Manchin backpedals on gun control after constitutents confront him

posted at 8:31 am on January 24, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

Remember the summer of 2009?  Members of Congress came home to hold town-hall meetings as usual in August, part of their annual listening-tour strategy to keep incumbents in favor back in home states and districts.  When voters started showing up in droves to berate these Senators and Representatives over ObamaCare, however, the town-hall meetings started getting canceled, and those that did continue made for great moments on YouTube — especially the declaration from former US Representative Baron Hill (D-IN), who declared that no one could tape the meeting because he didn’t want it to end up on YouTube [update: video fixed]:

This is my town hall meeting, and I set the rules. I’ve had these rules — [booing] — Uh, let me repeat that one more time. This is my town-hall meeting for you. And you’re not going to tell me how to run my Congressional office. Now, the reason why I don’t allow filming is because usually the films that are done end up on YouTube in a compromising position.

The town-hall scolding has come back in style, at least in West Virginia, according to the New York Times.  Senator Joe Manchin visited the home folks last week in a forum that should have been more friendly — a meeting of “businessmen and community leaders” in Beckley.  Nevertheless, the group gave Manchin an earful over his professed support for Barack Obama’s gun-control legislation:

Despite his best attempts to reassure them — “I see no movement, no talk, no bills, no nothing” — they remained skeptical. “We give up our rights one piece at a time,” a banker named Charlie Houck told the senator. …

And on the afternoon the 15 residents met with Mr. Manchin in the conference room of a local arts center, they told him that going after guns and ammunition capacity would be much like banning box cutters after the Sept. 11 attacks, or limiting whiskey and six-pack sales to cure alcoholism.

“It takes about a second and a half to change a clip,” said Frank Jezioro, a former special agent with the Office of Naval Intelligence and now director of the state Division of Natural Resources.

Mr. Jezioro likened gunmen in mass shootings to suicide bombers: they will always find a way. “A guy can walk through this door right here with your Beretta five-shot automatic, and cut the barrel off at 16 inches, and put five double-ought buckshots in there and kill everybody in here in a matter of seconds,” he said. “And you don’t have to aim it.”

And it had its intended impact:

As a hunter with an A rating from the National Rifle Association, Mr. Manchin gave advocates for new weapons laws reason for optimism after he said last month that gun firepower and magazine capacity might need to be limited.

But now, Mr. Manchin, who affirmed his support for gun rights by running a campaign commercial in 2010 showing him firing a rifle into an environmental bill, says he is not so sure. One of his local offices has been picketed, and even some of his most thoughtful supporters are cautioning him that stronger background checks are about all the gun control they can stomach.

And Manchin doesn’t have to run for re-election next year, like a number of Democrats in the Senate do.  The NYT mentions Jean Shaheen (D-NH), whose state produces Rugers and Sig Sauers.  There’s also Kay Hagan of North Carolina, who has to be rather cognizant of the Democratic collapse in her state last November.  Survey USA polled voters in North Carolina on the gun-control issue, and found that 54% believe it’s more important to protect the right to own weapons than to restrict access to them.  While there is some support for limiting magazine capacities, almost two-thirds (63%) want better enforcement of existing legislation rather than new laws.  In a multi-answer question, a large plurality said that better security (41%) would better address school shootings, while only 18% chose making access to guns more difficult.  Almost the same percentage (16%) chose better access to mental-health resources.

The Obama gun-control package will go nowhere, especially if these red-state Democrats go home and start talking to constituents.


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The Blue Dog is back?

Mr. Arrogant on January 24, 2013 at 8:34 AM

A pandering politician with no real convictions. Shocking.

Flange on January 24, 2013 at 8:35 AM

yes, and those town halls about obamacare worked miracles in stopping it….

mittens on January 24, 2013 at 8:36 AM

Mr. Jezioro likened gunmen in mass shootings to suicide bombers: they will always find a way. “A guy can walk through this door right here with your Beretta five-shot automatic, and cut the barrel off at 16 inches, and put five double-ought buckshots in there and kill everybody in here in a matter of seconds,” he said. “And you don’t have to aim it.”

Well said. But then again most libs don’t listen to intelligent arguments.

chalkoutline on January 24, 2013 at 8:37 AM

Learn your place, Joe.

thebrokenrattle on January 24, 2013 at 8:39 AM

Keep voting Democrat. This is what you get.

