Republicans say that requiring a background check for a sale or transfer between people who know each other would be a bridge too far. Toomey says Democrats won’t get 60 votes if they insist upon it.
“Between the sales that already occur at licensed firearms dealers, all of which require a background check, and what we consider commercial sales — advertised sales, gun shows and on the internet — that covers a vast, vast majority of all transactions,” Toomey said. “And it would be progress if we have background checks for those categories.”
Manchin also opposes the House bill requiring the universal background checks. “I come from a gun culture,” Manchin said in March. “And a law-abiding gun owner would do the right thing, you have to assume they will do the right thing.”
Murphy hinted that Democrats might be willing to compromise somewhat on the scope, saying he is committed to universal background checks, but he won’t “let the perfect be the enemy of the good.”
The House bill would apply background checks to almost all sales, with certain exceptions — including an inheritance or a “loan or bona fide gift” between close family members. Other exemptions include temporary transfers to people who need a firearm to prevent “imminent death” or are hunting.
The Manchin-Toomey compromise in 2013 included additional measures to lure support from Republicans and the National Rifle Association, which eventually opposed the bill. Those included an expansion of some interstate gun sales and a shorter period for background checks that weren’t completed — a deal-breaker for Democrats and gun control groups today.
Christian Heyne, vice president of policy at Brady Campaign, said the advocacy groups “will not allow allow for gun industry carveouts to be part of the next piece of legislation that the Senate votes on.” The bill should be “fundamentally different” than eight years ago, he said, since their movement has “only grown in momentum and strength.”
— Mary Clare Jalonick in Private sales emerge as obstacle to Senate action on guns