Society

Sen. Joe Manchin Acknowledges Background Checks Will Not Pass Senate

| by Alex Groberman
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A senator whose name is attached to the bipartisan plan intended to expand background checks on gun purchases acknowledged on Wednesday that it would not get through the Senate.

Sen. Joe Manchin told NBC early this morning that his background checks proposal does not have the votes necessary to proceed. This is not a particularly surprising development, given that there have been reports for days that the legislation’s proponents didn’t have the necessary amount of backing (41 votes is enough to wreck the whole thing), but it does end any and all suspense regarding the matter heading into this afternoon’s showdown.   

Chuck Schumer, one of the bill’s most high-profile supporters, also admitted on Wednesday that it would be a ‘struggle’ to get a bill of this sort through Senate.

The problem here is the same as it always was: Democrats continue to overestimate the support they have for increased gun control measures. They too often equate polls of uninterested voters who are hypothetically in favor of things like expanded background checks with the sort of hardcore, very emotional support that the pro-gun movement gets.

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It all boils down to this: The political fallout from not passing stricter gun control measures is not yet as severe as the fallout from passing stricter gun control measures. Until that changes, all other discussions are moot. And seeing as numerous polls taken this month show the majority of Americans being against stricter firearm laws, the status quo figures to remain just that.

Sen. Joe Manchin tells me "we will not get the votes today" expanded background checks to fail in Senate. Try again he says.

— Kelly O'Donnell (@KellyO) April 17, 2013

.@sen_joemanchin worked phones until midnight, again at 6am, will keep trying until vote taken this afternoon. Few votes short.

— Kelly O'Donnell (@KellyO) April 17, 2013

Political reality. More Rs, some red state Ds want to be yes on immigration reform & feel they cannot also be yes on guns. Making choice.

— Kelly O'Donnell (@KellyO) April 17, 2013