Longtime National Rifle Association backer Joe Scarborough said he has had a change of heart toward U.S. gun laws following the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
The former politican gave a 10-minute address Monday on "Morning Joe" in response the the shooting that occurred in Newtown, Conn. last Friday, killing 26 people, including 20 young children between the ages of six and seven, Politico reported.
"Today as a nation we grieve and today we as a people feel helpless," he began. "Helpless to stop these random acts of violence that seem to be getting less random by the day. You know it may be the geographic proximity of Newtown to my hometown, or the fact that my children’s ages average those of the 20 young children tragically killed on Friday, or the fact that my second son has Asperger’s, or the fact that too many other facts associated with Friday’s nightmare strike so close to home — for me, just like for you, there is no escaping the horrors visited upon on those children and teachers at Sandy Hook."
Referencing previous mass shootings, including those in Columbine and Aurora, Colo., Tucson, Ariz., and at Virginia Tech University, Scarborough noted that he maintained his pro-gun stance following these shooting; however, he now insists that the shooting in Newtown, Conn. should be the "landmark" for change.
"Every American must know from this day forward nothing can ever be the same again. We’ve said this before after Columbine, after Arizona, after Aurora, after so many other numbing hours of murder and massacre. But let this be our true landmark," he said.
A self-proclaimed conservative Republican, Scarborough admitted to having the highest approval of the NRA during his time in Congress, as well as having previously held libertarian views on the Second Amendment that calls for absolutely no restriction of gun laws for U.S. citizens.
"Politicians can no longer be allowed to defend the status quo," he said. "They must instead be forced to defend our children. Parents can no longer take no for an answer from Washington when the topic turns to protecting our children."
He blamed the Connecticut shooting and other massacres on "violent popular culture, a growing mental health crisis and the proliferation of combat-styled weapons," also but noted that change must be seen in all arenas, especially on the political front.
"I knew that day that the ideologies of my past career were no longer relevant to the future that I want, that I demand for my children," he said. "Friday changed everything. It must change everything. We all must begin anew and demand that Washington's old way of doing business is no longer acceptable. Entertainment moguls don't have an absolute right to glorify murder while spreading mayhem in young minds across America. And our Bill of Rights does not guarantee gun manufacturers the absolute right to sell military-style, high-caliber, semi-automatic combat assault rifles with high-capacity magazines to whoever the hell they want.
"It is time for Congress to put children before deadly dogmas. It's time for politicians to start focusing more on protecting our schoolyards than putting together their next fundraiser. It's time for Washington to stop trying to win endless wars overseas when we're losing the war at home ... For the sake of my four children and yours, I choose life and I choose change."