Philly on January 24, 2013 at 8:40 AM

Shot himself in the foot, did he?

coldwarrior on January 24, 2013 at 8:40 AM

Mans chin got socked, and now hes backpedalling in a hurry. Gun control is a dead issue. If the dems push for it, ’14 would look like ’10 on steroids.

tommy71 on January 24, 2013 at 8:41 AM

The Obama gun-control package will go nowhere, especially if these red-state Democrats go home and start talking to constituents.

Wish I could say the same for MD…

Gatsu on January 24, 2013 at 8:42 AM

Isn’t today the day that Diane Feinstein introduces her Federal gun control bill..?

d1carter on January 24, 2013 at 8:45 AM

All those Dems will be re-elected. Every one. You only see these stories on Conservative blogs. Yes, Kay and Jean. Two women Senators. Not holding my breath after the 11/12 election fiasco that they’ll exactly be tossed out.

Marcus on January 24, 2013 at 8:46 AM

Joe Biden is going to Richmond Virginia on Friday along with Tim Kaine to convince Virginians they need more gun control. Maybe its time for those who value the 2nd amendment, the first bastion of defense for our other freedoms, to either form a 2nd Amendment coalition or join forces with the existing Tea Party and get rid of these Democrats in favor of stripping us of our rights. This issue may be far more important than Obamacare ever was.

Virginia has two Senators who pretend they are moderate when it’s time for the elections but turn rabidly liberal once in office – Mark Warner and Tim Kaine.

iamsaved on January 24, 2013 at 8:46 AM

yes, and those town halls about obamacare worked miracles in stopping it….

mittens on January 24, 2013 at 8:36 AM

It cost them dearly in 2010 though. Unfortunately a majority of electorate seemed to develop amnesia last year when they rewarded Obama and the Senate Dems despite claiming to pollsters that they didn’t want any part of the health care law.

Doughboy on January 24, 2013 at 8:48 AM

heh. the townhall scolding.

our representatives do not listen to us. that is quite apparent. they give the faux veneer of having “listened” and then they do what they was going to do anyway.

ted c on January 24, 2013 at 8:51 AM

In a way it’s sad how pols just jump back and forth on everything, just goes to show how poorly we are represented by people who only want to stay in office at any cost.

Bishop on January 24, 2013 at 8:52 AM

almost two-thirds (63%) want better enforcement of existing legislation rather than new laws.

This is really the bottom line of the liberal agenda on any issue. Willfully decide not to enforce existing laws creating the illusion that the current laws are not effective for the times and that additional laws are needed. The outcome as we well know is further restriction of rights. Of course, there is the other category of legislation which one could call the “pass it to see what’s in it law” that is so poorly designed that the government must pass more laws to correct the problems as they arise. This creates confusion as the rules are constantly changing. This also serves the liberal agenda very well.

DaveDief on January 24, 2013 at 8:52 AM

Isn’t today the day that Diane Feinstein introduces her Federal gun control bill..?

d1carter on January 24, 2013 at 8:45 AM

Yessir, it is. So if you haven’t gotten a supply of barrel shrouds socked away in the basement then you better hurry.

Bishop on January 24, 2013 at 8:53 AM

What I don’t understand is why Manchin wouldn’t just turn coat and switch to R in exchange for an agreement not to primary him for a term. He is certainly to the right of some Republican Senators, and his reelection worries would instantly be cured.

Archivarix on January 24, 2013 at 8:55 AM

As I said in the headlines thread, I think Manchin’s wobbliness on this will get Shelly Moore Capito the other Sentate seat.

West Virginians will not tolerate the infringement of their 2nd Amendment rights, and Manchin was all for it until he got called on it (and we all know he WILL vote for it if Obama needs him). Perhaps this will finally clear the fog protecting “conservative” democrats in this state.

wildcat72 on January 24, 2013 at 8:56 AM

Cabelas and Rocky Mt Elk Foundation both have removed their organizations from a large outdoor show in Penn after the promoter banned the showing of and literature for so called assault weapons and large cap mags. They feel it infringes on the 2nd amendment, rightly so, and have asked customers and members to let their congress critters know what they believe about it. If we don’t put a stop to this right now, Zero will win and we’ll be left defenseless. He wants to do the same thing to the military which will leave us all less protected in an increasingly unstable world situation. Benghazi anyone?

