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Manchin says Trump has "golden opportunity" to reform gun laws

Manchin emphasizes "good dialogue" with Trump on guns
Manchin emphasizes "good dialogue" with Trump on gun reform 07:00

Sen. Joe Manchin said that President Trump has a "golden opportunity to start making America safe again" by taking an active role in pushing for stronger gun safety legislation.

The West Virginia Democrat talked told "Face the Nation" he's been encouraged by the dialogue on reforms since the mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton, though at this point, he said, "I can't tell you the end result. I can't tell you what the final product will be, but we're working in a most common sense procedure of what we can get the votes for to do something that truly starts making America safe again."

Manchin said the president, too, is "encouraged" by the approaches being discussed, but said Mr. Trump has made no promises to pressure Republican lawmakers to get a bill passed. The red-state senator, who is a gun owner himself and a staunch supporter of Second Amendment rights, said he told the president, "'President Trump, this is yours. It doesn't happen unless you stand up and you have a bill that you basically support. And this is your piece of legislation, and it should be a gun sense bill that makes sense to all gun owners.'"

Manchin and other lawmakers have been talking with the White House about measures to reduce mass shootings, like tightening background checks and encouraging states to pass so-called "red flag" laws, which enable family members or law enforcement to secure quick court orders to temporarily remove guns from people believed to be a danger to themselves or others. 

The West Virginia senator has been down this path before. In 2013, months after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Manchin co-sponsored an amendment with Republican Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania that would have expanded background checks for commercial gun sales. Their plan fell short in the Senate, winning the support of 54 senators when 60 were needed to advance the legislation. 

On Sunday, Manchin said lawmakers have an opportunity and a responsibility to try to tighten background checks, and he's again promoting the measure he and Toomey championed in 2013 targeting online and gun show sales.

"If I go to a gun show, if I go on the Internet and somebody wants to buy my gun and I don't know who they are, I've been taught not to sell my gun to a stranger, to someone that has criminal background, someone is not mentally stable," Manchin said. "These are things that, we're going to make those decisions, but when you don't know somebody, don't you think you can at least come to that agreement, that that makes sense?"

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