Senators Unveil Deal On Gun Sales Background Check

5:32 PM, Apr 10, 2013   |    comments
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CAPITOL HILL (WUSA9) -- Gun control in Congress: alive, dead -- and now alive again.

A bipartisan group of senators has just reached a compromise deal that could at least bring a big expansion of background checks to the Senate floor.

Two influential senators announced the bipartisan compromise on gun legislation: West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin and Pennsylvania Republican Pat Toomey.

"I don't consider criminal background checks to be gun control," said Toomey. "I think it's just common sense."

Manchin is the Democrat who bragged about his A rating from the NRA and blasted President Obama's plan to cut greenhouse gases in a campaign commercial. But he's bucking the NRA on background checks. "If you are worried about your political standing more than doing something and being involved in something, that's not who I am," he told me in a one on one interview.

The Manchin-Toomey amendment would extend instant background checks to internet gun sales and to private sellers who do business at gun shows. It would keep the records that law enforcement wants -- and many gun rights groups hate.

"What do you think the prospects are?" I asked Manchin. "Oh, I think they're good. We've just got to sell it."

Still exempted from background checks? Private sales of guns away from gun shows between gun collectors and family members. Omar Samaha, who lost his sister Reema in the Virginia Tech massacre says that's a big problem for him. He says it doesn't really close the loophole.

"This is a monumental step forward," says Senator Manchin. "And I hope people see it for that, but I can understand people who say we didn't go as far as they want to go."

The first of many votes could come as soon as Thursday. The NRA is opposed to the Manchin-Toomey plan. It released a statement saying no background check would have prevented the tragedy at Newtown.

Republican critics, including Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, are still threatening a filibuster. It's not clear they have the votes for that anymore, but gun legislation still faces plenty of hurdles.

President Obama released a statement applauding the deal, but continuing: "The Senate must overcome obstruction by defeating a threatened filibuster, and allow a vote on this and other commonsense reforms to protect our kids and our communities. Any bill still has to clear the House. So I'm going to keep asking the American people to stand up and raise their voices, because these measures deserve a vote - and so do the families and communities they're designed to protect."


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