Manchin: Requiring Background Checks At Gun Shows, Online ‘Up To President Trump’

UNITED STATES - APRIL 7: Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., talks with reporters before the Senate voted to confirm Neil Gorsuch as the next Supreme Court justice, April 7, 2017. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Tom Williams/CQPHO

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) said Sunday that there is a “high probability” Congress will not pass any new gun control legislation without more action from President Donald Trump.

“Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is not introducing gun legislation this week,” CNN’s Jake Tapper told Manchin in an interview, before referring to Manchin and Sen. Pat Toomey’s (R-PA) bill to require background checks for firearm purchases at gun shows and online.

“Do you have any idea if he’s ever going to bring it up?” he asked. 

“If the President comes forward and says ‘This is what I want done, this is what I’m going to support and I will give you the cover you need, okay,” Manchin said.

“It’s up to President Trump?” Tapper interjected.

“It’s up to President Trump, truly,” Manchin said.

Earlier in the interview, the West Virginia senator said he “really” believed, “in my heart of hearts,” that Trump would sign his and Toomey’s bill if given the opportunity.

“Is it not still possible, if not likely, that Congress will do nothing?” Tapper asked, noting the Valentine’s Day shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida that left 17 dead.

“There’s a high probability that could happen if this thing goes mute,” Manchin responded.

It was a familiar message. Toomey told NBC’s Chuck Todd of the legislation last weekend, “I haven’t gotten anyone who said, ‘Yes, sign me up,’ but there are definitely members who are reconsidering.”

Manchin said at the time that “[w]e’re not going to bring it back unless the president signs on,”adding: “I think it’s imperative that he has to get on board with what he feels he’s comfortable with.”

While Trump has expressed his support for making background checks more comprehensive, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Friday that the President does not support the Manchin-Toomey bill to require them at gun shows and for online firearm purchases.