12. 2014 is why the AWB is dead on arrival in the Senate
If there is a path to new gun laws, it has to come through West Virginia and a dozen other states with Democratic senators like Mr. Manchin who are confronting galvanized constituencies that view any effort to tighten gun laws as an infringement.
On Thursday a group of Democratic senators led by Dianne Feinstein of California plans to introduce a bill that would outlaw more than 100 different assault weapons, setting up what promises to be a fraught and divisive debate over gun control in Congress in the coming weeks. But a number of centrist lawmakers like Mr. Manchin have already thrown the measure’s fate into question, saying that all they are willing to support for now is a stronger background check system.
After talking with the group for nearly two hours, Mr. Manchin left the meeting saying he was not at all comfortable with supporting the assault weapons ban favored by many of his colleagues in Congress.
Mr. Manchin is just the beginning of gun control advocates’ worries. Of far greater concern are Democrats who are up for re-election in 2014. Those include senators like Max Baucus of Montana, who was awarded an A+ rating from the N.R.A. Mr. Baucus has worded his comments on the subject carefully, bracketing them with gun rights-friendly language, like saying the “culture of violence” needs to be seriously examined along with any changes to the law.