After establishment gun lobbies declared that background check plans being put forward by Attorney General William Barr are a “non-starter”, several Senate Republicans are “treading cautiously” according to a report from The Hill.
Barr floated this idea to GOP offices last Wednesday as the Senate faces increased pressure to do something to address mass shootings.
The Attorney was cautious in informing his Republican colleagues that his memo on background checks, titled “Idea for New Unlicensed-Commercial-Sale Background Checks,” did not have the support of President Trump.
“I’m up here just kicking around some ideas, getting perspectives so I can be in a better position to advise the president,” Barr said to reporters. “But the president has made no decision yet.”
GOP lawmakers remained on the fence for the most part. Several even want to hear what kind of legislation Trump is willing to support.
“It’s one thing to have a few ideas on paper,” said Missouri Senator Josh Hawley.
Hawley met with Barr and White House legislative affairs director Eric Ueland last Tuesday.
“But in terms of actually being a concrete proposal where you can say, ‘How do you feel about this?’ I need to see a lot,” Hawley told reporters, after summarizing his recent meeting with the Attorney General.
“My question was, where’s the president on this? Is this something — I asked that question directly — is this something the president supports?”
Many believe that this bill being proposed mirrors the Toomey-Manchin gun control bill of 2013— sponsored by Pennsylvania Republican Senator Pat Toomey and West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin—which creates a universal background check on all gun sales over the Internet and gun shows.
Groups like the National Association for Gun Rights played a pivotal role in exposing that legislation in 2013 and effectively killing it.
Toomey lauded Barr’s effort to pitch Senate Republicans on the idea of gun control.
“I think he has advanced some ideas that are very constructive, very thoughtful, and could go a long way toward expanding background checks in a way that poses absolute minimal inconvenience on law-abiding citizens and increases the chances that we would keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people who shouldn’t have them,” he said.
Democrats Introduce Expanded Background Check Legislation
Democrats are going to implement a background check which targets “extremism.”
Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy and California Congressman Mike Thompson brought forward legislation on March 2, 2021 that aims to broaden the federal background check system on firearms sales, according to a report by The Hill.
Under The Background Check Expansion Act, gun sales and purchases between all unlicensed sellers and buyers would be subject to a mandatory background check. The background checks would not be applicable for law enforcement officers, lending out firearms for the purpose of hunting, temporary transfers for self-defense, or family members gifting a firearm.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and 43 Senate Democrats have co-sponsored this bill. Thompson, who is the chair of the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, reintroduced this legislation in the U.S. House
“For years, the bipartisan House-passed background checks bill languished in the Senate under Republican Leader Mitch McConnell. Now, with Senate Democrats in the Majority, we have the opportunity to act on this overwhelmingly popular, lifesaving legislation to protect American communities,” Schumer declared in a press release.
According to a CBS News report, President Joe Biden has repeatedly called on Congress to pass stiffer gun control laws. This gun control bill will not pass so easily given how it will need 10 Republican senators to vote in favor of it.
Against the backdrop of the January 6 storming of the Capitol, such a background check will likely feature provisions that target so-called “extremists.” The ruling class has routinely lumped average gun owners with domestic extremists and will most certainly use recent events to justify encroachments on people’s right to bear arms.
Biden is a veteran of the gun control movement, as evidenced by his sponsorship of the Gun-Free School Zones Act of 1990 and the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban. With Democrats in control of all branches of the federal government, they will certainly move to pass gun control. However, their success is not guaranteed due to moderate Democrats like Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema and West Virginia Joe Manchin not being completely receptive to radical gun control that could alienate them from their more right-wing constituents.
Nevertheless, the Left has shown that it’s willing to act regardless of the political context. Keeping this in mind, gun owners must be ready to beat back any kind of gun control coming from D.C. Such fights will allow the Right to rebuild its forces and make a splash in the 2022 midterms and the 2024 presidential race.
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