The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Latest News

April 11, 2013

Compromise: New gun sale check standard; Manchin says plan will create positive changes

U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin is hopeful that an expansion of background checks on gun sales while still recognizing a “gun culture” in some areas will have enough support to make it onto legislation senators are expected to debate and vote on today.

The amendment has been championed by Manchin, D-W.Va., and Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., who both have “A” ratings from the National Rifle Association.

There are three umbrella points to the amendment: leveling the playing field for gun sales; getting all the names of prohibited purchasers into the background check system; and establishing a National Commission on Mass Violence.

Manchin said the amendment creates “positive changes” and strengthens the rights of law-abiding gun owners. It does not, he added, infringe upon anyone’s Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms, take away anyone’s guns, ban any type of firearm, ban or restrict the use of any kind of bullet or any size clip or magazine or create a national registry, which it actually explicitly prohibits.

Manchin told West Virginia media outlets Wednesday afternoon, as a “proud gun owner, ... NRA member, and ... law-abiding gun owner,” the amendment will be the first considered if and when the current proposed gun control legislation is approved by the Senate.

Manchin explained that the legislation up for consideration today has aspects that he supports, such as furthering school safety and penalizing gun trafficking. However, he said he has made it clear to his Senate colleagues that he will not be on board unless the portion about background checks is changed.

As it currently stands, the bill requires anyone who sells a firearm to complete a background check on the buyer. Manchin said, though, the people who created the legislation do not really understand “gun culture,” such as in West Virginia. That culture and tradition can involve giving firearms to family members and selling to a friend or neighbor.

Manchin’s amendment allows the private individual to sell or give away a gun; therefore, not infringing on the individual’s rights. Someone selling at a gun show, however, will have to have a licensed firearms dealer complete a background check on the person wanting to purchase the gun before it can be sold.

Backgrounds checks would also be imposed on intrastate online purchases. Currently, individuals may buy guns from a dealer within his or her own state without going through a background check, which Manchin called a “loophole.”

Enforcement agencies, such as the Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, will do compliance checks and those not completing background checks as a law dictates could be charged with a felony, Manchin explained about the amendment. He thinks gun owners and enthusiasts would not want to be charged and convicted with a felony because they would lose their right to legally own firearms.

Also, the Commission on Mass Violence, would be comprised of experts in the fields of guns, mental health, school safety, violence in the media and other aspects of the issue, he explained.  

“While the unspeakable tragedy in Newtown, Conn., has elevated the gun safety conversation, we cannot sacrifice our Constitutional rights out of fear,” Manchin said. “It is our obligation to keep our children safe and to protect our Second Amendment rights — and I truly believe we can and must do both.

“As I have said from the beginning, this is not simply a gun issue. We need to keep guns out of the hands of convicted criminals and the mentally ill while also bringing together a group of experts to look at all aspects of our culture of mass violence. Violence destroys the dignity, hopes and lives of millions of Americans.

“We have a unique opportunity to stop this epidemic here and now — but only if we can put politics aside and take a look at all the aspects.”

Manchin added that he has spoken to some gun dealers in West Virginia and they are on board with the amendment.

Further explanation and detail about the amendment can be found at Manchin’s U.S. Senate website, manchin.senate.gov. Manchin added that he is looking forward to feedback from his constituents.

— E-mail: chiggins@register-herald.com

1
Text Only
Latest News
  • Judge in W.Va. asked to delay gay marriage ruling

    Attorney General Patrick Morrisey has asked a judge to postpone ruling on a federal lawsuit challenging West Virginia's same-sex marriage ban until the U.S. Supreme Court reviews a ruling in a similar case in Virginia.

    July 30, 2014

  • Tri-state coal interests rally before EPA hearings

    More than 2,000 union workers and others organized by the coal industry in Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia joined top state elected officials Wednesday to rally against proposed stricter federal pollution regulations for coal-burning power plants.

    July 30, 2014

  • Work continues on stand-alone Warrior Trail

    The executive director of the Hatfield and McCoy Trail Authority said Tuesday that officials are still working toward the creation of the stand-alone Warrior Trail in McDowell County.

    July 30, 2014

  • East River Mountain Tunnel repairs will continue for several weeks

    Motorists traveling Interstate 77 could see slight delays again tonight as repair work continues inside of the fire-damaged East River Mountain Tunnel.

    July 30, 2014

  • State leaders to attend coal rally in Pittsburgh

    West Virginia officials are set to join hundreds of coal miners and coal supporters at an electricity and energy jobs rally.

    July 30, 2014

  • Americans continue to be plagued by debt

    Credit card debt may have reached its lowest level in a decade, but according to a recent study on personal debt vs. income, just as more people are paying off their credit card debt monthly, nearly the same number of people are being reported for unpaid bills. 

    July 30, 2014

  • twvcheck Theatre West Virginia gives back to hospice

    Theatre West Virginia, even with its shortened season this year, has found a way to give back to the community. Mike Cavendish, a past board president at TWV, presented Hospice of Southern West Virginia with a check Thursday for over $1,000. 

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Former Summers County commissioner indicted

    The Summers County grand jury handed up indictments against 17 individuals this month, including one against a former county commissioner. 

    July 30, 2014

  • Weaker prices widen second quarter losses for Arch Coal

     Arch Coal Inc. said Tuesday that its second-quarter loss widened partly because of nagging rail disruptions and weaker prices for coal used in making steel, though cost controls helped the coal producer’s latest earnings surpass analysts’ expectations.

    July 30, 2014

  • pasiley Watery delight

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo