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Manchin says he's reviving failed gun legislation

| Sunday, April 28, 2013, 7:27 p.m.

WASHINGTON — One of the architects of failed gun control legislation says he's bringing it back.

Sen. Joe Manchin on Sunday said he would reintroduce a measure that would require criminal and mental health background checks for gun buyers at shows and online. The West Virginia Democrat says that if lawmakers read the bill, they will support it.

”The only thing that we've asked for is that people would just read the bill,” Manchin said on Fox News Sunday. “It's a criminal and mental background check strictly at gun shows and online sales.”

Manchin sponsored a version of the measure with Republican Sen. Pat Toomey of Lehigh County. It failed.

Manchin said the bill failed because of “some confusion.” Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., was initially working on a more expansive background check bill, Manchin noted.

“We talked to Chuck and he backed off that, and we worked on what we thought was a much better bill, especially coming from a gun culture that I come from in West Virginia,” he said.

In the wake of last year's school shooting in Newtown, Conn., Congress took up gun control legislation, but it was blocked by supporters of the powerful pro-gun lobby, the National Rifle Association.

Polls have shown overwhelming public support for expanding background checks, and a new Quinnipiac poll released Friday shows that Pennsylvania voters think more favorably of Toomey for his leadership on the issue: As many as 54 percent of Pennsylvania voters said they think more favorably of him because of his work on the bill, while 12 percent think less favorably of him. Toomey's approval rating in the poll stood at 48 percent, his highest ever.

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