Still hoping to salvage a proposal to mandate background checks for all gun purchases, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has released the following statement via email regarding gun-control measures that will debated when the Senate returns from the Easter recess:
“Later tonight, I will start the process of bringing a bill to reduce gun violence to the Senate floor. This bill will include the provisions on background checks, school safety and gun trafficking reported by the Judiciary Committee. I hope negotiations will continue over the upcoming break to reach a bipartisan compromise on background checks, and I am hopeful that they will succeed. If a compromise is reached, I am open to including it in the base bill. But I want to be clear: in order to be effective, any bill that passes the Senate must include background checks.

“The bill I advance tonight will serve as the basis for opening debate. Once debate begins, I will ensure that a ban on assault weapons, limits to high-capacity magazines, and mental health provisions receive votes, along with other amendments. In his State of the Union address, President Obama called for all of these provisions to receive votes, and I will ensure that they do.”

The proposal, which would apply to private sales not now covered by the law that requires federally licensed gun dealers to run background checks, is the one sponsored by Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York. That emerged on a party-line vote from the Senate Judiciary Committee on March 12. But Schumer's proposal has problems even for some Democrats.

For instance, West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin III opposes it. Manchin, together with Schumer and Republican Sens. Mark Kirk of Illinois and Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, tried to negotiate a weaker background-check bill. But the stumbling block came over record-keeping. Coburn, a National Rifle Association member who boasts an A+ rating from the gun lobby, refused to bend on that issue, arguing that keeping track of such sales would create a registry and that could lead to gun confiscation sometime in the future. Schumer also refused to bend, arguing that, without record-keeping, extending background checks to private sales would be ineffective. So the committee passed Schumer's proposal as a "placeholder" bill, a background check law based on the one Schumer introduced in 2011.

Schumer, Manchin and Kirk are all trying to find at least one Republican with impeccable gun-rights credentials to support a background-check law that includes some form of record-keeping that will pass muster with at least the 60 members it will take to avoid a GOP filibuster.

Originally posted to Meteor Blades on Thu Mar 21, 2013 at 03:08 PM PDT.

Also republished by Shut Down the NRA, Repeal or Amend the Second Amendment (RASA), and Daily Kos.

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