Response from U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin
U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., released the following statement:
“Although I am disappointed in the outcome of today’s vote for a commonsense measure to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill while protecting our Second Amendment rights, this is not the end of the debate,” Senator Manchin said. “I thank Senator Pat Toomey, along with Senators Mark Kirk and Chuck Schumer, for their support on working toward a balanced approach to fix our culture of mass violence. Moving forward, I am hopeful that my colleagues and I can work together as we remember all the families who have suffered from senseless acts of violence across America. If we muster just one ounce of the courage these families have shown, then we, as a legislative body, can truly make a difference.”
UPDATE 7/9/13 @ 9:35 p.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) -- The National Rifle Association is mailing 200,000 letters to West Virginians to explain why it opposes U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin's gun buyer background check proposal.
The mail campaign launching this week follows up on TV ads exchanged by the NRA and the West Virginia Democrat over the measure.
Manchin says the mailing seeks to score cheap political points. He and Sen. Patrick Toomey, a Pennsylvania Republican, have proposed expanding background checks to gun show and online sales.
The NRA letter calls the measure flawed and failed, as it stalled in April.
The NRA also says that Manchin promised not to support such a proposal when he last sought the group's endorsement. Manchin, a former governor, had previously won support and top scores from the NRA. He's a lifetime NRA member.
A TV ad the group planned to launch Wednesday urges state residents to call Manchin over gun control.
Manchin has continued to push to broaden background checks to include firearms sold online or at gun shows. He was not immediately available for comment.
The ad seeks to link Manchin with President Barack Obama and New York City Major Mike Bloomberg. Obama is unpopular in West Virginia.
The new TV spot also invokes the famous campaign ad in which Manchin shots a rifle at Obama environmental legislation. That 2010 ad had cited the NRA's endorsement of Manchin.
The NRA says it will spend $100,000 to air the ad over the next two weeks.
Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia says there would have been 70 votes for the plan to expand background checks for gun buyers. But the NRA said it would include the gun vote on report cards that show whether candidates support gun rights.
The Senate on Wednesday rejected the background check bill Manchin wrote with Pennsylvania Republican Sen. Patrick Toomey.
Manchin says he also lost votes because some senators who may vote for gay rights or an immigration bill wanted to show they are still conservative.
Manchin spoke Thursday at a breakfast sponsored by The Wall Street Journal.
The vote is a jarring blow to the drive to curb firearms sparked by December's massacre of children and staff at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn.
President Barack Obama made broadened background checks the centerpiece of his gun control proposals.
The roll call was also a victory for the National Rifle Association, which opposed the plan as an ineffective infringement on gun rights.
The proposal would have required background checks for all transactions at gun shows and online.
Currently they must occur for sales handled by licensed gun dealers.
The system is designed to keep criminals and people with mental problems from getting guns.
Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Republican Sen. Patrick Toomey of Pennsylvania said their agreement would help keep firearms from criminals and the mentally ill.
The checks would now apply to commercial sales, such as transactions at gun shows and online. The sales would have to be channeled through licensed firearms dealers, who would have to keep records of the transactions.
Manchin said that since the slayings of school children and educators in Newtown, Conn., both sides in the gun debate must find common ground. Toomey said he considers expanded background checks common sense, not gun control.
The NRA released the following statement:
Expanding background checks at gun shows will not prevent the next shooting, will not solve violent crime and will not keep our kids safe in schools. While the overwhelming rejection of President Obama and Mayor Bloomberg's "universal" background check agenda is a positive development, we have a broken mental health system that is not going to be fixed with more background checks at gun shows. The sad truth is that no background check would have prevented the tragedies in Newtown, Aurora or Tucson. We need a serious and meaningful solution that addresses crime in cities like Chicago, addresses mental health deficiencies, while at the same time protecting the rights of those of us who are not a danger to anyone. President Obama should be as committed to dealing with the gang problem that is tormenting honest people in his hometown as he is to blaming law-abiding gun owners for the acts of psychopathic murderers.