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Changes In Attitudes?

"For a long time, I have been pro-gun. No registration for guns at all."

But now, Harry Bonar even believes registration for concealed carry permits has to be toughened, in the wake of last week's shootings.

Bonar, a long-time gunsmith who owns several firearms, argues people who didn't go through the training got permits anyway.

"I know some people who paid money to get their concealed carry license. They paid money and didn't go through the course, and they got their concealed carry permit. That should not be allowed, and we need people who will crack down on it."

The recent shootings in Connecticut, Oregon, and last summer's theater shooting in Colorado, have once again opened the debate on gun control, and sent gun buyers flocking to stores to get ahead of anticipated laws.

"There's so many facets to what happened in Connecticut, but just to pull out one piece of it," says Greg Burge, an Indianapolis gun store owner, "and blame an inanimate object, to me, does the victims no justice."

Bonar, on the other hand, agrees with President Obama that something has to be done about the problem. Bonar owns a weapon similar to that reportedly used by the connectcut shooter.

"This holds 17 rounds," he said, demonstrating the weapon. "All you have to do is drop the clip, and put another clip in, and you have that many more rounds again. He only had to reload one time to kill all these children."

Bonar calls for an outright ban on weapons designed for use by the military, meaning they should not be available to the general public.

Meanwhile, U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, an avid hunter, says there needs to be an open discussion on gun restrictions.

Manchin was on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" discussing last Friday's shootings.

Later, in a conference call, he says that doesn't mean he's changed his stand on gun ownership.

"You had 20 children, first and second graders, slaughtered in the school. And you've heard me talk about the five promises we should keep to children in the school; the second is every child should have a safe place. Sometimes, it's not the home; sometimes it's the school, more often than not. And now, that's not even safe."

Manchin says there also needs to be discussion about mental health, and ensuring programs to help the mentally ill are properly funded.

Manchin's West Virginia colleague, Jay Rockefeller, agrees.

“Despite the federal mental health parity law passed in 2008, which is in place to end insurance company discrimination against those seeking treatment for mental health, there is an incredible shortage of mental health providers across the country – including West Virginia," Rockefeller said in a statement released late Monday afternoon. "This is yet another area where action is necessary."

A ten-year old ban on assault weapons, approved during the Clinton administration, was allowed to expire in 2004. Rockefeller, like Manchin, a Democrat, voted for the ban.


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