Thanks to the behind-the-scenes efforts of some Senate Republicans, there is movement again on a bipartisan effort to expand background checks for gun buyers, reports NBC News
It’s a small sign of progress for a crucial part of the major gun control bill the Senate plans to debate as early as next week.
Sens. Pat Toomey, R-PA., and Dean Heller, R-NV., are said to be involved in ongoing talks with Sen. Joe Manchin, D-WV., who reached out across the aisle in hopes of kick-starting the once-stalled compromise legislation.
Toomey, a conservative who’s thought of very highly by the National Rifle Association, is also believed to be in discussions with Sen. Tom Coburn, R-OK., about a plan Coburn is circulating, although Coburn’s office has denied the existence of any such bill.
Democratic leaders see Manchin’s meetings with Toomey and Heller as a potential breakthrough possibility.
At the very least, the talks represent a chance for President Obama's proposed package of new gun laws to see the light of day.
The Senate will soon vote on a bill that offers an expansion of background checks to private gun sales and makes gun trafficking and the act of purchasing a firearm and passing it on someone who is unable to obtain one through legal means a federal crime.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-NV., has guaranteed votes on an assault weapons ban as well as a measure to outlaw high-capacity magazines.
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