One of the most popular gun control laws being discussed is universal background checks. While the vast majority of gun buyers undergo such checks when they purchase a firearm–yes, even at gun shows, progressive readers who are unfamiliar with buying a gun–it would still create problems in any number of ways. It also won’t stop criminals from getting guns, nor prevent mass shootings as few of these killers fail such checks.
However, Republican Sen. Pat Toomey is a fan of them. He’s been pushing for such a law for a while now and he thinks the odds for such a measure are now better than ever.
In an interview Monday, Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey said he spoke with Trump late last week and that the president is still “very interested” in moving forward with a proposal modeled off Toomey’s bipartisan bill with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.). That legislation will likely have to be modified to attract more Republican support and will be more modest than the House-passed legislation to require universal background checks, according to senators involved in the issue.
Toomey echoed recent comments from Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) that the effort is still an underdog one because it’s “almost always a less than even proposition to pass a major controversial piece of legislation through divided government.” Yet Toomey is feeling better about the state of play than at any time in the past six years.
“Fundamentally, [it’s] a difficult task. That being said, the chances are looking better than they have ever looked at any time, certainly, since Sen. Manchin and I first pushed for Manchin-Toomey back in 2013,” Toomey said.
The good news is that while the odds are better than ever, they’re still not great odds. That’s good.
While it might be easy to shrug at universal background checks and think about how little they’ll impact your life–a trap I find myself falling into from time to time–don’t. The problem is that it won’t just cover the purchase of a gun, but the transfer of a gun. That means you would have to deal with this any time you tried to pass a firearm down to your kids, give as a gift, or potentially even loaning someone a firearm so they can try hunting for the first time.
It’ll be far more invasive than just making you go through a check when you fork over money. It’ll impact every aspect of traditional gun ownership in a negative way.
Toomey is fond of these checks, though. Remember that, Pennsylvania residents, when it’s time for him to run for reelection. Toomey is a Republican, at least in name, and it would be a shame if he found himself having to look for a job because he forgot his duty was to protect the rights of ordinary Americans.
It would be a useful reminder to those Republicans interested in passing gun control. They would do well to remember that gun rights proponents are more than willing to remove someone from office over that one issue. We’ve done it before, we’ll do it again.