US Sen. Manchin blasts the NRA, says the group has changed focus, become 'big business'

Associated Press

Again facing heat from the gun lobby, U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin is criticizing the National Rifle Association, saying it moved from promoting gun safety and culture to being "big business."

The West Virginia Democrat made the comments Tuesday to The Associated Press.

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Recently, the NRA criticized Manchin for opposing a state measure to drop permitting requirements to carry concealed handguns.

Manchin says there wasn't public outcry for the change, which would eliminate required safety training.

The Republican-led Legislature cleared the bill but Democratic Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin vetoed it.

Manchin, who previously earned A ratings with the group, says he's still a proud NRA member.

Chris Cox, executive director of NRA's Institute for Legislative Action, responded by saying "the NRA is more popular than Joe Manchin in West Virginia."