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Senators near a deal on background checks for most private gun sales

The Washington Post – by Ed O’Keefe

A bipartisan group of senators is on the verge of a deal that would expand background checks to all private firearms sales with limited exemptions, but significant disagreements remain on the issue of keeping records of private gun sales, according to aides familiar with the talks.

An agreement would be a bold first step toward consideration of legislation to limit gun violence in the wake of the mass shootings at a Connecticut elementary school in December and comes as the Senate Judiciary Committee is expected this week to begin considering new proposals to limit gun violence.

The talks, led by two Democrats and two Republicans, are expected to earn more GOP support in the coming days and likely enough to move the bill through the Senate, according to senior aides of both parties who were not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.

“These negotiations are challenging, as you’d expect on an issue as complicated as guns,” the chief negotiator, Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), said in a statement Saturday. “But all of the senators involved are approaching this in good faith. We are all serious about wanting to get something done, and we are going to keep trying.”

Resolution of whether to keep records of private sales is key to earning the support of one of the Republicans involved in the talks, Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn, who has a solid A-rating from the influential National Rifle Association and could provide political cover for lawmakers of both parties who are wary of supporting the plan.

Coburn has declined to comment on the talks, saying recently that “I don’t negotiate through the press.”

Democrats say that keeping records of private sales is necessary to enforce any new law and because current federal law requires licensed firearm dealers to keep records. Records of private sales also would help law enforcement trace back the history of a gun used in a crime, according to Democratic aides. Republicans, however, believe that records of private sales could put an undue burden on gun owners or could be perceived by gun rights advocates as a precursor to a national gun registry.

Coburn and Schumer are joined in their talks by Sens. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.) and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), while aides in both parties anticipate that Republican Sens. John McCain (Ariz.), Jeff Flake (Ariz.) and Susan Collins (Maine) could also endorse the plan soon. McCain and Collins have said they generally support legislation expanding background checks, while a Flake spokeswoman said Saturday that he is still reviewing the proposal.

More Republican support is anticipated in part because the four senators involved in the talks have agreed that any new background check program would exempt private transactions between family members or people who completed a background check in order to obtain a concealed-carry permit, according to aides.

But the four senators are grappling with how to make the process of obtaining a background check as seamless as possible for private dealers while also ensuring that someone keeps a record of the transaction.

Senators are considering whether to establish a new online portal where buyers and sellers could conduct the background check or to allow federally licensed gun retailers like Wal-Mart or Dick’s Sporting Goods to charge a small fee to conduct background checks for private dealers, aides said. A record of the sale then could be turned over to a licensed retailer, sent to the gun’s manufacturer or kept by the seller.

The background check proposal is considered the most politically viable plan among several introduced in the weeks since the Newtown, Conn., school shooting. Schumer is facing pressure from the White House and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) to draft a bill by this week in time for the committee to consider as early as Thursday, when the panel is scheduled to meet to review bills.

Aides expect that the committee will not pass a comprehensive bill, but instead will refer individual proposals to the full Senate. In addition to the background check bill, aides expect the panel to approve a bill that would make gun trafficking a federal crime for the first time. Less certain is the fate of bills limiting the size of ammunition magazines and a ban of military-style assault weapons; those measures face opposition from Republicans and some moderate Democrats.

During a town-hall meeting in Arizona last week, McCain bluntly told the mother of a victim of the Aurora, Colo., movie theater shooting that the assault weapons ban will not pass in the House or Senate “because a majority of members of Congress don’t support it.”

Meanwhile, House Republicans are beginning work on gun legislation even though GOP leaders have said the House would not touch the issue until after the Senate acted.

“We’re obviously interested in what the Senate does, but we are hard at work on this issue right now, studying information available,” House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) said in an interview with C-SPAN’s “Newsmakers” program airing Sunday that included questions from a Washington Post reporter.

Goodlatte added that any discussion of new gun laws should come only if the Obama administration steps up enforcement of current laws.

“There are laws on the books right now that prohibit the illegal sale of firearms to people who shouldn’t be buying them, people who shouldn’t be selling them, and they’re just not being enforced as well as they could be,” Goodlatte told C-SPAN. “It would save a lot of lives if they were.”

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9 Responses to Senators near a deal on background checks for most private gun sales

  1. NunyaBWax says:

    “There are laws on the books right now that prohibit the illegal sale of firearms to people who shouldn’t be buying them, people who shouldn’t be selling them, and they’re just not being enforced as well as they could be,” Goodlatte told C-SPAN.”

    It would make a lot more sense to prosecute those involved in Fast and Furious before passing any gun bill? Any record of firearms transfers is subject to abuse leading to tracking of gun purchasers and ultimately registration. NO NEW GUN LAWS! PERIOD!

