Manchin says he doesn’t support House-passed background check bill
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) said Tuesday that he does not support House-passed legislation to expand background checks to all gun sales.
“What the House passed? Not at all,” Manchin said, when asked if he supports the legislation.
The House passed two bills this month: one to extend the window for completing a background check before a gun sale and a second that would extend background checks to all sales and transfers. However, the second bill provides exemptions including for transfers between family members, responding to an immediate threat or temporary transfer for hunting.
Manchin, however, suggested he wanted a bill that provided a bigger carve-out for private sales between individuals who know each other.
“I come from a gun culture. I’m a law-abiding gun owner,” Manchin said, adding that he supports “basically saying that commercial transactions should be background checked. You don’t know a person.”
“If I know a person, no,” Manchin said.
Manchin and Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) previously offered legislation to expand background checks to all commercial sales, including those at gun shows or on the internet. Of the GOP senators who supported the bill in 2013, only two are still in the Senate: Toomey and Sen. Susan Collins (Maine).
Collins reiterated Tuesday that she still supports the proposal.
If gun legislation will be able to pass Congress is back under the spotlight after a shooting at a grocery store in Boulder, Colo., left 10 people dead including a police officer, and less than a week after eight people were killed in three Atlanta-area shootings.
Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) has vowed to put the House bill on the floor for a vote. However, it’s unlikely Democrats would be able to get 60 votes, since that requires the support of 10 Republicans.
Toomey said he didn’t think “the House has passed anything that can pass the Senate.”
Collins, meanwhile, said that while she hadn’t seen the House bill, it was her understanding that it was “very, very broad.”
Manchin’s opposition also raises questions about if the legislation would be able to pass even if Senate Democrats nixed the legislative filibuster, a move they also do not have the support to do.
“House bills are going to come over no matter what,” Manchin said about the path forward. “We’re going to try to do the responsible, reasonable thing.”