Manchin: I oppose the assault-weapons ban

posted at 9:21 am on February 12, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

Joe Manchin shocked nearly no one in this declaration yesterday on MSNBC, except for maybe the few who watch the channel live.  Manchin is the epitome of the conflict that red-state Senate Democrats will have to manage when it comes to gun control legislation.  Manchin won his seat in part by attacking cap-and-trade and defending gun rights in the same ad, famously using a rifle to put a round through a copy of the cap-and-trade bill.  No one expected Manchin to vote for Dianne Feinstein’s bill in the first place:

Speaking on MSNBC, Manchin, who has an “A” rating from the National Rifle Association and in December called for federal action to reduce gun violence, said he thinks there’s a better way to reduce mass shootings without introducing new restrictions for gun owners.

“I do not support an assault weapon ban because the definition of assault weapon is still hard to come by,” Manchin said. “So I am not going to comment on people’s legislation. I do not support that approach right now.”

Instead, the West Virginia Democrats is hoping to craft something that actually has a chance of passage:

Manchin is part of a quartet of legislators working to tighten background checks required to purchase a gun. The other members of the group are Sens. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), and Tom Coburn (R-Okla.).

Another member of the Senate Democrat caucus not from a red state sounded like a “no” on Sunday, The Hill notes:

On Sunday Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) said he was “skeptical” of a new assault weapons ban.

“You can take exactly the same mechanics of a gun and change the stock from a wooden stock to a folding stock and put something on the barrel, and suddenly it meets the definition of an assault weapon,” King said. “It doesn’t shoot faster, further, anything else.”

You noticed?  The term “assault weapon” is meaningless for that reason.  All of the rifles on the list have one thing in common with every other rifle that can be legally sold to and possessed by civilians without a special license — they fire one bullet at a time.  The definition of “assault weapon” relies strictly on aesthetics, and is a nonsense term.  And murder victims by all rifles constitute such a small number of overall murder victims (~3%) that the proposal is unserious almost by definition.

Update: I apologize; the bill that Manchin shot was cap-and-trade, not ObamaCare.  Thanks to Resist We Much in the comments for the correction.  I’ve fixed it above.


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The definition of “assault weapon” relies strictly on aesthetics, and is a nonsense term. And murder victims by all rifles constitute such a small number of overall murder victims (~3%) that the proposal is unserious almost by definition.

The folks up on The Hill are unserious people. Start with that axiom and you can never go wrong.

gryphon202 on February 12, 2013 at 9:25 AM

Manchin won his seat in part by attacking ObamaCare cap-n-trade bill and defending gun rights in the same ad, famously using a rifle to put a round through a copy of the ACA cap-n-trade bill.

FIFY. ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

“As your senator, I’ll protect our Second Amendment rights. That’s why the NRA endorsed me. I’ll take on Washington and this administration to get the federal government off of our backs and out of our pockets. I’ll cut federal spending, and I’ll repeal the bad parts of ObamaCare. I sued the EPA, and I’ll take dead aim at the cap and trade bill cause it’s bad for West Virginia.”

- Gov. Joe Manchin

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2010/10/11/wv-sen_manchin_ad_dead_aim.html

Resist We Much on February 12, 2013 at 9:26 AM

We need an assault-knife ban.

Akzed on February 12, 2013 at 9:29 AM

Wouldn’t it be nice for the good people of WV to have a Senator who actually held some strong Constitutional beliefs of his own? They should name this fool “Windsock Manchin”!

inspectorudy on February 12, 2013 at 9:31 AM

Being against the assault weapons ban won’t mean anything if universal background check legislation turns into a universal registration law.

ButterflyDragon on February 12, 2013 at 9:31 AM

Before he was very pro-fascist; now he is very anti-fascist.

Right.

claudius on February 12, 2013 at 9:33 AM

We need an assault-reporter ban. Their rapid-fire lies are ruining the country.

Liam on February 12, 2013 at 9:34 AM

Those folks in WV must have had a sit down with Joe.

Bmore on February 12, 2013 at 9:36 AM

Resist We Much on February 12, 2013 at 9:26 AM

I became a tweeter last night. You, I’m following. Lol! Tweet me, so I’ll know what its like. I’ve never been tweeted. ; )

Bmore on February 12, 2013 at 9:38 AM

Update: I apologize; the bill that Manchin shot was cap-and-trade, not ObamaCare. Thanks to Resist We Much in the comments for the correction. I’ve fixed it above.