Kissmygrits on January 24, 2013 at 8:56 AM

heh. the townhall scolding.

our representatives do not listen to us. that is quite apparent. they give the faux veneer of having “listened” and then they do what they was going to do anyway.

ted c on January 24, 2013 at 8:51 AM

This is why the right to recall Senators, Congressmen, Judges, and, yes, even the President needs to be amended into the Constitution, so that there is another check on the judiciary and so that politicians can’t LIE about what they are going to do to get elected, then get 2, 4, 6 years to run counter to the People with impunity.

wildcat72 on January 24, 2013 at 8:59 AM

I live in the largest school district here in NC (Wake County) and our D-controlled school board tried to get a measure passed that would put unarmed security guards in all elementary schools at a cost of $2 million. The guards would control access to the front door and monitor security cameras. I see them as fodder for a determined psycho. As we saw at Sandy Hook, someone bent on getting into a school will do whatever he can to gain access. Never mind that most schools have mobile units in the back, so doors are kept unlocked there to allow access to/from the main building. Thankfully there was so much outcry the school board decided to further ‘study’ the proposal.

ConservativeMom on January 24, 2013 at 9:00 AM

…that man is always mining for his testicles!

KOOLAID2 on January 24, 2013 at 9:01 AM

Gee, WV, you could have just elected Raese and never had to worry about this.

crrr6 on January 24, 2013 at 9:03 AM

This is why the right to recall Senators, Congressmen, Judges, and, yes, even the President needs to be amended into the Constitution, so that there is another check on the judiciary and so that politicians can’t LIE about what they are going to do to get elected, then get 2, 4, 6 years to run counter to the People with impunity.

wildcat72 on January 24, 2013 at 8:59 AM

…so they can disregard it?
What is the Constitution nowadays?

KOOLAID2 on January 24, 2013 at 9:04 AM

“I can take my A.R.,” Mr. Johnson said, referring to his assault rifle..”

No, dumbass Manhattanite reporter, it’s not an assault rifle, and A.R. doesn’t stand for assault rifle. It’s AR.
Stupid.

juliesa on January 24, 2013 at 9:07 AM

House Democrats Propose Opening Gun Manufacturers to Civil Liability

Because, you know, consumers have no idea that guns are dangerous.

Democrats: Always say they’re pro-second-amendment when there’s absolutely no other choice.

Socratease on January 24, 2013 at 9:09 AM

Despite his best attempts to reassure them — “I see no movement, no talk, no bills, no nothing” — they remained skeptical. “We give up our rights one piece at a time,” a banker named Charlie Houck told the senator. …

Well then those folks in Beckley should either be celebrating Manchin’s revival from a coma or calling him out for the liar he is.

In the month or so since the atrocity at Sandy Hook Elementary there has been a movement attempting to power public anti-gun sentiment on the bodies of those twenty tiny victims. How evil people like Sarah Brady, Gabby Giffords and their groups can live with themselves is beyond my understanding.

There has been plenty of talk about banning stuff. The rat-eared wonder just signed out a slew of “Executive Actions” designed at thwarting private gun ownership. He’s called on Congress to re-institute the so-called assault weapons ban.

There have been plenty of bills at the local, state, and national level. Feinstein is introducing a decidedly anti-Second Amendment bill today.

The vocabulary of the left has even changed from gun-control to gun violence prevention.

In short- Manchin is nothing but a filthy liar.

Happy Nomad on January 24, 2013 at 9:29 AM

Townhall meetings, where politicians bring their portable spine.

hillsoftx on January 24, 2013 at 9:35 AM

yes, and those town halls about obamacare worked miracles in stopping it….

mittens on January 24, 2013 at 8:36 AM

We could not stop Obamacare because the democrats had super majorities in the House and the Senate… We only had 39 Senators back then not enough for a filibuster… It is not the case today… We control the House and we can filibuster in the Senate… Gun Control is going nowhere…

mnjg on January 24, 2013 at 9:45 AM

A pandering democrat politician with no real convictions. Shocking.

Flange on January 24, 2013 at 8:35 AM

More to the point.

/yes, the republicans have their share, but the democrats have not a single example of one with any convictions unless they are strong Marxist convictions; and they have to hide those with obfuscation and doublespeak.

AZfederalist on January 24, 2013 at 9:56 AM

All that’s nice and dandy, but where we’re going to get creamed — unless we get our focus where it needs to be!!!! — is at the state level. CT is getting ready to put together a buy-partison [sic] bill which is going to be rammed through, and anyone who opposes will be evil(tm), want-to-kill-kids(tm), selfish(tm) and the like.

