Manchin: Trump has 'golden opportunity' on gun reforms

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

Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinSenate gears up for battle over witnesses in impeachment trial McConnell: I doubt any GOP senator will vote to impeach Trump Manchin warns he'll slow-walk government funding bill until he gets deal on miners legislation MORE (D-W.V.) said Sunday that President TrumpDonald John TrumpDemocrats ask if they have reason to worry about UK result Trump scramble to rack up accomplishments gives conservatives heartburn Seven years after Sandy Hook, the politics of guns has changed 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 ToomeyNSA improperly collected US phone records in October, new documents show Overnight Defense: Pick for South Korean envoy splits with Trump on nuclear threat | McCain blasts move to suspend Korean military exercises | White House defends Trump salute of North Korean general WH backpedals on Trump's 'due process' remark on guns 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 ScaliseFox's Chris Wallace calls out Trump for the 'most sustained assault on freedom of the press' in US history McCarthy: I don't think there's a need to whip the impeachment vote GOP calls for minority hearing on impeachment, threatens procedural measures 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.