West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin on Monday asserted that the newly reached bipartisan gun deal will not pose a threat to Second Amendment rights.
The moderate Democrat, who has in the past resisted his party’s demands for more expansive gun control laws, was being interviewed on “The Lead” with CNN’s Jake Tapper when he assured gun owners the agreement is intended to prevent gun violence, not take away gun rights.
“It’s based around children. It’s based around prevention and intervention. That’s what it’s based about. So we have to take what we have as a positive, and work off of this. This piece of legislation as drafted should not be threatening to any law-abiding citizen in the United States of America. Not one,” Manchin said.
“And no law-abiding gun owner should be offended by this. We take no rights away, no privileges away. We don’t basically threaten you’re going to lose anything at all, except maybe if we don’t do this, you might lose a child or a grandchild,” he added.
A bipartisan group of 20 U.S. senators, including 10 Republicans, announced a framework for a deal on gun control Sunday meant to address public concerns over mass shootings. The senators said the deal “increases needed mental health resources, improves school safety and support for students, and helps ensure dangerous criminals and those who are adjudicated as mentally ill can’t purchase weapons,” according to a joint statement.
President Joe Biden has pushed Congress to enact tougher new gun laws following several high-profile mass shootings in May. After 19 children and two teachers were massacred at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, the president gave a prime-time address renewing his calls for an “assault weapons” ban, a ban on large-capacity magazines, and other measures. But reality on Capitol Hill is the Democratic Senate majority is not large enough to overcome a filibuster from the Republican minority, which means most of Biden’s gun control wish list is dead on arrival.
However, widespread public horror at the shooting in Uvalde and the killing of 10 people at a grocery store in Buffalo, New York, just days before has convinced at least some Senate Republicans to make concessions to the Democrats.
The deal announced Sunday would incentivize states to adopt so-called “red flag” laws that would permit authorities to take guns away from individuals believed to be a threat to themselves or others; expand background checks for firearm purchasers to include their juvenile and mental health records; limit the ability of convicted domestic abusers to obtain weapons legally; and increase funding for mental health services, school safety, and other health resources.
While Manchin and other senators who took part in the negotiations deny that any of these proposals would threaten Second Amendment rights, some gun activists are calling for Republicans to reject the agreement.
Gun Owners of America, which bills itself as the only “no compromise” gun lobby in Washington, D.C., issued a call to action Monday urging the bill to be “filibustered and ripped to pieces.” The group opposes red-flag laws, which it calls “Confiscation Laws,” and expressed concerns that proposed changes to the definition of Federal Firearms Licenses “could require that anyone who sells more than one gun now has to sell any additional guns as, or through, an FFL, resulting in a backdoor mechanism for universal background registration checks.”
“Senators need to know that gun owners will not let them get away with calling this a ‘compromise.’ This is gun control, plain and simple,” said GOA senior vice president Erich Pratt.
The National Rifle Association, the nation’s largest gun rights organization and boogeyman of anti-gun activists, has not taken a position on the Senate framework.
“We will make our position known when the full text of the bill is available for review,” the NRA said in a statement after the bipartisan deal was announced.
Texas Sen. John Cornyn, the leading Republican negotiator, has strongly defended the deal from detractors on social media. In a tweet Sunday he suggested that including juvenile court and mental health records “likely” would have prevented the shooter in Uvalde from obtaining firearms legally.
He has also argued that many of the extreme gun control measures favored by Democrats, including an “assault weapons” ban for 18- to 21-year-olds, were cut out of negotiations.
Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), the lead Democrat in the bipartisan negotiations, told CNN he believes its possible more Republicans will support the legislation once a bill is drafted.
“My belief is that we’re just going to add Republicans from here on out. We’ve got to get this into legislative text, but we’re done with the negotiating, and my belief is that by next week, we can have something on the floor that can get more than 60 votes,” Murphy said.