Gun control is going somewhere: to a state house near you (if you live in a blue state).

FiveG on January 24, 2013 at 9:57 AM

While there is some support for limiting magazine capacities, almost two-thirds (63%) want better enforcement of existing legislation rather than new laws.

And Obama isn’t enforcing them. Because he’s an insidious and seditious POS who wants MORE gun crime and MORE massacres.

rrpjr on January 24, 2013 at 10:03 AM

House Democrats Propose Opening Gun Manufacturers to Civil Liability

Because, you know, consumers have no idea that guns are dangerous.

Democrats: Always say they’re pro-second-amendment when there’s absolutely no other choice.

Socratease on January 24, 2013 at 9:09 AM

…..I guess next the “smartest people in the room” will propose civil liability against wine vineyards,Seagrams,Jack Daniels,Crown,and other liquor/spirits producers for the deaths attributed to alcohol…..
….Damn liberals are smart.

Democrats: Always say they’re pro-second-amendment when there’s absolutely no other choice.

…exactly.

Here in NC when Hagen was running (and when Obama ran)…..they specifically ran ads stating that “they would not be going after our guns”….”don’t listen to those lying Republicans…they’re only trying to scare you”….

…..now with the lies being exposed concerning Obamacare and how much it is costing people in this state…..unemployment still high….and the cost of living going through the roof….it would only be fitting that they make this gun grab to vindicate everything Republicans have been saying about them.
Hagen already has a tough road ahead….this would sink her a$$ for good.

Baxter Greene on January 24, 2013 at 10:13 AM

Allah says of Jon Stewart that he plays “clown nose on … clown nose off” to straddle the news/circus fence. Manchin does the same thing with his “I’m a conservative guy from West Virginia / No, I’m a liberal Democrat” crap.

Like Stewart, he’s a clown and doesn’t know it.

Jaibones on January 24, 2013 at 10:22 AM

Manchin is a tumbleweed. He’s going whichever way the wind is blowing.

mchristian on January 24, 2013 at 10:28 AM

I’m one of the folks involved in this discussion who believe words matter and can be effectively deployed to improve or lose our argument.

Just a stylebook suggestion…..

Obama’s proposals are not for limiting weapons, they are specific to firearms. A weapon is any item that can be purposed to cause harm to life or property. Weapons are ball point pens, hammers, umbrellas, forks, pillows, poisons, vehicles and so on. Firearms describe specific items: pistols, rifles, shotguns, Sherman tanks, etc…. I’ll leave archery gear open to debate on a definition basis.

The use of the word weapon has a broad negative connotation… Firearms makes more sense to people because they can visualize what you are discussing. For a great spokesperson on Firearms, I will refer you to Sean Hannity’s program from 0/18/2013 – the young lady who presented the differences between calibers was an extremely precise and effective speaker.

2nd Ammendment Mother on January 24, 2013 at 10:41 AM

One of his local offices has been picketed, and even some of his most thoughtful supporters are cautioning him that stronger background checks are about all the gun control they can stomach.

See how they slipped that in there? They foam at the mouth if a conservative tries to discuss education reform or whether a fetus is in fact human life, but anyone who doesn’t support more gun control clearly isn’t a “thoughtful supporter”.

That’s the liberal bias rich conservatives need to buy out and shut down.

Daemonocracy on January 24, 2013 at 10:52 AM

Daemonocracy on January 24, 2013 at 10:52 AM

They don’t see it as bias, they see it as a statement of fact.

Washington Nearsider on January 24, 2013 at 10:54 AM

And Manchin doesn’t have to run for re-election next year, like a number of Democrats in the Senate do. The NYT mentions Jean Shaheen (D-NH), whose state produces Rugers and Sig Sauers.

Why did I always think Sig Sauer was a German gun…?

JohnGalt23 on January 24, 2013 at 11:00 AM

And as soon as he gets back inside the Beltway, he’ll go back to being “reasonable” on this issue.

Hucklebuck on January 24, 2013 at 11:02 AM

Yessir, it is. So if you haven’t gotten a supply of barrel shrouds socked away in the basement then you better hurry.

