02/05/2013 10:10 am ET Updated Feb 17, 2013

Joe Manchin, West Virginia Senator: 'Why Would Anybody Not Own A Gun?'

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) was surprised that anyone wouldn't own a gun in an interview with USA Today about members of Congress owning guns.

"Why would anybody not own a gun?" he told the paper in a story published Tuesday.

Fifty-six percent of Americans do not own a gun or do not live in a household with someone who does, according to Gallup.

In the poll released Friday, 119 Republicans and 46 Democrats said they were gun owners.

Manchin, a lifelong member of the National Rifle Association, has expressed openness to gun control measures following the Sandy Hook shooting. He is in favor of universal background checks.

Sergeant at Arms Terrance Gainer told USA Today that lawmakers are permitted to have "unloaded and securely wrapped" guns in their offices, but he said, "I personally don't know of any member who is packing."

CORRECTION: This post originally misidentified Manchin. He is a Democrat.



Pivotal Moments In The Federal Gun Control Debate