I’ve long thought that RWM needs a spot in the Green Room.

Difficultas_Est_Imperium on February 12, 2013 at 9:39 AM

I became a tweeter last night. You, I’m following. Lol! Tweet me, so I’ll know what its like. I’ve never been tweeted. ; )

Bmore on February 12, 2013 at 9:38 AM

You have NO idea how perverse that sounded… LOL

Liam on February 12, 2013 at 9:39 AM

This is what happens when someone actually READS a proposed bill.
Shame it took them so long to learn that.

Jabberwock on February 12, 2013 at 9:41 AM

I became a tweeter last night. You, I’m following. Lol! Tweet me, so I’ll know what its like. I’ve never been tweeted. ; )

Bmore on February 12, 2013 at 9:38 AM

Good morning. I’m now following both you & RWM. :)

22044 on February 12, 2013 at 9:41 AM

I went to college in Maine, and lived there for 10 years afterward, so I am not surprised at Angus King’s statement. Mainers are very pro second amendment.

Vermont, the state that elected socialist Bernie Saunders is, I believe, the only state that allows concealed carry without a license. New Hampshire isn’t far off.

Except for the tightening of background checks, none of this proposed legislation will go anywhere.

Mr. Arkadin on February 12, 2013 at 9:42 AM

“Hey cuz, can’t take the hit job, ’cause the Feds gotta check my background”…

They truly believe this is going to make a difference…life must be insufferable walking around with a Lib’s pea brain…

hillsoftx on February 12, 2013 at 9:44 AM

The term Assault Rifle” or “Assault Weapon” is ridiculous. All Weapons are Defense Weapons! (Just ask Mr. kalashnikov).

gullxn on February 12, 2013 at 9:45 AM

Does anyone but me suspect that the assault weapons ban was never intended to pass, but was supposed to give everyone a red herring to focus on? That way, Senators like Manchin can appear to be supporting the 2nd Amendment by opposing something “outrageous” like the assault weapons ban, and then come to the table with something far more “reasonable” like universal background checks. I mean, who could disagree with background checks?

The problem is that I see nothing in the enumerated powers granted to the federal government by the Constitution that empowers them to get involved in gun ownership at all. What authority do they have to establish universal background checks? And even though we all agree that convicted felons and the mentally ill should not own guns, where does the federal government even get that power?

You could argue that the interstate commerce clause at least allows them to regulate gun sales across state lines. But even then, we have the language of the 2nd Amendment which would seem to trump that, in that it says “shall not be infringed.” It doesn’t say “shall not be infringed unless you’re potentially dangerous.” It is very absolute in its language. No infringement permissible what-so-ever.

Now if the states want to institute background checks, fine by me. If they want to take steps to ensure the mentally ill do not get guns, fine. But the federal government has no such power.

Shump on February 12, 2013 at 9:48 AM

Being against the assault weapons ban won’t mean anything if universal background check legislation turns into a universal registration law.

ButterflyDragon on February 12, 2013 at 9:31 AM

Right, an assault weapons ban is peanuts compared to background check legislation that enables universal gun registration.

petefrt on February 12, 2013 at 9:48 AM

Liam on February 12, 2013 at 9:39 AM

I know, just saying the tweety words makes me laugh. Hoping that it will subside soon. Or not. ; )

22044 on February 12, 2013 at 9:41 AM

I still don’t quite get it. I just wanted to tweet Flora, so I signed up. I need to watch some, how to what to tweet vids, on youtube. Not sure if I will even make use of it. Just had no other way of reaching out to Flora. ; )

Bmore on February 12, 2013 at 9:49 AM

22044 on February 12, 2013 at 9:41 AM

22044, you can tweet me too. ; )

Bmore on February 12, 2013 at 9:50 AM

Does anyone but me suspect that the assault weapons ban was never intended to pass, but was supposed to give everyone a red herring to focus on? That way, Senators like Manchin can appear to be supporting the 2nd Amendment by opposing something “outrageous” like the assault weapons ban, and then come to the table with something far more “reasonable” like universal background checks. I mean, who could disagree with background checks?

