Senate Republican leaders rolled out a gun safety bill on Wednesday that excludes expanding background checks to gun shows and online sales.
“It’s a reflection that we don’t want to go down that route,” Republican Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa told Newsmax. “If everyone’s going to have to do a background check, you’re going to have national registration.”
The measure is designed to draw support away from a background check amendment sponsored by Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and GOP Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania. Manchin and Toomey had struck an agreement on expanding background checks to all commercial gun sales, which supporters of gun reform had hoped would help pass a larger Democratic gun control measure.
Manchin, speaking Wednesday on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," said only nine Republican votes are needed to pass the amendment, but later told an NBC reporter that “we will not get the votes today.”
The new Republican substitute bill includes more palatable provisions, such as criminalizing straw purchasing and gun trafficking, more resources for school safety, better mental health screenings, and allowing for sales of firearms across state lines. It has the support of more than 20 Republican senators.
“This bill protects the fundamental right to keep and bear arms among law-abiding citizens,” Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas told reporters at a Capitol Hill press conference. “I am confident that at the end of the day this bill will receive significant bipartisan support.”
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