Senators Joe Manchin and Pat Toomney announced today that they, along with senators Mark Kirk and Chuck Schumer, have reached an agreement on an amendment that would expand background checks to purchases made at gun shows and over the Internet. That falls short of the sweeping expansion senate majority leader Harry Reid will propose, and that the Obama administration is pushing.
“I don’t consider criminal background checks to be gun control,” said Toomey, a Republican senator from Pennsylvania. “I consider them to be common sense.” He added that, over the past several months, it became clear to him that gun legislation was destined to reach the Senate floor, and that some of the proposals being floated do infringe on the Second Amendment. He was motivated to propose one that, in his view, does not.
The National Rifle Association, which has lobbied Republicans and Democrats alike to vote against any further restrictions on gun rights, opposes changes the Manchin-Toomey amendment would bring about.
“Expanding background checks at gun shows will not prevent the next shooting, will not solve violent crime and will not keep our kids safe in schools,” the NRA said in a statement provided to National Review Online. “The sad truth is that no background check would have prevented the tragedy in Newtown, Aurora or Tucson. We need a serious and meaningful solution that addresses crime in cities like Chicago, addresses mental health deficiencies, while at the same time protecting the rights of those of us who are not a danger to anyone.”
Reid is expected to introduce his bill on the Senate floor tomorrow, but neither Manchin nor Toomey said whether he would support it.
“I cannot support it without the measure that Pat and I have worked out,” Manchin said. Toomey was similarly reticent, telling reporters, “I will make my final judgment when I see the final product.”