Background check debate pushes Toomey proposals into spotlight once again
WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) has twice-before proposed stricter background checks for gun shows and internet sales.
“There are things we can do to make our communities safer than they are today,” Toomey said during a news conference last week.
And he’s hoping the third time is the charm for what has become known as the “Manchin-Toomey,” introduced with West Virginia Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin. Republicans haven’t supported it before. But that could change, with President Donald Tump indicating support for some kind of background check reform following a string of deadly mass shootings in recent weeks across the United States. Toomey’s team pitched the idea again to the White House this week, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
“I can tell you from my standpoint I would like to see meaningful background checks, and I think something will happen,” Trump said this week.
Toomey is also doubling down on a bill we first told you about this spring. That would require federal authorities to alert state law enforcement within 24 hours when individuals – as Toomey calls it – "lie and try" – to purchase firearms.
“I am a gun owner. I am a believer in the 2nd Amendment,” Toomey said. “And I am equally convinced that a background check to determine if someone is disqualified from buying a firearm is not an infringement on the 2ndAmendment.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told a Kentucky radio station this week that background check legislation will be “front and center” when Congress returns from the August recess.
But McConnell doesn’t appear interested in voting on a measure house Democrats passed in February, known as H.R. 8. The resolution is similar, but stricter than Manchin-Toomey in that H.R. 8 would also ban some private sales from non-licensed dealers.
“If it’s legislation that has Democrat and Republican support that the President is willing to sign, then I don’t think that Senator McConnell is going to stand in the way,” Toomey said.
There is also bipartisan support for so-called ‘red-flag’ laws, that would give police the ability to get a court order to temporarily take guns away from someone considered dangerous. McConnell suggested the Senate would also consider that legislation when lawmakers return to Washington in September.