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Manchin: Trump has 'golden opportunity' on gun reforms

Manchin: Trump has 'golden opportunity' on gun reforms
© Aaron Schwartz

Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinMajor unions back Fudge for Agriculture secretary Voters split on eliminating the filibuster: poll OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Barrasso to seek top spot on Energy and Natural Resources Committee | Forest Service finalizes rule weakening environmental review of its projects | Biden to enlist Agriculture, Transportation agencies in climate fight MORE (D-W.V.) said Sunday that President TrumpDonald John TrumpMinnesota certifies Biden victory Trump tells allies he plans to pardon Michael Flynn: report Republican John James concedes in Michigan Senate race MORE has a “golden opportunity” to secure meaningful gun reforms in the wake of two deadly mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio.

“President Trump has a golden opportunity to start making America safe again by starting with this basic building block of background checks,” Manchin said on CBS's "Face the Nation." 

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“It’s been very encouraging with the dialogue going back and forth,” he added.

With the number of mass shootings in the news, “people are afraid to go out… they’re concerned about this, and we shouldn’t be living in fear in America,” Manchin said.

The West Virginia Democrat and Sen. Pat ToomeyPatrick (Pat) Joseph ToomeyAppeals court rules NSA's bulk phone data collection illegal Dunford withdraws from consideration to chair coronavirus oversight panel GOP senators push for quick, partial reopening of economy MORE (R-Pa.) co-sponsored a defeated gun control amendment in 2013 that would have required background checks for most gun sales between private parties.

CBS’s Margaret Brennan on Sunday noted comments from House Minority Whip Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseRichmond says GOP 'reluctant to stand up and tell the emperor he wears no clothes' New RSC chairman sees 'Trumpism' as future Cheney seeks to cool tensions with House conservatives MORE (R-La.), who said on the show last Sunday that existing gun background check measures were sufficient. Scalise himself was severely wounded by a gunman in 2017.

“I respectfully disagree with Steve,” Manchin said, adding that “I’m a law-abiding gun owner, I’ll do the right thing” but that he would never sell a gun through a gun show or the Internet to someone whose history he could not be sure of.

“There’s no promise on any of this right now, but we have good dialogue … it’s very encouraging, [President Trump] wants something to happen,” Manchin added.

Since the shootings, Trump has called for strengthening the background check system, but has also repeatedly blamed the shootings on mental illness, despite groups such as the American Psychological Association stating that blaming mental illness for gun violence is simplistic and inaccurate.