AS the Democratic half of bipartisan gun control legislation, Sen. Joe Manchin has been at the center of a political firestorm, which he has handled well.
His reaction to Wednesday's defeat of the measure was to vow to continue to push for a measure he crafted with a Republican colleague, Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa.
The proposal is not radical. The measure simply would extend background checks for the purchase of firearms to include online sales and gun shows.
Manchin said up to 70 senators supported the measure privately but many were afraid of running afoul of the National Rifle Association.
He said the NRA falsely told its supporters that family members and friends would need federal permission to transfer gun ownership to one another.
"Where I come from in West Virginia, I don't know how to put the words any plainer than this," he told The Associated Press in the hours before the vote. "That is a lie. That is simply a lie."
However, in later remarks to the Wall Street Journal, Manchin was candid about the need to consider the politics behind the issue.
"There's a lot more I can do to get the facts out," he said. Legislation moves slowly for a reason. Spirited public debates lead to better outcomes.
While Wednesday was a setback, Manchin has a track record for persuasion.
In moving from the Governor's Mansion to Congress, he finds himself in a much more difficult arena. It is laudable that he is willing to step up and be counted.