Manchin: Firearms measure will return

WHEELING – U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin says his measure requiring background checks for those buying firearms at gun shows and over the Internet will return for a vote in the Senate at a later date.

“The Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights Protection Act” – an amendment to an overall gun legislation bill – was rejected in the Senate after receiving just 54 of the 60 votes needed for passage. Manchin, D-W.Va., co-introduced the measure with Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., told Democratic Caucus members Thursday the Manchin-Toomey amendment “will stay intact” and come up for a vote again in the future, according to Manchin.

“I’m beginning to talk to legislators to find out if there is some reason why they weren’t able to vote for it … ,” Manchin said. “We’re working with everybody, and I think we will be successful – because common sense, gun sense, it just makes sense.”

Reid has set no timeline for the bill’s return to the floor, Manchin continued.

In a statement released Wednesday, the National Rifle Association cheered the defeat of the background check amendment.

“This amendment would have criminalized certain private transfers of firearms between honest citizens, requiring lifelong friends, neighbors and some family members to get federal government permission to exercise a fundamental right or face prosecution,” said Chris W. Cox, executive director of the NRA. “As we have noted previously, expanding background checks, at gun shows or elsewhere, will not reduce violent crime or keep our kids safe in their schools.”

Manchin believes some comments made by the NRA regarding the background check proposal may have caused some senators to vote against the measure, and he now needs to clarify his legislation and further explain it to members, he said.

“Here is what the NRA has said that I said was a … lie,” Manchin noted. “They said my bill could prevent families or loved ones from transferring or selling guns to family members or friends and neighbors. They know that is wrong. Why they are saying it, I do not know.

“It doesn’t even make sense what they are saying,” he added. “That is just how erroneous and misleading they’ve tried to be.”

NRA representatives could not be reached for further comment.

Manchin added those involved with the measure worked hard for three months gathering feedback from those on both sides of the issue to create a proposal that balanced the safety of citizens with protecting the rights of gun owners.

“We were very cautious to make sure we did everything right to protect and expand the Second Amendment. And I think all of our gun enthusiasts and advocates in West Virginia who have seen the language have overwhelmingly supported this legislation. I feel very good about that. If we can meet the test of law abiding gun owners in West Virginia, we can meet the test anywhere.”