Toomey: Yeah, I’m Done Working on Gun Control

Leah Barkoukis

4/18/2013 7:00:00 PM - Leah Barkoukis

The “compromise” proposal on extended background checks by Sens. Manchin and Toomey failed Wednesday by six votes, prompting a firestorm of outrage from gun rights activists. Sen. Harry Reid blasted Senate Republicans for ‘ignoring the voices of an overwhelming majority of Americans’ and President Obama condemned the Senate’s failure to pass reform as “shameful.” Many pledged that the fight isn’t over, however, including Sen. Manchin:

“We’re gonna pass this,” Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) told gun-control-backing MSNBC host Joe Scarborough on “Morning Joe.” “Don’t you give up. Don’t you give up.”

“These are good people,” Manchin said of other conservative Democrats who opposed the legislation. “I’ve got to sit down. There’s more work I’ve got to do. I’ve got to sit down and work with my colleagues. Heidi Heitkamp is my friend. I’m just so tickled to death she is there. I got to get Heidi comfortable so the people in North Dakota know how good she is and what we can do to make her feel comfortable that we represented the people. … I’m not going to allow a criminal or an Al Qaeda terrorist to be able to go to the gun show like he advertised to pick up guns but if there is some language that is uncomfortable, I’ve got to work harder to make them comfortable. … If the NRA didn’t score this, we would’ve had 15 more votes.”

Throughout the gun-control debate activists have repeated the mantra that 40 percent of all gun purchases at gun shows are private sales and thus, not subject to a background check. This simply isn’t true—the figure is based on extremely outdated and exaggerated statistics. Moreover, the al Qaeda reference Manchin pointed to is ridiculous and based on a resurfaced 2011 video of American-born al Qaeda spokesman Adam Gadahn talking about how easy it is to get a firearm in America. The video is full of falsehoods, however. But most importantly, the Manchin/Toomey background check proposal would not have prevented what happened in Newtown, Aurora or Tucson.

While Democrats and the media portray gun control as the most pressing issue in America, a recent Gallup poll shows that only 4 percent of Americans agree. In the same poll, 24 percent say the economy in general is the most important problem facing this country, which is exactly what Sen. Toomey is shifting his focus to:

“We have a lot of other issues we have to deal with,” Pennsylvania GOP Sen. Pat Toomey told the Allentown Morning Call. “Chief among them is getting our fiscal house in order. I’ll be getting back to that.” […]

Despite his desire to return to his signature economic issues, Toomey said he doesn’t regret working with Manchin on the bill.

“I did the best I could. I wish it had passed, but the Senate has spoken and these things happen,” he told the paper. “It’s always worth it to do the right thing … no regrets.”

Like Manchin, Reid insists this is not the end of the fight--House Democrats aren't giving up, either.