| September 18, 2019 03:00 PM
Sen. Joe Manchin has a message for Democratic presidential contender Beto O’Rourke: Stay away from my guns.
Manchin, who is among the few pro-gun Democrats in the Senate, said he disagreed with O’Rourke’s declaration that if he is elected president, he’ll force Americans to turn over assault-style weapons.
“I can tell you one thing: Beto O’Rourke’s not taking my guns away from me,” Manchin said Wednesday when asked about the plan. “You tell Beto that, OK?”
O’Rourke, who is polling at 0% in recent polls, made a splash at the most recent Democratic debate in Houston when he said he supported a mandatory buyback of assault-style weapons.
“Hell, yes, we’re going to take your AR-15, your AK-47,” O’Rourke said. “We’re not going to allow it to be used against our fellow Americans anymore.”
In the days following, O’Rourke doubled down when asked in Charlottesville, Virginia, how he would address the fears of some Americans that the government would take away their firearms.
“I want to be really clear that that’s exactly what we are going to do,” O’Rourke said. “Americans who own AR-15s, AK-47s, will have to sell them to the government. We’re not going to allow them to stay on our streets, to show up in our communities, to be used against us in our synagogues, our churches, our mosques, our Walmarts, our public places.”
President Trump blamed O’Rourke for making it more difficult to negotiate a gun control deal with Senate Republicans skittish of just such a plan.
The White House is circulating a draft gun control proposal to expand background checks to all commercial gun sales with language that mirrors a bill authored by Manchin and Sen. Pat Toomey.
Democrats from pro-gun states didn’t appreciate it either.
“Beto is one human being,” Manchin said. “He gave his own opinion, OK? I think it was very harmful to make it look like all Democrats.”