Issues

Manchin on AR-15 Ban: ‘I Wouldn’t Take Their Gun Away’

Sen. Joe Manchin (D., W.Va.) told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" co-host Willie Geist on Wednesday that he would vote against an AR-15 ban if one came to the floor.

"We just had Congressman Tom Cole on as well, and he kind of walked up to the line where you're walking right now," Geist said. "He said raising the age to 21 is okay, bump stocks are okay, but banning the sale of an AR-15 is where he draws the line. Do you agree with that?"

Manchin said it was "difficult" for him to answer the question because there aren't enough votes for it.

"How would you vote if that came up?" Geist asked.

"Well right now, I would say that I don't have any friends that own the gun right now. I don't know anyone's committed a crime with it, so I wouldn't take their gun away," Manchin said.

Manchin, who is up for reelection later this year, is part of a group of bipartisan senators who introduced legislation this week to ban individuals on certain terrorist watch lists from purchasing a gun.

The national conversation about the AR-15 comes at a time when the National Rifle Association and gun industry is facing backlash following the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting that left 17 children and teachers dead on Feb. 14. While some on the left have directed blame at the NRA for the Parkland, Florida mass shooting, others have pointed out there were numerous points of failure independent of the gun industry that led to the shooter's ability to shoot students and teachers that day, including failures of the Broward County Sheriff's Office.