Background checks ‘absolutely’ still alive in Congress, says Manchin
April 28th, 2013
11:43 AM ET
10 years ago

Background checks ‘absolutely’ still alive in Congress, says Manchin

(CNN) – A measure expanding background checks on gun sales that was defeated in the Senate two weeks ago can still be revised and approved in the chamber, one of the bill’s authors argued on Sunday.

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-West Virginia, said the legislation he wrote with Republican Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania had caused confusion among his collegues, which contributed to its failure earlier this month.

“The only thing that we've asked for is that people would just read the bill. It's a criminal and mental background checks strictly at gun shows and online sales,” Manchin said on “Fox News Sunday,” saying the confusion arose from a misperception that gun owners’ purchases would be tracked by the federal government.

Manchin and Toomey made similar pleas to their collegues ahead of the April 17 vote, but failed to garner enough support from Republicans and conservative Democrats to gain passage. Along with the background checks bill, a ban on assault weapons also went down in defeat.

Afterwards, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he was shelving the proposed gun legislation without bringing it to a final vote, saying “the best way to keep working towards passing a background check bill is to hit pause, and freeze the background check bill where it is.”

“This will allow senators to keep negotiating,” he said. A Senate Democratic leadership aide said at the time that Reid could still bring up the package of gun proposals again if circumstances change and he believes he has the votes for key provisions to pass.

Ramping up restrictions on gun sales was a top priority of President Barack Obama in the aftermath of December’s deadly shooting at a school in Newtown, Connecticut. The failure of the background check bill was seen as a major defeat of that particular facet of Obama’s agenda.

On Sunday, Manchin said he still had the support of Toomey, the background check bill’s co-author, and that with enough effort he could convince more lawmakers to support it.

“I truly believe if we have time to sell the bill, and people read the bill,” it will gain support, Manchin said. “I'm willing to go anywhere in this country, I'm going to debate anybody on this issue, read the bill and you tell me what you don't like.”

Filed under: Gun control • Joe Manchin
soundoff (6 Responses)
  1. Tony in Maine

    May I suggest that it be amended to read that all Senators who voted "no" fail any new background check since they are obviously a threat to society.

    April 28, 2013 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  2. Lynn

    I don't like any of it. The bill fails to address the real issue. There is absolutely nothing in it that will stop a criminal form obtaining a gun period! The only thing your bill does is burden law abiding citizens with more useless laws. And you nor your partners have yet to explain how this bill would have prevented Newton or any other mass shooting. Straw Purchases are illegal already. Felons are already forbidden from purchases. The government has already admitted it doesn't have time to enforce the laws on the books now so you tell me how is this new bill going to work? Are you going to have time to enforce these new laws? I have a right to know how my government intends to make this work without a gun registry.

    April 28, 2013 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  3. ThinkAgain

    A recent poll showed a large 85% majority of voters favors requiring checks on all gun buyers, including at gun shows and private sales. That includes most Democrats (90%), Republicans (83%) and independents (82%), as well as most of those living in a gun-owner household (81%).

    My source? Fox so-called "News" (not exactly a "lame-stream media" lackey).

    I think the vote on this should keep coming up, over and over and over again.

    Just think of all the ads that can be created showing without a doubt that the GOP cares more about the NRA than the American people!

    April 28, 2013 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  4. ThinkAgain

    @Lynn: "I don't like any of it. The bill fails to address the real issue. There is absolutely nothing in it that will stop a criminal form obtaining a gun period! The only thing your bill does is burden law abiding citizens with more useless laws."

    If someone can handle going through a background check then they either wouldn't pass one or aren't mature enough to own a gun, period!

    April 28, 2013 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  5. Dennis

    Senator Manchin with all do respect is drinking the ant-gun Kool Aid. Even though he says this will not be a registration the government will have to keep records of the transaction to prove that a background check was done in connection with the sale or purchase of a firearm. Otherwise how will they know if a background check was done or the transaction was done without a check? The government speaketh out of both sides of their mouth and Senator Manchin has been deemed the spokes person.
    In the case of a dealer transaction the dealer records are evidence of the transaction but in the case of a private sale there would be no record except the background check itself. How gullible do they think we are to fall for this deception. This is simply intended to be one more step toward gun registration and from there who knows.

    April 28, 2013 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  6. Chipster

    @Lynn I understand what you're saying: "Felons are already forbidden from purchases. " But, without background checks, especially with gun show loopholes, how are sales clerks supposed to know their customer is a felon? Or that they may have an outstanding warrant? Just sayin' ....

    April 28, 2013 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |