Sen. Joe Manchin
Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia Reuters

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., a pro-gun senator with an “A”-rating from the National Rifle Association, on Wednesday accused the most powerful gun lobby in America of lying about the background checks bill he recently introduced to the Senate.

“I was surprised when the latest alert from the NRA was filled with so much misinformation,” Manchin said on the Senate floor.

The senator was speaking out against the claim the NRA made in a letter that the measure he brokered with Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., will “criminalize the private transfer of firearms.”

“That is a lie,” Manchin told his colleagues as he continues to fight to get the 60 votes needed to get the bill out of the Senate. “That is simply a lie, and anybody who can read knows that is not factual.”

The proposal submitted by the two senators will expand background checks at gun shows and online sales. It will not affect such transfers between family members. The passage of a Senate gun control package hinges on the bipartisan nature of this proposal.

The NRA has described the proposal as a “misguided compromise.”

“As we have noted previously, expanding background checks, at gun shows or elsewhere, will not reduce violent crime or keep our kids safe in their schools,” wrote Chris Cox, executive director for the NRA Institute for Legislative Action, its lobbying arm. “Given the importance of these issues, votes on all anti-gun amendments or proposals will be considered in NRA’s future candidate evaluations.”

Manchin, who is looking for nine Republicans to support his legislation, said it will protect honest, gun-loving citizens more than any piece of law passed in decades.

“We think it’s reasonable to provide mandatory background checks for every gun show,” Manchin said, later adding that “It’s so everybody plays by the same set of rules.”

“All I’m asking for is [for you] to take the time and read it,” he said.