POINT PLEASANT — Despite what his critics are saying, U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) says he’s not trying to take away anyone’s right to bear arms.
Manchin spoke exclusively with the Point Pleasant Register about his support of the Second Amendment and his stance on gun control Tuesday, during his visit to the Annual Mason County Area Chamber of Commerce Dinner.
Manchin, who has promoted himself as a sportsman, a gun owner and a National Rifle Association member with an “A” rating, has been taking heat lately for supporting what he calls a “common sense measure” to keep guns away from criminals and those deemed mentally ill by a court.
“This isn’t about taking guns away,” Manchin said, explaining the legislation he supports doesn’t ban any type of gun or bullets.
What it does do, he said, is require a criminal and mental health background check to purchase a firearm without infringing on the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens. Manchin has said the legislation he supports will not take away anyone’s guns; will not ban any kind of firearm; will not ban or restrict the use of any kind of bullet or any size clip or magazine; will not create a national registry (saying, it clearly makes illegal the establishment of any such registry); and lastly, it will not, in any fashion, infringe upon the rights of law-abiding citizens.
Manchin said he was affected, as most of the country was, by the more recent shootings in Colorado and Newtown, Conn. For this reason, another aspect of his legislation is to create a National Commission on Mass Violence to bring together experts from a variety of fields, including school safety, mental health, the video and entertainment industry, gun rights and law enforcement to discuss “meaningful action” that can be taken to prevent more incidents of mass violence. Manchin has said incidents like the one in Newtown were a failure of multiple systems and not simply a gun issue.
However, some of Manchin’s critics claim these background checks are a slippery slope leading to gun bans, national registries and simply making it harder for law-abiding citizens to exercise their Second Amendment rights.
Manchin strongly disagreed with the criticism and misinformation about where he stands on gun control and the right to bear arms, saying he remains a gun owner and a strong supporter of the Second Amendment. He said his critics are “muddying the waters” because he is speaking out on this issue.