Pennsylvania Republican Sen. Pat Toomey and West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin are working on a compromise proposal on background checks, according to Fox News. Firearms purchases at guns shows and on the internet would be subject to background checks but there would be important exemptions, such as between hunters or close relatives.
The NRA and other gun-rights advocates, while arguing the checks would eventually lead to a federal gun registry, also said they would be too cumbersome for the two groups – citing faraway trips to government offices and mandatory record keeping. They also say criminals would find ways to avoid the checks.
The current system covers only sales handled by federally licensed gun dealers, with gun-control advocates saying the country needs to do more to keep weapons out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill.
They also say the checks and records – now retained by gun dealers, not the government — are the best ways to ensure those would-be gun buyers’ histories are researched.
A Toomey-Manchin deal on checks could revive legislation, a key part of President Obama’s second-term agenda, to curb gun violence. The president has embarked on a fresh round of public appearances in a bid to sway Congress to approve legislation, as it appeared support for the bill was waning.