Toomey & Manchin introduce bill to expand background checks for gun purchases

A bill introduced by pro-gun Senators Pat Toomey (R-Penn.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) will expand criminal and mental health background checks for firearm purchases at gun shows and over the Internet.

“The events at Newtown changed us all. It changed our country, our communities, our towns, and it changed our hearts and minds,” said Manchin. “[The] agreement is the first step in common ground that all of us agree is crucial to keep guns out of dangerous hands to keep our children safe…Nobody here in good conscience could sit by and not try to prevent a day that has happened at Newtown from ever happening again.”

Read more: Round-up: Newtown School Shooting

The Public Safety and Second Amendment Right Protection Act, if approved and enacted, would close two key loopholes to make it more difficult for criminals and the mentally ill from buying guns at trade shows and over the Internet. The Toomey-Manchin amendment would require such purchases to go through federally-licensed firearms dealers, who are responsible for conducting the background check on the buyer and keeping the records as they do now.

Toomey, a staunch conservative who has consistently received top ratings from pro-gun groups, insisted that the compromise bill will not erode the Second Amendment rights of gun owners.

“I’m a gun owner and the rights that are enshrined in the Second Amendment are very, very important to me personally…But I’ve got to tell you candidly I don’t consider criminal background checks to be gun control. I think it’s just common sense,” said Toomey. “If you pass a criminal background check, you get to buy a gun – no problem. It’s the people who fail a criminal or mental health background check that we don’t want having guns.”

As expected, the National Rifle Association opposed the Toomey-Manchin proposal. In a written statement, the NRA argued that “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 sad truth is that no background check would have prevented the tragedies in Newtown, Aurora or Tucson.”

House Speaker John Boehner told reporters that the House would be willing to review any gun legislation passed by the Senate. However, Boehner questioned whether there’s a need to expand gun background checks.

“We’ll wait and see about what the Senate does,” said Boehner. “We’re not enforcing the laws that we have on the books today, and so if we’re going to have a background check that’s in the law, let’s make sure we do a real background check, which not in all cases actually happens.”

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2 Comments on “Toomey & Manchin introduce bill to expand background checks for gun purchases

  1. Pingback: List of 46 U.S. Senators who voted against expanding background checks for gun purchases | What The Folly?!

  2. Pingback: Transcript: Press briefing Q&A with Sen. Pat Toomey & Sen. Joe Manchin on the bipartisan amendment to strengthen criminal background checks for gun purchases | What The Folly?!

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