Senate Republicans like Josh Hawley are Reluctant to Get Behind a Potential Gun Grab

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.