President Donald Trump knows most Americans agree that background checks are necessary, and he is presenting a "unique" opportunity to push through legislation that could not get the votes it needed to pass the Senate during the Obama administration, Sen. Joe Manchin said Thursday.
"If the terrorists tells you to go to the gun show and buy your weapon of mass destruction, don't you think we ought to have a background check when you go to a gun show or on the internet, where there's no knowledge of the person, a transaction, commercial transaction?" the West Virginia Democrat told MSNBC's Stephanie Ruhle.
"He knows that makes what we call gun sense or common sense. So that might be a difference."
In 2013, Manchin and Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., drafted a bipartisan gun bill that only was able to net 54 of the 60 votes it needed to pass in the Senate.
Manchin said in his gun-friendly state, people were worried that if the bill passed, President Barack Obama would not protect their Second Amendment rights.
"There's not a person in West Virginia that believes that President Trump will not protect, he will protect their Second Amendment rights," said Manchin. "He will not take anything away. So we have an unusual, a unique opportunity to truly get meaningful change."
The senator noted that he has been a member of the National Rifle Association for most of his life, and remains a lifetime member.
"As a law-abiding gun owner, we're taught you don't sell your gun to a stranger," he said. "You definitely don't sell your gun to a criminal. You don't sell your gun to someone you consider mentally unstable or insane. You sure don't even give your gun to a family member that's not responsible."
However, others could get a table at a gun show, or sell their guns online, but the Manchin-Toomey bill closes those loopholes, Manchin said.
"We have a lot of good things and the president believes that that's the base bill he can work off of," said Manchin, who was at the president's meeting on school safety on Wednesday.
Manchin told Ruhle that personally, he does not own an AR-15, like the one used in the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, but he does know people who do.
However, he believes times are changing, and that the time may be right to pass gun sense laws.
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