Shump on February 12, 2013 at 9:48 AM

Suspect it? I’d bet 10:1 on it.

petefrt on February 12, 2013 at 9:51 AM

How about Project Exile?

golfer1 on February 12, 2013 at 9:54 AM

They truly believe this is going to make a difference…life must be insufferable walking around with a Lib’s pea brain…

hillsoftx on February 12, 2013 at 9:44 AM

Tightening background checks on law-abiding citizens is an easy thing to do that makes it appear that they are acting on the manufactured crisis of gun violence.

The fact of the matter is that any real reform is slow and involves cultural changes that puts the left in the uncomfortable position of taking inner-city blacks and Hispanics to task for their gang mentality, turf/drug wars, and lack of stable families. That’s hard to do when you belong to a party whose position is that every minority is a hard working underdog. It’s also what makes the left’s position so offensive. They only acted when 20 little white children were killed by a mentally unstable individual in an affluent CT suburb. Yet they have done nothing about the inner-city shootings that have been going on for decades. Mooch only went to that 15-year-old’s funeral last weekend because the administration was shamed into making the pretense to care about gang warfare and the innocent victims who get in the way.

Happy Nomad on February 12, 2013 at 9:54 AM

22044, you can tweet me too. ; )

Bmore on February 12, 2013 at 9:50 AM

Cool Bmore, I don’t normally send direct messages on Twitter but I should learn how to do that. Maybe I’ll send one to Flora too. :)

22044 on February 12, 2013 at 9:55 AM

“I do not support an assault weapon ban because the definition of assault weapon is still hard to come by,” Manchin said. “So I am not going to comment on people’s legislation. I do not support that approach right now.”

I think you’re giving him too much credit in saying that he’s against banning any weapons that would fall within Feinstein’s current definition. He doesn’t want to theoretically weigh in on a bill that hasn’t been fully crafted yet. He doesn’t want to get stuck facing the WV electorate’s wrath if Feinstein does a bait-and-switch and makes the measures more restrictive. Since we know that “assault weapon” is a meaningless term, Manchin’s statement would be analogous to refusing to support a vague law that says it’s illegal to “be a bad person” without providing any guidance as to what “being a bad person” entails. He’s protecting himself from the far left on this one.

blammm on February 12, 2013 at 9:56 AM

I love how “tighening background checks” has become the phrase-of-the-day around DC and the media. As if that would have changed anything vis-a-vis Newtown or any random night in Chicago.

Bitter Clinger on February 12, 2013 at 9:58 AM

Ultimately, you have to ask yourself …

How does this change in law help stop another Sandy Hook ?

Most of the measures before Congress and the state legislatures don’t.

J_Crater on February 12, 2013 at 10:00 AM

Being against the assault weapons ban won’t mean anything if universal background check legislation turns into a universal registration law.

ButterflyDragon on February 12, 2013 at 9:31 AM

I find it hard to see how it wouldn’t become a de facto registration law. And let’s remember that the shooter that killed that 15-year-old in Obama’s Chicago neighborhood was not only breaking the law by having a gun in the city but it is pretty certain that he wasn’t ever subjected to background checks, mandatory training, magazine limitations, or trigger guards before he got it. Any of this legislation does nothing to solve the underlying problems. It simply harrasses the law-abiding exercising their Second Amendment rights to keep and bear arms.

Happy Nomad on February 12, 2013 at 10:01 AM

Ultimately, you have to ask yourself …

How does this change in law help stop another Sandy Hook ?

Most of the measures before Congress and the state legislatures don’t.

J_Crater on February 12, 2013 at 10:00 AM

More to your point, how would anything have stopped Dorner? He’s liberal, anti-gun, yet running around with weapons and a desire to kill. The existing laws aren’t stopping him, and everyone except libs knows tighter or newer one won’t, either. Instead, DiFi tells people the way to stop him is they all should surrender their guns to police to help Dorner ‘calm down’.

Liam on February 12, 2013 at 10:05 AM

blammm on February 12, 2013 at 9:56 AM

I wish one of these idiots looking to make new laws was cornered and asked just what laws would have prevented the shooting at Sandy Hook, Aurora, or Tucson (just to name three incidents). Why the need to harrass law-abiding citizens and infringe on their civil rights because of mentally disturbed individuals? And make no mistake, all of the three shooters were known to have mental/emotional issues.

And the fact of the matter is that background checks are not going to prevent these individuals from getting weapons. They will either steal them or HIPPA laws will prevent them to be included in the information available to whatever federal bureaucrat gets to decide whether one passes a universal background check.

