Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Gun-bill advocates may add rural exemption to get votes, especially from Alaska, North Dakota

Short of votes to pass their bipartisan compromise on background checks for gun buyers, Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania are considering adding a rural exception, Jennifer Steinhauer of The New York Times reports.

"They are now trying to bring on reluctant Democrats from conservative states, and in some cases, members from both parties who represent a state together," such as Republican Lisa Murkowski and Democrat Mark Begich of Alaska. "One approach designed to entice lawmakers representing large rural areas, particularly in Alaska, would exempt residents who live hundreds of miles from a gun dealer."

Begich "has been cool to new gun measures," and Murkowski "voted against even proceeding to debate gun measures," Steinhauer writes. "Supporters of the background-check amendment believe the exemptions for people who live far from gun dealers might appeal to them." (Read more)

UPDATE: Ed O'Keefe of The Washington Post reports that the rural exemption might also be written to affect North Dakota and get the vote of Democrat Heidi Heitkamp, "a moderate with an A-rating from the NRA."

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