Manchin said Friday that he remains a lifelong opponent of abortion, just as he plans to keep his NRA membership. Now, as with the Planned Parenthood vote, he said he believes the truth is on his side.
"I'm just imploring, please read (the bill)," Manchin said. "If a person wants to be mad at me, that's fine, but it should be based on the facts. But don't tell me the bill did something it didn't do."
The Manchin-Toomey proposal sought to subject buyers in commercial settings such as gun shows and the Internet to the checks but exempt non-commercial transactions such as sales between friends and relatives. Before Wednesday's vote, the NRA told senators in an April 10 letter that the Manchin-Toomey measure would "criminalize the private transfer of firearms by honest citizens, requiring friends, neighbors and many family members to get government permission."
PolitiFact.com has rated that statement "mostly false," while FactCheck.org concluded that it "misrepresented" the legislation.
"What they had said was not accurate. It's just not right," Manchin said Friday of the NRA. "The only thing I've said is, 'Read the bill.' Then look at the accusations they've made. What would you call that?"
Manchin developed the background-check proposal after the mass shooting of first-graders and staff in Newtown, Conn. He then vowed to carry through after an emotional meeting this month with parents and other relatives of those killed at Sandy Hook Elementary. Manchin had previously gained the title of "comforter-in-chief" while governor, for tending to the families of miners in the wake of coal mine disasters.
"Why do people vote for me, so I can vote no on everything and play it safe?" Manchin said Friday. "Coming from a gun culture, in the state of West Virginia, if I can't bring credibility that this is reasonable and responsible, then what am I doing in public service?"