Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Senators reach deal on background checks; sheriff's accused shooter wasn't supposed to have gun

UPDATE, April 11: The Senate voted 68-31 to stop a Republican filibuster and proceed to debate on the bill, which is expected to last two weeks.

Background checks on guns would be expanded to all commercial sales, but not to private transactions unless there was advertising or an online service involved, under an agreement reached Wednesday by a bipartisan group of senators, Ed O'Keefe and Tom Hamburger report for The Washington Post. The deal is expected to clear the way for Senate debate on a broader gun-control bill, but only the background check is one of few measures expected to pass.

"Background checks would need to be conducted by federally licensed gun firearm dealers, who would need to verify the validity of a purchaser’s gun license and record that a check was performed," the Post reports. "Background checks would need to be completed within three days, except at gun shows, where they would have to be completed within two days for the next four years, and then within 24 hours." Current law only requires background checks on purchases made through licensed dealers. For a backgrounder on background checks, from Matthew DeLuca of NBC News, click here.

President Obama wanted one that would expand checks to nearly every kind of sale. He issued a statement saying in part, "There are aspects of the agreement that I might prefer to be stronger. But the agreement does represent welcome and significant bipartisan progress. It recognizes that there are good people on both sides of this issue, and we don’t have to agree on everything to know that we’ve got to do something to stem the tide of gun violence."

The National Rifle Association responded to the agreement by saying, "Expanding background checks will not prevent the next shooting, will not solve violent crime and will not keep our kids safe," The Post reports.

Manchin, left, and Toomey
The deal was struck by two senators who have top ratings from the NRA. "The common ground rests on a simple proposition and that is that criminals and the dangerously mentally ill shouldn’t have guns," said Republican Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania. Democrat Joe Manchin of West Virginia said gun owners "understand this is common sense. This is gun sense. We are not infringing on their rights as an individual citizen but basically if you are going to go to a gun show you should be subjected the same as if you went to the gun store."

UPDATE, April 11: Manchin, a former governor "was not known for crafting complicated legislation" in Washington, Ed O'Keefe and David Farenthold write for the Post. "He was known for shooting it," namely Obama's cap-and-trade climate bill, in a campaign commercial. But he has built relationships in the Senate, partly through excursions with colleagues on a boat he owns with Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill.

Meanwhile, a prosecutor in the killing of West Virginia sheriff Eugene Crum says the suspect bought a gun despite being legally prohibited from possession one, John Raby reports for The Associated Press. Tennis Maynard's father has said his son had mental problems and had previously been in an institution. West Virginia does not require background checks on individual sales. (Read more)

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