NRA-backed Joe Manchin backs universal background checks

The Democrat from West Virginia says he is working on a bill with members of both parties

By Jillian Rayfield
January 25, 2013 2:24AM (UTC)
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NRA-backed Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., an important vote in any Democratic push for gun control, said Thursday that he has been working on legislation with both Democrats and Republicans to implement universal background checks - though with a few exceptions.

Greg Sargent reports that Manchin, who has an "A"-rating from the NRA, told  Metro News radio’s Talkline in West Virginia on Thursday that though he's not ready to support an assault weapons ban,  "I’m working on a bill right now with other Senators, Democrats and Republicans. We’re trying to get it, and looking at a background check that basically says that if you’re going to be a gun owner, you should be able to pass a background check, to be able to get that. With exceptions."


The exceptions, he said, are, "Families, immediate family members, some sporting events that you’re going to — that if you’re just going to be using them at the sporting events. So we’re looking and talking to people with expertise. I’m working with the NRA, to be honest with you, and talking to them."

Manchin added that he thinks background checks should apply to gun shows as well: "I think that’s common sense. Why would a legitimate gun retail shop have to go through that, but then the unfair advantage for someone at a gun show doesn’t?"

Jillian Rayfield

Jillian Rayfield is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on politics. Follow her on Twitter at @jillrayfield or email her at

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