Swing Vote Sen. Joe Manchin Says He Will Not Dump Filibuster For Gun Control
Senator Joe Manchin, a Democrat from West Virginia, speaks during a news conference in the Senate Subway of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2020. President Donald Trump's inevitable acquittal in the Senate's impeachment trial today has some House Democrats fretting that they should have delivered a more complete case to argue for his removal.
Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Democrats appear ready to jettison the Senate filibuster in pursuit of stricter federal gun control legislation, but at least one key swing vote, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), says he will not vote to end the filibuster in order to pass two House-drafted anti-gun bills.

CNN’s Manu Raju spoke to Manchin Wednesday morning and it appears the moderate Democrat — and the one legislator Democrats truly need to pass gun control, with or without the filibuster — is not interested in making the change.

“Manchin told me ‘no’ he won’t support gutting 60-vote filibuster rule even if Manchin-Toomey bill is blocked again,” Raju noted on Twitter, referring to a 2013 compromise bill that Manchin authored, which would have required background checks for all commercial gun sales, including those at gun shows and online.

Manchin, Raju reports, wants a Senate effort on gun control to be bipartisan and not based on a pair of House bills that he does not support.

“We got to work together here. Why don’t you ask people when was the last time they took time to talk to some of the people on this side try to convince them, or work with them,” Manchin told CNN. “Have you had dinner with them? Have you had a lunch with them? Have you had a cup of coffee with them? Try something.”

Manchin’s decision severely curtails Democrats’ ability to pass any meaningful gun restrictions, particularly given that he’s already said he opposes the House’s efforts to force universal gun background checks.

“What the House passed? Not at all,” he said when asked about the House bill Tuesday.

“The House passed two bills this month: one to extend the window for completing a background check before a gun sale and a second that would extend background checks to all sales and transfers. However, the second bill provides exemptions including for transfers between family members, responding to an immediate threat or temporary transfer for hunting,” The Hill reports.

Manchin, though, sides largely with Republicans on gun issues, as he told reporters on Tuesday.

“I come from a gun culture. I’m a law-abiding gun owner,” Manchin said, adding a caveat.

“So I’m still basically where Pat Toomey and I have been,” Manchin added. “The most reasonable responsible gun piece of legislation (is) called Gun Sense, which is basically saying that commercial transactions should be background checked. Commercial, you don’t know a person. If I know a person, no.”

President Joe Biden said Tuesday, following a mass shooting in Boulder, Colorado, that he wants more than just background check bills and further restrictions on commercial gun sales; he is interested, specifically, in a resurrection of a 1990s assault weapons ban that expired during President George W. Bush’s term because of a built-in sunset provision. He also wants a ban on so-called “high capacity magazines.” He called support for such measures, “patriotic.”

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki added Tuesday afternoon that the White House is also exploring how to use executive orders to curtail gun rights, though President Biden may be severely limited in that approach.

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