Intelligencer Journal/Lancaster New Era
Senators eye compromise on gun-sale background checks
BY ALAN FRAM, Associated Press
WASHINGTON -- A bipartisan quartet of senators, including two National Rifle Association members and two with "F" ratings from the potent firearms lobby, are quietly trying to find a compromise on expanding the requirement for gun-sale background checks.
A deal, given a good chance by several participants and lobbyists, could add formidable political momentum to one of the key elements of President Barack Obama's gun control plan. Currently, background checks are required only for sales by the nation's 55,000 federally licensed gun dealers, but not for gun show, person-to-person sales or other private transactions.
The senators' talks have included discussions about ways to encourage states to make more mental health records available to the national system and the types of transactions that might be exempted from background checks, such as sales among relatives or to those who have permits to carry concealed weapons, said people who spoke anonymously because they were not authorized to describe the negotiations publicly.
The private discussions involve liberal Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York, who is the No. 3 Senate Democratic leader; West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, an NRA member and one of the chamber's more moderate Democrats; Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., another NRA member and one of the more conservative lawmakers in Congress; and moderate GOP Sen. Mark Kirk of Illinois.
Polls show that requiring background checks for nearly all gun purchases has more public support than Obama's proposals to ban assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines, and it is among those given the best chance of enactment.