Sen. Schumer's Universal Background Checks' Bill Emerges from Committee

Tuesday, 12 Mar 2013 11:01 PM

By Matthew Auerbach

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Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., remains hopeful he can find common ground with Republicans who have backed away from his proposal of universal background checks in recent weeks.

On Tuesday, The Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday passed Schumer’s universal background checks bill along party lines, reports The Hill.

The meeting was a showcase of the divisions that continue to exist between the parties as they attempt to come to an agreement on legislation that has a chance of making it through Congress.

The bill was only a placeholder, similar to one Schumer proposed in the last Congress, as he attempts to garner GOP support.

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, sharply criticized the bill, warning that it could eventually lead to “confiscation.”

“Mass shootings will continue to occur despite universal background checks, and criminals will continue to steal guns and acquire them illegally to circumvent the requirement,” Grassley said.

“When that happens we will be back again debating whether gun registration is needed, and when registration fails, the next move will be confiscation.”

This charge drew a pointed rebuke from Schumer.

“This idea that this will lead to national registration or confiscation, I have to tell you, my good friend Chuck Grassley, that demeans the argument here,” Schumer said.

“I would hope and pray that we’ll debate the rational parts of this bill, and not say that this bill is going to lead to confiscation ... or registration.

There’s nothing in this bill — or nothing in history, since the Brady Law was passed — that contains a scintilla of truth to that.”

Schumer, who had negotiated for weeks with Sens. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., Mark Kirk, R-Ill., Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy D-Vt., in the hopes of reaching a bipartisan deal that was never attained, voiced his frustration over the lack of progress, according to the publication.

“You know, it’s sad,” he said.

“Right after Newtown there was a view that maybe the right place we could all come together on was background checks.

Because background checks, unlike some of the other proposals here, which I support, do not interfere with the law-abiding citizen’s right to bear arms.”

Grassley was clearly skeptical of Schumer’s view of the situation, notes The Hill.

“We’re told that there’s such a widespread support for universal background checks that a bipartisan bill would be on its way to passage,” Grassley said Tuesday.

“Instead, three out of the four senators involved in those discussions do not endorse the bill that is now before us.”

Still, Schumer remained undeterred in his work to hit upon a compromise.

“I’ve been talking and am continuing to talk with colleagues across the political spectrum, and across the aisle, about a compromise approach,” he said, the publication reported.

“I remain optimistic that we’ll be able to roll one out, but we’re not 100 percent of the way there yet.”

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