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Gun control supporters take part in a candlelight vigil at Lafayette Square across from the White House on December 15, 2012 in Washington. Twenty-seven people, including the shooter, were killed on December 14 at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
President Obama says the mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut should be a tipping point in our national conversation about guns.
There are an estimated 300 million privately owned firearms in the United State, and a recent Pew Survey showed Americans are split over gun control: 47 percent find it important to control gun ownership and 46 percent said it was more important to protect gun rights.
At least one prominent gun rights supporter is speaking out for gun policy changes. Democratic West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin is a life-time member of the NRA and has an "A" score from the group, but on MSNBC's Morning Joe today, he said:
"I can honestly say that I've gone deer hunting... I just came with my family from deer hunting. I've never had more than three shells in a clip. Sometimes you don't get more than one shot anyway at a deer. It's time to move beyond rhetoric. We need to sit down and have a common sense discussion and move in a reasonable way."
In addition, some are calling for a ban on assault weapons and closing a loophole that allows people to make purchases at gun sales without background checks.
Paul Barrett is an editor at Bloomberg, and the author of the book, "Glock:The Rise of America's Gun," says guns are deeply embedded in American culture and that policy changes are difficult.