Sen. Joe Manchin III, West Virginia Democrat, has remained hopeful that he can re-introduce legislation to expand gun-purchase background checks after one he crafted with Sen. Pat Toomey, Pennsylvania Republican, failed in the Senate a month ago.
But the ongoing scandal surrounding the IRS certainly doesn't help, he said on a West Virginia radio program Friday.
Isn't it more understandable, asked host Hoppy Kercheval, that people who fear more government intrusion or influence would now have some of those fears stoked after the revelations in the past week?
"Absolutely - I agree 1,000 percent," Mr. Manchin said on MetroNews' "Talkline." "People are saying, 'Joe, we read your legislation, it makes all the sense in the world and we're for that legislation - we're just afraid government won't stop there.'"
Indeed, one of the top concerns among gun rights activists is that Mr. Manchin's measure to increase background checks to sales online and at gun shows could pave the way for a federal firearms registry, though the legislation expressly prohibits one, with a penalty of up to 15 years in prison.
"The difference is this," Mr. Manchin continued. "Let's say the EPA, which we're fighting every minute of every day, because we believe that they're overreaching, they're creating rules and regulations. They're interpreting and they're doing things on their own because they are a federal agency. The Second Amendment is [in] the Constitution - it can only be changed by the legislative branch of government."
Mr. Kercheval said Mr. Manchin's legislation makes sense, but that the IRS situation doesn't help the prospects of its reintroduction.
"Sure, it doesn't help us - heck no," Mr. Manchin replied. "But the bottom line is, Hop, you cant stop government; you can't stop this great country, you can't stop the entrepreneurial spirit."
Mr. Manchin didn't go as far as saying President Obama was responsible for the IRS mess, but said Mr. Obama must be "accountable."
"That's part of the job, okay?" he said. "I hold him accountable. I'm not saying he's guilty of it or knew anything was going on, but he should have. He should find out."
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