gun violence

Senators reach deal on gun background checks

by Gregory Korte and Jackie Kucinich, USA TODAY  |  published on April 11, 2013

Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Pat Toomey, R-Pa., announced a compromise bill Wednesday that would expand background checks for gun buyers, possibly paving the way for votes this week on a key piece of legislation aimed at reducing gun violence.

They announced the deal as the Senate gets ready for its most intense debate on gun control since 1994.

“I don’t consider criminal background checks to be gun control. It’s just common sense,” Toomey said at a Capitol Hill news conference. “If you pass … you get to buy a gun. It’s the people who fail that we don’t want having guns.”

The deal would expand background checks to purchases made at gun shows and online sales of firearms. It would impose penalties on states that do not add records of felons and the mentally ill to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.

The agreement would not require private citizens to keep records of gun sales. It would specifically ban “the federal government from creating a national firearms registry” — a key sticking point for the pro-gun rights community.

The bill would also create a commission “to study the causes of mass violence in the United States, looking at all aspects of the problem” including guns, school safety, violent video games and mental health.

Background checks are currently required for purchases made through licensed gun dealers.

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