Happy Nomad on February 12, 2013 at 10:10 AM

Let’s ban Criminals instead! More Laws is not the answer.
Criminals don’t care about Laws – that’s why they are Criminals!

gullxn on February 12, 2013 at 10:10 AM

“I do not support an assault weapon ban because the definition of assault weapon is still hard to come by,” Manchin said. “So I am not going to comment on people’s legislation. I do not support that approach right now.”

These are the weasel words of an unprincipled opportunist who will stab us in the back if he thinks he can benefit politically.

Instead, the West Virginia Democrats is hoping to craft something that actually has a chance of passage:

Manchin is part of a quartet of legislators working to tighten background checks required to purchase a gun. The other members of the group are Sens. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), and Tom Coburn (R-Okla.).

This shows where his true allegiance lies. He’s a gun grabber under the skin.

single stack on February 12, 2013 at 10:13 AM

More to your point, how would anything have stopped Dorner?

Liam on February 12, 2013 at 10:05 AM

I refuse to give shooters the fame they crave by using their names but both the LA shooting and the Fort Hood shooting are really terrorist acts and not the same as the shootings at Sandy Hook or Tucson. The shooter in these two incidents had an agenda (personal retribution in LA and ideological dogma at Fort Hood), the victims were more than mere random targets of opportunity, and there was motive beyond getting attention.

Happy Nomad on February 12, 2013 at 10:16 AM

I’m not a resident of West Virginia, but I don’t trust this scum-sucking loser for one second. He’s a typical sleazy Democrat politician, and he’d ban all guns in a heartbeat if he thought it would further line his pockets. Screw him and all others – repub and democrat – that take such a squish line on this.

The Second Amendment GAURANTEES us the right to own whatever kind of arms we want, without condition. No negotiation. This slimebag is a traitor for even considering anything less than that. I hope the fine people of West Virginia flush this disgusting weasel down the toilet where he belongs.

WhatSlushfund on February 12, 2013 at 10:20 AM

Mr. Arkadin on February 12, 2013 at 9:42 AM

Arizona has allowed concealed carry without a permit since 2011.

chemman on February 12, 2013 at 10:23 AM

Happy Nomad on February 12, 2013 at 10:16 AM

True, the Piers Morgan Fan and Hasan are both terrorists, but the media will never use the term. We do know, however, if the guy running loose right now praised Rush, the MSM would be screaming about right-wing gun nuts and say this instance is ‘proof’ that big scary-looking boomsticks need to be banned.

Liam on February 12, 2013 at 10:25 AM

Shump on February 12, 2013 at 9:48 AM

There are a lot of felony laws that don’t involve violence. What you are saying is that someone caught up in the system and convicted of a felony loses all rights. Sorry but I have to disagree with you. Take the case of the 18 year old convicted of a sex crime felony for having sex with his 17 year old girl friend. You are basically saying he loses his rights to own a gun to defend himself from real crime.

chemman on February 12, 2013 at 10:29 AM

22044 on February 12, 2013 at 9:55 AM

Fixed up my look a bit. What do you think?

Bmore on February 12, 2013 at 10:34 AM

We do know, however, if the guy running loose right now praised Rush, the MSM would be screaming about right-wing gun nuts and say this instance is ‘proof’ that big scary-looking boomsticks need to be banned.

Liam on February 12, 2013 at 10:25 AM

But of course! The blood wasn’t even dry outside that Tucson Safeway before Democrats blamed the Tea Party and a Sarah Palin ad for the shooting by a deranged vet with PTSD (none of it true of course). The Aurora shooting saw NBC come up with a Facebook page listing a guy with the same name as the shooter being a member of the Tea Party movement and was reporting it as if the TPM was involved. And at Sandy Hook the agenda was a little different- the rush was to insist that we all cede our civil rights for the children (and if you disagree you are some sort of gun nut who must be silenced).

Happy Nomad on February 12, 2013 at 10:43 AM

Once they take control of the internet…all bets are off.

tomas on February 12, 2013 at 10:49 AM

Does anyone but me suspect that the assault weapons ban was never intended to pass, but was supposed to give everyone a red herring to focus on? That way, Senators like Manchin can appear to be supporting the 2nd Amendment by opposing something “outrageous” like the assault weapons ban, and then come to the table with something far more “reasonable” like universal background checks. I mean, who could disagree with background checks?

[Shump on February 12, 2013 at 9:48 AM]

No, I’m there with you and it isn’t a suspicion. I’m at hard cold reality. It’s like any other negotiation: go high, then compromise.

