Senators confident gun control measure will be heard

Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) (R) and Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.VA) (L) hold a news conference on background checks for firearms on Capitol Hill in Washington April 10, 2013. REUTERS/Gary Cameron (UNITED
Sens. Pat Toomey (R-PA), right, and Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) hold a news conference on background checks for firearms on Capitol Hill in Washington on Wednesday. Credit: Reuters

Two senators who brokered a breakthrough deal to expand background checks on gun buyers said they expected to defeat efforts to block the bill as the Senate takes up its first vote on gun-control legislation Thursday.

The Senate is scheduled to vote on whether to begin debate on the bill, as more than a dozen Republicans have threatened a filibuster aimed at preventing consideration of any gun restrictions.

“I think we’ll get there. That’s a 60-vote threshold,” Pat Toomey told CBS’s “This Morning.” On Wednesday, the Pennsylvania Republican announced the agreement with Democrat Joe Manchin of West Virginia aimed at keeping guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill.

The Democratic-led chamber is expected to defeat conservative Republicans’ efforts to block the legislation, which aims to expand criminal background checks of gun buyers to include sales made at gun shows and online.

Public opinion polls show up to 90 percent of Americans favor expanded background checks in the aftermath of the December massacre of 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. But the legislation faces weeks of expected debate in the Senate and likely will get a cooler reception in the Republican-led House of Representatives.

Amendments also could make it unpalatable to some senators who now support it, including Toomey, who said he would not back any additions that would curb law-abiding gun owners’ rights.

“I think they’ll all fail,” he said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

Many Democrats, including President Barack Obama, and gun-control advocates have been pressing for renewal of the ban on military-type assault weapons and limits on high-capacity magazines. Gun rights groups have aggressively lobbied against any restrictions.

Any final bill out of the Senate could also include increased school security and tighter restrictions on gun trafficking.


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