More pro-gun Democrats express openness to gun law changes

Rachel Rose Hartman

Senator-elect Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Rep. Joe Donnelly of Indiana on Monday added their voices to fellow pro-gun Democrats expressing a willingness to re-examine gun laws after Friday's shooting in Newtown, Conn.

Heitkamp late Monday night said she would review any gun law changes that cross her desk in the coming term. From her release:

In the days and weeks ahead, there will certainly be a discussion on what we can do as a country to prevent further tragedies like the one in Newtown. Those conversations will surely examine how we best address mental health issues in our country, as well as possible changes to our gun laws. Many ideas will be put forth, and I will give thoughtful and studied consideration to any legislation that may arise as result of this tragedy. As always, I will listen closely to North Dakotans and seek their input on any possible changes to current law.

The statement follows comments made by West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin and Virginia Sen. Mark Warner—both Democrats rated "A" by the NRA—suggesting the availability of assault weapons should be reviewed.

Donnelly was asked by CNN on Monday about his support for an assault weapons ban.

"There's a discussion beginning," Donnelly said. "I heard Sen. Manchin this morning, and I think everybody's willing to listen and be part of that discussion."