  2. Whizerd67 says:

    Seems to me that if there’s gonna be background checks made for possessing a firearm for protection, then it just follows that MY background check of public officials, and others, nullifies ANY record that you may or may not have on me.
    I will not give up my most reasonably effective means of protecting the very lives of me and my family and loved ones…as well as my most effective means of absolving the corruption and tyranny against the American citizen, if it must come to that…and it looks like it is, unfortunately.
    ANY law, bill, mandate, etc., that has anything to do with possessing a firearm by ANY citizen of this country, is null, void, and ILLEGAL.
    “But there are some people that should not own a firearm, because they will shoot someone!”. You would be correct in this statement. But how would you deter that?
    Simple…..give every individual a gun…and have MANDATORY sentencing for any negative altercation with a firearm.
    Kill someone innocent? Life without, mandatory. No ‘good-time’, no plea bargain.
    Wound someone innocent? 50 years, mandatory. No ‘good-time’, no plea bargain.
    Accidental discharge, no wounded? 10 years, mandatory. Addl,5 years for any and each person within range of being wounded or killed..for each bullet misfired. No ‘good-time’, no plea bargain.
    Making someone do something against their will by using intimidation with a firearm. Excluding arresting or stopping a heinous act? 10 years for use of the gun….15 years for ‘kidnapping”…5 years for intimidation with a firearm. Thats 30 years. Mandatory. No ‘good-time’, no plea bargain.
    If a citizen has to be the one to arrest/detain you..automatic 5 years addl, to any sentence rendered.
    Also, any other crime needs to have mandatory stiff sentencing. All of it combined….and ACTED UPON…would deter gun violence. Especially if the citizens start acting as they should, and making citizens’ arrests.
    People would take a second look at what they were about to do….and everyone else in the country, would have a means to stop you, and/or detain you.

    Sure there’s more that can be added, but this should give a good idea of what I mean.

    In summary, a background check for myself, comes with an added note…
    *middle-finger raised*
    Your not taking my reasonably effective line of defense of my life, and the lives of my loved ones. Just not happening.
    If I thought for a millisecond that it were any different in this day-and-age, then I would remit. But it is, unfortunately, that way.

    Gun-control = using both hands. (effectively and responsibly of course)

    ~Blessed Be to all~

    • Henry Shivley says:

      Wrong. You do not make a crime more of a crime just because of the tool or tools that were used in the commission. The fact is, to do so opens the door to infringement, as in robbing someone using a weapon – knife, hatchet, club, is a five year beef. If you use a gun, it is a ten year beef. The gun would be the difference and there would be additional punishment for having an implement of the 2nd Amendment as your chosen tool.
      As for jail time for accidental discharge, bullshit. If no one is harmed, then it is an accident and cannot be punished under our law.
      Living under true freedom can be a little dangerous, but how much more dangerous does it become when any one of us decides that if we could control the actions of our fellow man, we could eliminate accidents?
      This is a slippery slope straight down into the pits of hell and one we must not be drawn onto.

  3. BloodStock says:

    Prosecute Fast & Furious first and foremost. Once Holder and his gang of treasonous thieves are incarcerated,,,we’ll talk. Until then, the threat of the attempt to dis-arm the American people initiating a civil war looms. “,,,the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” PERIOD!

  4. millard says:

    As the Mose’s wannabe said, “From my cold, dead fingers”.11

  5. Rabo Karabekian says:

    Around here if you fail the background check there is a 20$ charge. I love these wild wild west gun show claims from candy assed lefties who want us to love slave chains as much as they do. A gun show here will have a phalanx of cops at the entrance checking every weapon patrons are bringing in and any sale other than ammo and non-serial numbered parts will be checked.

  6. Strayhorse says:

    I work with mentally ill adults, some who own firearms. Why do they own firearms, especially if they are prescribed psychotropic meds that could be part of the cause for their psychotic outbursts; especially when we have problems with designated prescribers running a game of who pays with state payors leaving the recipient without timely meds? Why aren’t there laws forcing the recipient to surrender their firearms immediately upon a court ordered treatment ruling? Why are law abiding citizens paying the cost of “new” gun laws when the currrent ones are not being enforce?

    • # 1 NWO Hatr says:


      They’re working tirelessly to remedy that situation.

      Thus assuring their likelihood of being hung as the traitors they are.

  7. Steve in Iowa says:

    Not that it matters, but people probably shouldn’t be selling their firearms anyway. Instead, sell the ammo and include the firearm as a “free” gift. “Buy 250 rounds of 9×19 and get this nice, new xdm-9…all for $750.” … Ammo is about to get more expensive.

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