Joe Manchin Sees ‘Opportunity’ for Gun Control Under President Trump

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., speaks during a television news interview on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2017, on President Donald Trump's choice of Neil Gorsuch to fill the Supreme Court vacancy left by Antonin Scalia's death. Manchin said he had little sympathy for fellow Senate Democrats feeling pressure …
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

On March 26, the New York Times Magazine described Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) as “the Senate Democrat who… seems closest to [President] Trump” and who believes he may actually secure gun control under the Trump administration.

This news comes as Trump, the NRA, and others are pressing red state Democrats to confirm Neil Gorsuch to fill the void left by Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court.

According to the NYT Mag, Manchin appeared on MSNBC’s Morning Joe on December 14, 2016, the 4th anniversary of the heinous attack in which 20-year-old Adam Lanza stole guns, killed his mother, then went to Sandy Hook Elementary and killed 26 more innocents. While on air, Manchin again voiced support for his pet gun control item — an expansion of background checks in response to the Sandy Hook attack.

Within an hour after his segment ended, Manchin received a phone call from Donald Trump. And while he did not divulge details of the call, he told NYT Mag reporter Robert Draper that he believes he has “a complete opportunity” to secure gun control under Trump.

Draper said Manchin believes his gun control has a chance it never had under Barack Obama because “no one thinks President Trump would do anything that would take away your gun rights.” The problem with this claim is that Manchin’s gun control — universal background checks- – cripples gun rights by coupling private sales with retail sales and forcing Americans to seek out an agent of the state for permission to conduct either kind of sale. Moreover, history — even recent history — has proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that universal background checks are insidious; they lead to more and more gun control and especially to a gun registry.

In fact, universal background checks cannot work without a gun registry. Think about it — how can the government be sure no guns are changing hands privately unless they know where every gun is and the name of everyone who owns it? This is exactly why the implementation of universal background checks in California has been followed by gun registration requirements. Moreover, it is why more and more gun controls that involve paperwork continue to be passed in that state; the hope is to discover guns that have not made it onto the state database of gun owners yet.

The newly passed background checks for ammunition purchases is one way California is broadening the paper trail. Someone who may have a gun they got from their grandfather — a gun that has no paper trail at all — can eventually be found when he goes to buy ammunition and has to go through the background check system Californians go through for every gun sale. It is a constricting circle, and it is the very circle Manchin has been pushing for all Americans since January 2013.

One more problem with Manchin’s universal background checks — they have nothing to do with the attack on Sandy Hook. As noted above, the Sandy Hook attacker stole his guns. In fact, even Manchin admitted his universal background checks would not have stopped the attack had they been in place. Manchin made this admission during the April 14, 2013, airing CBS News’s Face the Nation.

Manchin is a Democrat from a pro-gun, red state that President Trump won handily. He is pushing gun control, and West Virginians need to remember he is up for re-election in 2018.

AWR Hawkins is the Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and host of Bullets with AWR Hawkins, a Breitbart News podcast. He is also the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at


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