Barr-authored gun control draft lands in Congress

by Susan Ferrechio
September 18, 2019 04:43 PM

Senate lawmakers are reviewing a proposal by the White House to expand background checks to all commercial firearm sales.

The proposal, lawmakers who have viewed it said, is similar to a measure sponsored by Sens. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania and Joe Manchin of West Virginia that has twice been rejected by the Senate over the past six years, but has gathered new momentum following a string of deadly mass shootings.

The White House draft was written in part by Attorney General William Barr, who is playing a significant role in brokering a deal on gun control legislation that can pass with the necessary bipartisan support in the Senate.

“He is contributing some very thoughtful and creative ideas regarding background checks,” Toomey told the Washington Examiner.

The proposal, similar to the one proposed by Toomey and Manchin, would require background checks for all commercial firearm sales, which encompass gun shows, online purchases, and classified advertisements.

Manchin said he had yet to view the draft. Republicans, he said, may still work to alter the details. The vast majority of Republicans have opposed expanding background checks in part because the NRA believes they are too restrictive for family and friends to transfer and loan guns.

“We are going to wait and see what the final one is,” Manchin said Wednesday. “These are just outlines.”

Manchin said the arrival of the draft has revived hopes that lawmakers can reach a long-elusive bipartisan deal that responds to the mass shooting surge.

“Republicans are still engaged in talking and that is very hopeful for me,” he said.

Manchin is awaiting a final proposal from the White House.

“Once they get to where they think they are, I’ll sit down with Attorney General Barr and the president's staff and see what we can present to our caucus, to see what we can do,” he said.