Manchin: Ban on AR-15s can't pass Congress

Manchin: Ban on AR-15s can't pass Congress
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Democratic Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinSenate GOP: We will grow our majority in midterms CIA torture could stymie nominee An upset, yes, but a short victory lap for Democrat Lamb in Pennsylvania MORE (W.Va.) Wednesday said a bill banning sales of the AR-15, the gun reportedly used in this month's Florida high school shooting, couldn't pass Congress.

"This is a difficult one. There is not enough votes to pass that, to repeal that," Manchin told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" when asked if Congress should ban the gun.

Pressed if he personally would vote for an AR-15 ban, Manchin said the people he knows who own the gun aren't using it to break the law. "I wouldn't take their gun away."

The suspected school shooter, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, reportedly used an AR-15. Federal law enforcement officials told The New York Times that the gun was purchased legally.

The AR-15 was developed in the 1950s for the battlefield, but has since become a popular weapon widely sold and owned in the United States. Civilians can only buy a semi-automatic version of the weapon, which fires a single round with each pull of the trigger.

Manchin, who is up for reelection this year, is heading to the White House on Wednesday to discuss gun control in the aftermath of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., where 17 people died.

Congress is under growing pressure to pass new legislation after the shooting, but what, if anything, could muster enough support to clear the GOP-controlled Congress remains unclear.

Manchin said it would not be a "wise move" for Democrats to withhold support for the Fix NICS (National Instant Background Check System) Act, while noting that he wants to be able to to offer amendments to the legislation.

The Fix NICS Act would reinforce existing laws by ensuring that authorities report criminal records to the National Instant Background Check System and penalize agencies that don't provide the information to the FBI.

Manchin added that that he's also planning to pitch his background checks bill with Sen. Pat ToomeyPatrick (Pat) Joseph ToomeyWH backpedals on Trump's 'due process' remark on guns Top GOP candidate drops out of Ohio Senate race Newly declassified memos detail extent of improper Obama-era NSA spying MORE (R-Pa.), which failed to pass the Senate in 2013. He also called for a ban on "bump stocks" and said raising the minimum age to buy a rifle is a "no brainer."