Bishop on January 24, 2013 at 8:53 AM

You mean those things that flip up and go over your shoulder???

climbnjump on January 24, 2013 at 11:06 AM

Gun control is a dead issue. If the dems push for it, ’14 would look like ’10 on steroids.

tommy71 on January 24, 2013 at 8:41 AM

Yep.

Which is why in MINNY conservatives should be pushing Franken and Walz and Peterson and Nolan to fight for gun control.

This is the perfect divide and conquer vehicle, but the GOP is to timid and stupid to go Alinsky with it.

Which is why they lose.

Bruno Strozek on January 24, 2013 at 11:10 AM

We could not stop Obamacare because the democrats had super majorities in the House and the Senate… We only had 39 Senators back then not enough for a filibuster… It is not the case today… We control the House and we can filibuster in the Senate… Gun Control is going nowhere…

mnjg on January 24, 2013 at 9:45 AM

Perhaps so on the Federal level, but that will be of small comfort to the folks in New York who have already been hit with new regulations at the state level. And there will be other states that will try to follow.

climbnjump on January 24, 2013 at 11:11 AM

Gun Control is going nowhere…

Gun control is going to the campaign. The Dems know they can’t pass it, but that’s not their plan. The plan is to make Republicans kill the bill and then demonize them in 2014 as child killers.

This isn’t about saving kids, it’s about saving the jobs of Democrat politicians.

Socratease on January 24, 2013 at 11:26 AM

Socratease on January 24, 2013 at 11:26 AM

The GOP is going to demonized as the “horrible evil monster of the week” anyway.

I they were smart they would realize that fact and plan and act accordingly.

But they won’t.

Bruno Strozek on January 24, 2013 at 11:38 AM

Whatever the moron Democrat voters want to hear, on any given day, is exactly what Democrat politicians will tell them. Then, the moron Democrat voters will say, “OK”.

cajunpatriot on January 24, 2013 at 11:47 AM

This guy was willing to strip The Second Amendment to please the press. Not a stalwart defender of liberty, is he?

pat on January 24, 2013 at 11:54 AM

The Obama gun-control package will go nowhere

.

Says the “Establishment” blogger.

I’ll remain hopefully optimistic…but I wouldn’t bet the house, skippy.

Tim_CA on January 24, 2013 at 11:56 AM

Manchin backpedals

It will be good for his cardio.

Bmore on January 24, 2013 at 12:36 PM

The real problem not only with gun control is that 99% of the federal government and state government and all of their employees have this same attitude.

“And you’re not going to tell me how to run my Congressional office”

It is time that the people tell these people that yes we do have the right to tell you what to do, no if’s and’s or but’s.

Pomai on January 24, 2013 at 12:51 PM

It cost them dearly in 2010 though. Unfortunately a majority of electorate seemed to develop amnesia last year when they rewarded Obama and the Senate Dems despite claiming to pollsters that they didn’t want any part of the health care law.

Doughboy on January 24, 2013 at 8:48 AM

It wasn ‘t the voters who had amnesia. It was amnesia on the part of the GOP that couldn’t quite remember who it was that gave them control of the House.

ddrintn on January 24, 2013 at 12:53 PM

Manchin was just re-elected in 2012. He has time to recover. But his counterpart, Jay Rockefeller announced his retirement. He will very likely be replaced by a Repub, Shelly Capito

My father-in-law hates the NRA, claiming their money yields too much influence. I disagree. It’s not their money. It’s their members, who vote. They also tell all their friends who have not ponied up the $$. I seriously doubt Manchin will vote for any gun control measures, except possibly on background checks for the mentally ill. He knows where is his bread is buttered.

humdinger on January 24, 2013 at 1:02 PM

Dear Senator Feinstein and other Marxist Senatorial Rabble,
Just a short misive to let you know how happy I am to see that you meant what you said about commiting treason and violating my Devine Right to self defense.
Should your bill become law, you will have made me a happy criminal; for I will not register my weapons, nor be photographed or fingerprinted to claim my Devine Right.
Since you make me a happy criminal, I may as well convert my weapons to full-auto capability and join with the 3.5 million like-minded happy Patriots (the 3%) who will do their best to end your treasonous regime and return us to a happier time when the words of the Constitution meant something.
So dear Senator, I suggest you give serious thought to the unintended consequences of your actions and make sure your bug-out place is well stocked. You wouldn’t want to run out of good wine and toilet paper while the 2nd War for Independence is in progress.
It may take a while.
III/0317

dirtengineer on January 24, 2013 at 1:52 PM