Asked Thursday night by MSNBC's Chris Matthews why gun-rights advocates were still attacking him, Sen. Joe Manchin responded, "I think they're afraid that this is not going away, and they're correct. It's not going away."
"Law-abiding gun owners like myself," Manchin, D-W.Va., continued, "basically have the premise that we're not going to sell [a gun] to a stranger, we're not going to give it to someone who is mentally deranged, we're not going to give it or sell it to a family member who is not responsible."
If that's the case, then why did the bill criminalize gun transfers between law-abiding citizens? Later in the interview, Manchin explained exactly who shouldn't be allowed to own a firearm, saying, "If you're crazy, if you're a criminal, and if you're a terrorist, we don't want you to have them." Bluntness aside, the gun-control bill did not do anything that would prevent those three groups of people from getting a weapon. How? Because, as should be painfully obvious to even a child, criminals don't follow laws, that's why they're criminals. They don't follow the gun laws already on the books, so why would they follow new laws?
Back in April, 46 Senators voted against gun control legislation that would have expanded background checks — something Americans support — but also criminalized gun transfers between non-criminals, like gifting a firearm. Earlier this week, Vice President Biden said that progress had been made on the executive actions outlined by President Obama in a January press conference.
A poll at the end of May found that 62 percent of Americans want the Senate to drop gun control from its agenda. Manchin may want to continue the fight, but if it couldn't be passed at the height of the anti-gun movement, it won't have any better a chance as people forget the issue.