Manchin gives Democrats a reality check on gun control

Democratic lawmakers are calling for new gun control laws in the wake of last weekend’s racially motivated massacre in Buffalo, New York, but once again Senator Joe Manchin (DW.Va.) stands in the way of the most ardent progressives.

President Joe Biden traveled to Buffalo on Tuesday and visited the families of 10 people killed and three others injured by a white supremacist. In a speech, the President denounced the attack as an act of “domestic terrorism,” condemned white supremacy and repeat calls for a nationwide ban on so-called “assault weapons”.

“There are certain things we can do. We can keep offensive weapons off our streets. We’ve done it before. I did it when I passed the crime statute,” Biden said, referring to the 1994 Violent Crime and Law Enforcement Act, which included a ten-year ban on assault weapons.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (DN.Y.), also speaking in Buffalo Tuesday, vowed that Democrats would “work to finally rid our streets of weapons of war.”

But Manchin, speaking to reporters just before Biden’s speech, gave his realistic assessment that in the 50-50 Senate the only gun control legislation that has a chance of passing is a bipartisan compromise on background checks that have previously failed. This bill, named after Manchin and his key co-sponsor, Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), would extend federal background check requirements to all advertised commercial sales, including sales at gun shows and over the Internet.

“I support the Manchin-Toomey, I always have,” Manchin said, according to reporters The hill. “The Manchin-Toomey is the one. I think if you can’t get that, then why are you trying to do something to basically choose just for the sake of choosing?

While some Democrats want action to one Bill for universal background checks Who passed the House last March, moderate West Virginia has previously said the law goes too far because it would extend to private transactions, such as B. between neighbors, hunting friends or even family. The Manchin-Toomey bill exempted these transactions.

“The best law we ever had, and most people agreed on, was the Manchin-Toomey. We have not violated anyone’s rights privately,” Manchin said.

But if Manchin-Toomey was the bill “that most people agreed on,” it wouldn’t mean much — the invoice failed In 2013, six votes were missing below the 60-vote threshold to overcome a filibuster at a time when a stronger Democratic majority was holding the Senate. Only two Republicans voted in favor, Toomey and Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine).

It’s far less likely that 10 Republicans would cross the aisle to vote for any sort of gun control law this year, especially ahead of the November midterm elections. Manchin gives Democrats a reality check on gun control

Laura Coffey

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