Sen. Joe Manchin III struck an optimistic tone on Thursday despite the defeat of a bitterly fought measure that would expand background checks on certain gun sales.
“This was a bill that was crafted by many people,” Mr. Manchin, West Virginia Democrat, told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “It was a balanced bill. … This was not President Obama’s bill.”
The background check amendment, sponsored by Mr. Manchin, West Virginia Democrat, and, Sen. Patrick Toomey, Pennsylvania Republican, would have expanded instant checks to all Internet and gun show sales, but would have exempted in-person private sales. Law requires all sales by federally licensed dealers to undergo checks, regardless of how they are made.
President Obama angrily decried senators who opposed the measure on Wednesday in a 54-46 vote that fell short of the 60 vote needed for approval under the rules of debate.
Mr. Manchin said opponents spread many untruths about his bill, including that it would set up a gun registry and disrupt certain types of sales among family members.
“If you’ve got to sell a gun on the Internet to your cousin, than you need to check your family relationship,” he told the program.
Mr. Manchin said the fight over the measure is not over, despite disgust among gun control advocates with the slate of Republicans and four Democratic senators who voted against the measure.
“If they want to blame someone, blame me,” he said, noting he tried to protect the Second Amendment and law-abiding gun owners.
“Joe, we’re going to win this thing, these are good people. Heidi Heitkamp is my friend,” he added, referring to the North Dakota Democrat who voted against the measure.
The vote was the first major showdown since the Dec. 14 shooting in Newtown, Conn., which left 20 schoolchildren and six faculty dead. The tragedy re-energized what had been a slumbering gun control movement.