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), the incoming chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, originally took a hard line on gun control this week before saying he would listen to what all parties had to say.. He told Roll Call he opposes new gun-control efforts, only to walk that back, saying he's going to  listen to and carefully review recommendations from the president's new gun task force. Goodlatte's office didn't respond to an interview request. 

Moran thinks GOP leaders are going to block gun control measures. 

"I don't see the House Republicans accepting anything meaningful, but if we don't do something we will clearly be complicit in the next massacre of innocents," Moran says.

Rep. Scott Rigell (R-Va.), an NRA member, says he's open to some ideas he's heard, like limiting the number of bullets in a magazine. 

"It's absolutely the time to come together and have a thoughtful national discussion about this. The tragedy is unspeakable," Riggell says. 

Later this morning the NRA is holding its first press conference after the shooting, which has lawmakers in both parties watching to see where the gun debate will turn next. 


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