What I do suspect is that Manchin is a weasel:

“I do not support an assault weapon ban because the definition of assault weapon is still hard to come by,” Manchin said. “So I am not going to comment on people’s legislation. I do not support that approach right now.”

This is a tell and a rather inexcusable one for guy saying he supports the 2nd amendment. Manchin isn’t personally against banning these types of weapons. He’s against banning them using this approach, because it’s a loser for him. He’s a 2nd Amendment Bart Stupak and will go with any gun control that the Dems can get some popular support for, regardless of it’s efficacy in reducing the criminal use of guns.

Dusty on February 12, 2013 at 10:52 AM

Why is Ron Kirk still in office? I don’t care if he is GOP, no one has any business being in office after a stroke that took him a year to get back. He is not with full faculties no matter what he might think. Step aside, RINO.

AH_C on February 12, 2013 at 10:53 AM

Why is Ron Kirk still in office? I don’t care if he is GOP, no one has any business being in office after a stroke that took him a year to get back. He is not with full faculties no matter what he might think. Step aside, RINO.

AH_C on February 12, 2013 at 10:53 AM

Ron Kirk?

Look, Mark Kirk’s absence from the Senate is far more justifiable than Gabby Giffords essentially a vegetable even now and she was “in office” for her entire term and only came in once to vote for Obamacare. And if he were to step aside, that would be just one more Democrat in the Senate.

Happy Nomad on February 12, 2013 at 11:04 AM

Ultimately, you have to ask yourself …

How does this change in law help stop another Sandy Hook ?

Most of the measures before Congress and the state legislatures don’t.

J_Crater on February 12, 2013 at 10:00 AM

They don’t care.

I can point to statistics on FBI violence for metropolitan areas with strict gun control laws versus those without, and they don’t care. I can point out a similar event that happened a few weeks before Sandy Hook, where the assailant had an “assault rifle” and handguns but only shot two kids before being stopped by a teacher with a handgun (who had to go out to his car to get it)… but they don’t care.

When you disregard the facts and act in opposition to them, you are acting illogically and irrationally.

So here’s a better question…

Why are we allowing those who act illogically and irrationally to set national policy?

dominigan on February 12, 2013 at 11:07 AM

On Sunday Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) said he was “skeptical” of a new assault weapons ban.

Smart move for King. A lot of guns are made in Maine. All of Smith & Wesson’s handguns are made in their Houlton, Maine plant, and Windham Weaponry (all former Bushmaster people) makes AR-15s in Windham, Maine at the former Bushmaster plant. And there are several other companies operating up there.

dentarthurdent on February 12, 2013 at 11:09 AM

Right, an assault weapons ban is peanuts compared to background check legislation that enables universal gun registration.

petefrt on February 12, 2013 at 9:48 AM

All registration is a prelude to confiscation.
Right now they have no idea where most of our 300 million guns are.

Person-to-person background checks let them list where some are (they actually believe this means 40% of all gun transactions, which is another lie)
California required registration of military-look rifles and now is planning on DEMANDING the owners dispose of them (or, the Gubmint will come for them).
http://www.mercurynews.com/breaking-news/ci_22544460/californias-state-senate-democrats-roll-out-big-gun

HammerNH on February 12, 2013 at 11:15 AM

Manchin could not have purchased a powerful enough weapon to shoot through the 2000+ page Obamacare bill anyway… Or at least he won’t if Obama has his way…

supersport667 on February 12, 2013 at 11:26 AM

“Tightening background checks” is the euphemism for a national registry of firearms.

Incrementalism is the progressives bread and butter…

catmman on February 12, 2013 at 11:44 AM

Fixed up my look a bit. What do you think?

Bmore on February 12, 2013 at 10:34 AM

I just saw this, sorry.

I like your “wallpaper”.

Your profile picture is…interesting. :)

22044 on February 12, 2013 at 12:15 PM

FIFY. ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

Resist We Much on February 12, 2013 at 9:26 AM

Sorry about being late to the party, but can I “borrow” that?

Galt2009 on February 12, 2013 at 12:30 PM

This is even sneaker than an outright grab as it takes effect after we die and deprive out children of the right to protect themselves – completely evil!

rgranger on February 12, 2013 at 2:43 PM

His political life requires him to be against it.

TX-96 on February 12, 2013 at 3:54 PM