Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

April 11, 2013

Senators propose gun solution

Manchin, Toomey amendment is bipartisan approach to gun control

By BILL ARCHER
Bluefield Daily Telegraph

WASHINGTON — U.S. Senator Joe Manchin III, D-W.Va., and his conservative colleague from across the political aisle, U.S. Senator Pat Toomey, R-Pa., hope that the amendment they announced on Wednesday — the Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights Protection Act — will provide a commonsense solution to the gun control debate raging in the U.S.

Manchin, a long-time supporter of the rights of gun owners, said that he and Toomey worked out the details of the amendment that would replace the amendment that U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., offered as part of U.S. Senator Harry Reid’s gun control package.

During a telephonic press conference with the West Virginia press, Manchin said that he could not support Schumer’s amendment, but he said that the other components of Reid’s bill — the school safety and anti-gun trafficking parts — combined with the amendment he and Toomey introduced make Reid’s bill acceptable.

“This strengthens and protects law-abiding citizens’ second amendment rights,” Manchin told the West Virginia press.

Manchin encouraged the state press to review the “fact sheet” related to the amendment that he distributed just prior to the press conference. According to the bullet points in the fact sheet, the amendment won’t infringe on any citizen’s Second Amendment rights to keep and bear arms; won’t “take away anyone’s guns,” “will not ban any type of firearm,” “will not ban or restrict the use of any kind of bullet or any size clip or magazine,” and “will not create a national registry; in fact, it explicitly prohibits it.”

He explained that the amendment still permits transfer of guns between family, friends and neighbors without background checks. “You can give or sell a gun to your brother, your neighbor, your co-worker without a background check,” he said. “You can post a gun for sale on the bulletin board at your church.”

In response to a question about enforcing the amendment pertaining to purchases from non-registered dealers at gun shows, Manchin said that the sale will have to go through a lawful dealer. “If you break the law, it’s a felony,” Manchin said. “I don’t think anyone who enjoys guns would want to do that.”

Manchin said that the amendment he and Toomey advanced will be added today, and could be up for passage next week. “We’re very hopeful this bill has the votes to pass,” Manchin said.

— Contact Bill Archer at barcher@bdtonline.com