Gun Laws & Legislation

Joe Manchin: Media will ‘put up pictures of dead children’ to sway gun-control votes

David Martosko Executive Editor
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West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin fears a full-court-press from the media on gun control, according to the leader of a gun-rights group who met with him Tuesday afternoon in his Charleston, W.Va. office.

Writing on Facebook, West Virginia Citizens Defense League president Keith Morgan described Manchin’s reaction when he contended that Congress would not renew a federal-level “assault weapons ban” or create new limits on the capacity of ammunition magazines. (RELATED: Top Democrat says outright assault weapons ban will not pass)

“Senator Manchin told me,” Morgan wrote, “what the media will do if Congress (including the US House of Representatives) fails to pass an AWB and/or mag restrictions.”

“‘They will one, by one, put up pictures of dead children. They will show the carnage,'” he recalled Manchin warning.

“Considering that tomorrow, President Obama will be exploiting children by dragging them on stage with him while he outlays his plan, this is not a huge leap,” Morgan added. “And these are the words of a United States senator. … That is a direct quote. Verbatim.” (RELATED: Obama to showcase gun-control campaign Wednesday)

Manchin, the former governor, won his Senate seat partially on the strength of a television ad in which he fired a rifle bullet through a copy of the “cap and trade” environmental legislation, a bill that was wildly unpopular in coal-rich West Virginia.

“As your Senator,” he said in the ad, “I’ll protect our Second Amendment rights. That’s why the NRA endorsed me.”

But today, Morgan wrote, Manchin, “supports magazine capacity limits, and possibly other restrictions.”


Manchin’s press office did not respond to two emailed requests for comment.

Reached for comment Wednesday morning, Morgan told The Daily Caller that he is “absolutely confident about the accuracy” of his written account, including the direct quote he attributed to Manchin.

“It was a long meeting,” he said. “It ran for roughly an hour.”

Morgan’s organization is planning a rally Saturday in Martinsburg, W.Va. to coincide with a national “Gun Appreciation Day” organized by the Second Amendment Foundation and other groups.

But the West Virginia Citizens Defense League’s Facebook page describes its event as a “Manchin Protest.”

Morgan wrote Tuesday that the senator “stated to me directly, that he believes 75% of West Virginians, like him, believe that the only purposes behind gun ownership and the second amendment are hunting and recreational shooting. He told me that [self-]defense is not an angle he considers or believes in.”

Morgan wrote that he gave Manchin a warning of his own: His organization would hold protests “at every single event” during his re-election campaign in 2018. “We would be at every fund-raiser. We would be there, and the content of our signs would not be pleasant,” he warned.

But Manchin, he said, replied cryptically that “there won’t be any events.”

“A U.S. Senator at his age doesn’t simply quit politics,” Morgan told TheDC in an email. “It is my belief that he’s been offered some sort of appointment” by the Obama administration.

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