U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and a pro-gun senator, will be launching a new ad this week, pushing back against the National Rifle Association, the nation’s largest gun lobby, which has given the senator an “A” rating. Lawmakers with such rating from the NRA are considered solidly pro-gun, including their voting record.
Manchin purposed a measure to extend background checks to gun shows and online sales during the Senate’s gun control debate earlier this year. The legislation was a bipartisan compromise drafted with Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa. The measure was voted down, 54-46, in April. The West Virginia Democrat has since faced heavy criticism from the NRA, which also recently made a $100,000 ad buy, running political ads against Manchin in his own state.
“Manchin is working with President [Barack] Obama and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg,” the NRA’s ad said. “Concerned? You should be. Tell Sen. Manchin to honor his commitment to the Second Amendment and reject the Obama-Bloomberg gun control agenda.”
According to Politico, Manchin will fight back with an ad of his own later this week. It will be purchased from the senator’s reelection campaign funds and is expected to “at least match” the what the NRA is spending, Jonathan Kott, Manchin’s communication director, told Politico.
“The Washington NRA leadership is clearly out of step with the American people and law-abiding gun owners and is now attacking Senator Manchin for a position they once supported,” Kott said. “The Washington NRA leadership is trying to distort Senator Manchin’s commitment to the [Second] Amendment, because they know he is one of the most credible defenders of gun rights who also believes that it just makes sense to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and those found severely mentally ill.”
Manchin and the NRA have thrown small punches in the past. In April, Manchin publicly accused the gun rights group of spreading misinformation about his background checks bill when the NRA said the measure would have “criiminalize private transfer of firearms.”
“That is a lie,” the senator told his colleagues while he was pleading for 60 votes. “That is simply a lie, and anybody who can read knows that is not factual.”