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Hoosier congressmen vague on preventing gun violence

Federal lawmakers who represent northeast Indiana say they are willing to discuss ways to guard Americans against mass shootings such as those in Newtown, Conn., on Friday.

But they don't come close to endorsing restrictions on the sale of semiautomatic rifles and large-capacity ammunition clips.

Sen.-elect Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., issued a statement that said in part, "All parties must come to the table as we determine the appropriate action to address this extremely concerning problem of senseless violence."

Donnelly's statement and a similar comment he made Monday to CNN attracted media attention because he earned an "A" rating from the National Rifle Association for his votes on gun issues as a member of the U.S. House.

Rep. Marlin Stutzman, R-2nd, also received an "A" from the NRA.

In an email response to questions from The Journal Gazette, Stutzman said, "I look forward to a fact-based discussion during the next session of Congress on ways to prevent tragedies like this from happening in the future."

Sen. Dan Coats, R-Ind., said in a statement, "Certainly, as a country, we need to have a meaningful discussion on the role of violence in our society and how we deal with mental illness."

Coats received a "C+" from the NRA. In 1993, he supported the original bill that would prohibit the sale of assault rifles for 10 years.

For more on this story, see Wednesday's print edition of The Journal Gazette or visit after 3 a.m. Wednesday.