Joe Manchin opposes AR-15 ban because his friends have them: 'I don't know anyone that's committed a crime'
Willie Geist speaks to Joe Manchin (MSNBC/screen grab)

Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia stated on Wednesday that he would not vote to ban military-style assault weapons -- like the AR-15 that was used to murder 17 in Parkland, Florida -- because none of his friends had committed crimes with them.

During an interview on MSNBC's Morning Joe program, host Willie Geist asked Manchin if he agreed with Dick's Sporting Good's call for Congress to outlaw so-called assault weapons.

Manchin argued that some gun control measure made sense. He advocated for a ban on bump stocks and increasing the age to 21 for the purchase of semi-automatic weapons.

"But the AR-15 is a different thing," Manchin insisted. "I don't own an AR-15, nor do I have a need to buy one. I have a lot of friends that do own them. And they, basically, are not committing crimes. They bought them because they could."

Geist pressed Manchin on banning the AR-15, but the senator deflected.

"The market is going to change," the senator opined. "They are sold now legally. I'm not going to weigh in on that. I don't have a desire to buy one. I don't own one."

"Let's put it this way," he continued. "I have a lot of friends that have sport cars. Okay? I've seen 200 MPH on the speedometer. Do you think they are going to go 200? But they think they can or it will if they want it to. I don't know on this one. That is a difficult because there's not enough votes to pass that."

"How would you vote," Geist wondered.

"Right now, I would say that I don't have any friends that own the gun right now -- I don't know anyone that's committed a crime," Manchin remarked. "So, I wouldn't take their gun away."

Watch the video below from MSNBC.