Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia is hardly my favorite democrat. In fact, I would argue that he barely is a democrat at all. He carries an ‘A’ rating with the NRA and is one of three remaining Democratic Senators who have not endorsed gay marriage (along with Landrieu/LA and Pryor/AR). However, that first thing is about to change.
Senator Manchin’s bipartisan bill that he crafted with Pennsylvania Republican, Pat Toomey, may not be the bill that I would want–in fact, it’s not all that close–but it is the bill we can get. To pass any restrictions on gun purchases is going to be a real challenge with this congress, but their bill is a step in the right direction, and one that I will not sneeze at.
West Virginia is an extremely pro-gun state, so it should be said that Manchin is not avoiding risk by taking this on. I would actually argue that it’s a much safer move for Toomey whom hales from a blue state. One could even argue that it’s the only smart decision available to the Senator from Pennsylvania.
Former WV Governor Manchin once took a shot gun and blew a hole in a copy of a cap-and-trade bill just to prove to his constituents how conservative he really is.
So what changed for Manchin so that he would potentially risk his office and his ‘A’ rating? Well, Newtown of course. Manchin has been among the most visibly moved by the tragedy in Connecticut, and while his bill is certainly a half measure, it is a forward measure. If nothing else, it’s a start.
Earlier today, Manchin went toe to toe with Fox News defending his bill and the ridiculous argument that the bill would create (or lead to) a national gun registry, when the bill explicitly declares that illegal.
See video below:
Earlier this week, Manchin met with family members who lost children and siblings at Sandy Hook. The emotion in the room was palpable, even watching it on video.
Joe Manchin looked those bereaved people in the face and said, “I can do something. I can do something.”
Which is exactly why we sent him to congress in the first place.
Manchin with Newtown family members below: