PBS’s new special, Gunned Down: The Power Of The NRA, makes it clear the Obama administration trusted Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) to beat the NRA on gun control in 2013.
Manchin was the author of the much-touted gun control “compromise” bill which he and other Democrats pushed in the wake of the heinous attack on Sandy Hook Elementary.
According to PBS, “Obama decided to try to do something” following Sandy Hook and he knew he had to do it quickly, while “concern” and “attention” were elevated. Momentum seemed to be going Obama’s way until December 21, 2012, the day the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre gave a speech about good guys with guns stopping bad guys with guns, and it became clear the push to pass more gun control would have to be a fight.
The Obama administration began looking for someone “from Congress who could find middle ground in the highly polarized world of gun politics.” They found that person in Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV).
Manchin was willing to write the gun control bill, and even better, he was a Democrat who had run for election on a promise to the protect the Second Amendment. Moreover, he had an A-rating from the NRA.
As point man for gun control, Manchin had the support of Sens. Harry Reid (D-NV) and Chuck Schumer (D-NY), and he began to “draft a little bill that would require background checks at thousands of gun shows.” He believed the NRA might even support the bill.
But they didn’t. Instead, they distanced themselves from Manchin. They stopped any and all contact with with him about the bill and went on the offensive against Manchin for trampling his own pro-gun campaign promises.
The NRA ran a commercial which showed candidate Joe Manchin promising to protect Second Amendment rights, followed by an NRA narrator saying: “That was Joe Manchin’s commitment. But now Manchin is working with President Obama and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Concerned? You Should be.”
On April 17, 2013, Manchin failed to deliver gun control to Obama’s desk. He failed to gain the support of his Senate colleagues and, quite clearly, he failed to beat the NRA on gun control.
Follow AWR Hawkins on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.