Watch: Manchin Still Stopping Biden's Aggressive Gun Agenda

By Seth Cutler | Friday, 27 May 2022 05:15
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On Tuesday, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) mourned the lack of Senate-backing for tougher gun laws after a mass shooting in Texas hours earlier. However, he rejected the idea of eliminating the filibuster to pass such a bill.

Manchin stressed that he has three grandchildren similar in age to the victims at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, where no less than 14 kids and one teacher were shot and murdered.

“It’s just absolutely horrific,” Manchin announced. “You all know where I stand; I’ll do anything I can.”

Pushed on whether he would consider scrapping the filibuster to tighten the country’s gun laws, he cautioned that it would lead to chaos in the Senate.

“The filibuster is the only thing that prevents us from total insanity. Total insanity,” he announced.

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The response is consistent coming from the West Virginia centrist, who, along with Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), has resisted pressure from fellow Democrats to get rid of the filibuster to pass many pieces of President Biden’s legislative agenda.

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Manchin and Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) had championed legislation in 2013 to expand background checks before gun sales, a proposition that came in direct response to the shooting massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., several months earlier. The bill failed to win the 60 votes needed to overcome the GOP filibuster. After the mass shooting in Buffalo, N.Y., on May 14, Manchin announced he still backs his proposal with Toomey, yet without 60 votes in the Senate, he questioned the practicality of bringing it to the floor for a vote. It would be better, he claimed, to consider reform proposals that had the support to become law. He proposed a focus on mental health.

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The push for mental health reforms as a strategy for fighting gun violence has long been championed by Republicans, who are overwhelmingly antipathetic to virtually any new limitations on firearm sales and ownership. And some liberals wasted no time Tuesday beating the mental illness argument as a pale replacement for actual remedies.

“Spare me the bullshit about mental illness. We don’t have any more mental illness than any other country in the world,” Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) reportedly announced after delivering an address on the Senate floor.

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On Tuesday, after the Uvalde shooting, Manchin proposed that reporters focus their attention on the opponents of gun reform, wondering aloud how anyone could vote against stricter laws after another elementary school shooting.

“You guys ought to be pushing the people that just won’t even budge on anything. I don’t know what it takes to move,” he stated. “It makes no sense at all why we can’t do common sense — commonsense — things and try to prevent some of this from happening. … [It’s] unbelievable how we’ve gotten to a society where someone could be this deranged and this sick.”

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