Skip to comments.McCain emerges as key senator for expanding background checks
Posted on 03/24/2013 12:27:25 PM PDT by jazusamo
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) has emerged as a key player if Senate Democrats are to have any chance of passing legislation to expand background checks for private sales of firearms.
McCain and Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Dean Heller (R-Nev.) are at the top of a list of Republicans considered most likely to sign on to legislation expanding background checks after talks with Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) stalled earlier this month.
Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) has signaled he will likely support the yet-to-be-finalized proposal he negotiated with Sens. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) to expand background checks to cover private gun sales, according to Senate sources.
The proposal includes modifications to attract Republican support. One would let rural gun owners conduct background checks from their home computers. Another would give military veterans who have been declared mentally unfit to own a gun a process for appealing that finding.
Expanding background checks is the centerpiece of President Obamas proposal to change the nations gun laws in response to the mass shooting that killed 20 children in Newtown, Ct., last December.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has announced he will include background-checks legislation in a gun-violence package scheduled for the Senate floor in April, even though its uncertain whether it could gather the 60 votes needed to overcome a filibuster.
McCain could provide crucial Republican support because he has a "B-plus" rating from the National Rifle Association, one of the most powerful interest groups in Washington. His endorsement could bring along Heller, who has an "A" rating from the NRA.
Collins and Kirk have weaker credentials on gun issues within Republican circles. Collins has a "C-plus" rating from the NRA and Kirk has an "F."
Manchin, who has an "A" rating from the NRA, has taken the lead in shopping the background-checks proposal to Republican lawmakers, said a Senate aide.
Manchin said he is shopping the proposal widely, but declined Friday to reveal his lobbying list.
Anybody and every one of them. Im talking to everybody, he said when asked to identify targeted Republican senators.
McCain said he has discussed extended background checks, but declined to reveal any details from those talks.
Weve had discussions about the issue, said McCain. I never describe my discussions with other senators.
A Senate aide said Collins has had conversations with Manchin over the past several weeks. Another Senate source said she has been approached about background checks.
Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) said he has also been approached by Manchin. He is open-minded about expanding background checks, but shares the concerns Coburn had over requiring private sellers to maintain records.
Heller said he wants to make sure felons and people suffering from mental illness do not have access to guns but is unsure about how to implement expanded background checks.
Weve had a couple of conversations. Weve had a couple of conversations, he said.
Heller wants to make sure that expanding background checks does not lead to a national registry of gun owners.
Coburn and I share that concern only because you have to keep those records from 15 to 20 years and even proponents of the legislation say they would subject law-abiding citizens to stings by the ATF, he said in reference to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
But Heller said the record-keeping requirement for expanded background checks, which Schumer has insisted on, is a deal breaker.
I wouldnt say anything at this point is a deal breaker, he said.
Sen. Dan Coats (R-Ind.) is seen as another Republican who might support a bipartisan proposal to expand background checks. Coats has a "C-plus" NRA rating, which makes him an attractive target. But Coats on Friday denied that he has been approached by colleagues to back the Schumer-Manchin-Kirk proposal.
I dont know if Im the shopping list or not. No one has approached me, said Coats.
Coats said he wants to see the details of legislation on background checks before making a decision. He said he would oppose Sen. Dianne Feinsteins (D-Calif.) proposal to ban military-style semi-automatic weapons.
"Sen. Kirk remains largely supportive of the background check proposal so far negotiated between he and Sens. Manchin and Schumer, and he will continue negotiating for language to protect veterans' Second Amendment rights," said Lance Trover, Kirk's spokesman.
Gun-control advocates on Friday praised Reids decision to include a background-checks measure in the base gun-violence bill he will bring to the Senate floor.
I applaud Senator Reid for sending a bill to the Senate floor that includes comprehensive, enforceable background checks and for emphasizing that to be effective, any bill that passes the Senate must include background checks, said New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (I), co-chairman of Mayors Against Illegal guns. This sensible reform with overwhelming support from Americans, including gun owners will save lives and keep our communities safer.
Reid on Tuesday raised the possibility that he would leave it out of the base bill because of concern that Republicans might block the legislation if it included objectionable language on background checks.
On Thursday, Reid said he would include the background-checks legislation approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee last week on a party-line vote. That provision will likely not garner 60 votes, but Schumer and other gun-control advocates hope Republicans can be found in the next few weeks to support a bipartisan alternative to expand background checks.
A national registry is what it's all about for the gun grabbers.
Not a surprise that McCain will go along with this.
Can’t this useless old fool just have a stroke already?
McCain, Thanks for bring us Palin, now go away.
The ‘RAT Nazis using a cranky old white guy to do their work for them. A “national registry” will do absolutely nothing to stop shootings from occurring. Nothing. Only those who do a lot of recreational drugs would think otherwise.
I always suspect something happened to him when he was a POW. Not sure what but he sure seems to like playing victim to the enemy - although that assumes he actually sees the rats as enemies.
Well, he was already a disgrace for his actions. Now he and mark kelley-giffords have something to talk about. Like how their oath of service to protect and defend the constitution really meant nothing to them. Useless.
I’m betting the new “background checks” will include a lot of information not currently required. Looks like McCain is going to pull the pin on another grenade inside our own bunker.
I want to know what happened to him in the Hanoi Hilton. The guy’s a Manchurian Candidate.
background checks for American citizens to get a gun..
but none for the illegal aliens to be here...
I so despise him. I have for years. More so now.
I’ve no doubt you’re right on both points and they’re going to come up with many excuses to retain them.
McCain wasn’t just tortured by the “enemy without”, he was brainwashed and programmed...making him a member of the “enemy within”. That much has become obvious over the years. The real trajedy here is....that our system left us with no other choice but him vs. THE most radical candidate in the history of this nation. Not much of a damned choice, IOW.
The fix has been in all along. We just didn’t know it until now.
And.....no background check for Barack Hussein Obama (aka Barry Soetero).
Is safety the goal? NO. A NATIONALIZED DATABASE is the goal.
Just fired off a note to Heller telling him NO more intrusion into citizens affairs. PERIOD! Probably get the usual form email/letter back. Again.
you mean another stroke?
Indeed it does Heller, once they have your name they have all the means they need to register you. Folks tend not to order such a background check without a reason, Big government would regard makes them dangerous.
It's not like he hasn't done that before.
It was his A-4 that fired the rocket on the Forrestal's deck that damned near ended up sinking the carrier.
Thanking him for his service is thanking him for a mixed blessing...