West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin, the co-sponsor of failed legislation to expand background checks for gun purchases, doesn’t have any plans to revive the measure in the wake of the Oregon shooting.
“We don’t have any statement on the shooting and don’t have any plans to reintroduce the bill,” a spokesman for the senator said on Friday.
Manchin’s partner in the 2013 gun control push, Pennsylvania Republican Pat Toomey, would consider backing any legislation that would achieve the goals laid out in the legislation he co-authored with Manchin, his office said.
“Sen. Toomey has said numerous times that he is open to any approach that achieves the goal of expanding background checks in the way the Manchin-Toomey amendment would have done,” his office said in a statement. “He is realistic that the votes don’t exist in the Senate today to approve it. He will continue to work with his colleagues and look for ways to move the ball forward, including the option of reintroducing the bill.”
In April 2013, the Manchin-Toomey measure failed on a 54 to 46 Senate vote, with only four Republicans backing it and several more conservative Democrats opposing it. The bill drew fierce lobbying from pro-gun rights groups and would have required background checks for the purchase of firearms at gun shows and on the Internet.
The push from the senators — who both had “A” ratings from the National Rifle Association — came in the wake of the Newtown, Conn., shooting in which 20 schoolchildren and six adults were killed.
Despite further violence in places like Charleston, S.C., Chattanooga, Tenn., and Lafayette, La., the outlook is decidedly dim for renewed gun control legislation. Republicans, many of whom support gun rights, recaptured the Senate majority in 2014, and the current House GOP is even more hostile to enacting new gun laws.
“That bill’s not going to come back up,” Manchin told Bloomberg at the end of July, “unless Republicans vote for it.”
“Everybody’s on the record,” Manchin added.
Gun control advocates echoed that pessimism on Friday, saying they don’t expect Congress to pass anything meaningful in the wake of the Oregon shooting.
Chris Harper Mercer — armed with three pistols and a semiautomatic rifle — killed nine people in a Thursday rampage at Umpqua Community College in rural Roseburg, Ore., that may have been driven by antipathy towards Christians.
The Mass Shooting Tracker said the Oregon shooting was the 294th death or injury from a shooting involving four or more people in the United States this year — a rate of more than one victim a day.
Catherine Ho contributed to this report.