Sen. Joe Manchin (D., W.Va.) said a fellow Democratic senator admitted to him recently that he did not know a single gun owner growing up.
According to Politico, Manchin told the anecdote as the centrist Democrat makes a push for bipartisan background check legislation he's written with Sen. Pat Toomey (R., Pa.).
Many of Manchin's fellow Democrats are calling for aggressive gun control legislation like renewing a ban on assault weapons.
Manchin told a recent town hall meeting about his efforts to get background check legislation passed in 2013, which ultimately fell short and attracted the ire of the National Rifle Association.
"They came after me with a vengeance," Manchin said. "And I've been a lifetime member of the NRA. And the organization had been one I believed in. It taught the Eddie the Eagle program, it taught gun safety, it taught respect. Now, they're opposing this common-sense gun sense."
Manchin also portrayed himself as the rare Democrat who could bring the perspective of a gun owner to intra-party debates. He said one fellow Democratic senator confessed to him that he didn't know a single gun owner growing up. Manchin said he didn't know anyone in his hometown of Farmington who didn't own a gun.
"They just don't know," Manchin said of his fellow senators. "And it's up to us who do know to try to educate them."
The West Virginia Democrat didn't say which senator it was who didn't know a single gun owner.
Manchin is one of the only Democrats in Congress who has occasionally embraced President Donald Trump, recently praising his recent tariffs announcement and saying Trump would have been able to get his background check bill passed in 2013.
There's a political reason for that. He is up for re-election in a state Trump carried overwhelmingly in his 2016 presidential election victory.