Manchin argued that Trump has more leverage with the gun community than Obama did because gun owners believed that Obama’s efforts to restrict gun ownership were a slippery slope to full-on confiscation whereas with Trump that wouldn’t be the case.
“There’s no one who believes he’s [Trump] going to take their guns away,” Manchin said. The Democratic senator from West Virginia went on to say that Trump could sell the bill to the public as a means to keep criminals and terrorists from getting guns. “He would be the person that could help us with that,” he said.
“There’s a reason that certain people shouldn’t be able to have access to guns. Every law-abiding gun owner understands that,” Manchin added. “They read our bill and saw we had a good piece of legislation, but no one had the fortitude to do it. And he could do it.”
Manchin penned his background check bill with fellow Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA). It would have criminalized private transfers, e.g. sales made between citizens at gun shows or over the internet.
The bill stalled in the Senate in 2013, failing to reach the 60 votes needed to overcome a Republican-led filibuster. It was one of several gun control measures voted on in the wake of the mass killings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
Manchin seems optimistic that background check legislation will pop back up for another go around over the course of the next few years. Though, he once again said that Trump is the man to make that happen.
“Donald Trump’s the only person that can do that right now,” said Manchin.
This is not the first time Manchin has discussed bringing back his background check bill within the context of the Trump Administration. A report by The New York Times Magazine claimed that Manchin envisioned a “complete opportunity” for new gun safety legislation with Team Trump.
The obvious question is whether this is Manchin just blowing smoke in the hopes of ginning up some action or if there really is an ongoing dialogue between the two camps about the issue.
My inclination is that Manchin is throwing this out there as a bargaining chip for something else. Maybe Trump signs a background check bill and the Dems give up something in return. This is purely hypothetical, but how would you feel about trading universal background checks for non-NFA suppressor legislation (Hearing Protection Act)?
They say, “A fair deal leaves both sides unhappy.” Using that as the rubric for judging a transaction, yeah, universal background checks in exchange for HPA would be a “fair deal.”
What are your thoughts about Manchin’s comments on Trump and his background check bill?