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December 19, 2012 12:10 am

IMAGES of innocence, pictures of the fresh faces of the victims of Sandy Hook, remind us that we never, ever want to see another such horror. Prevention, however, is a multi-faceted job--and one of those facets must be a hard look at current gun laws. Two pro-gun senators agree.

Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., has been a strong supporter of the Second Amendment rights, with an A-minus rating from the NRA to prove it. But after the slaughter of 20 small children with a military-style rifle, he now says that "the status quo isn't acceptable."

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., agrees, even though he's an NRA member and a gun-rights advocate from a gun-friendly state. In a recent campaign, he demonstrated his abhorrence of cap-and-trade legislation by producing an ad that showed him shooting a copy of the proposed law--a dramatic example of his comfort with guns.

But Mr. Manchin says that, after Newtown, it's time to take action on gun laws--and that the gun lobby should be part of the fix. "Never before have we seen our babies slaughtered," he said. "Anybody that's a proud gun owner, anybody that's a proud member of the NRA, we're also proud parents. We're also proud grandparents."

A new Reuters/Ipsos poll indicates that the senators' changing views may reflect those of the general population:

50 percent of those polled support stronger gun laws (up from 42 percent in previous polls).

60 percent support a ban on automatic weapons (up from 54 percent).

84 percent support background checks for all gun purchasers (up from 77 percent).

One way to honor the Sandy Hook victims--and lower the odds of another mass killing--may be a willingness by many of us to rethink long-held views on guns, especially those that can kill so many so quickly. Kudos to Mr. Warner and Mr. Manchin for leading the way.

Bibliobellum: Recommended reading during the Civil War Sesquicentennial

»»Bruce Catton's Army of the Potomac Trilogy: "Mr. Lincoln's Army," "Glory Road," and "A Stillness at Appomattox."

Enjoy an epic retelling of the ordeals and triumph of the Union army by perhaps the greatest Civil War historian.

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