A bipartisan group of U.S. Senators announced on Wednesday afternoon that they had reached an agreement on background checks, paving the way for a gun bill to reach the Senate floor.
Senators Joe Manchin (D -W. Va) and Pat Toomey (R -Penn.) joined forces to announce they had reached a bipartisan deal that would extend background checks on gun purchases to sales at gun shows and on the Internet. Their deal will also allow all gun purchases to be tracked by law enforcement officials, a provision that the gun lobby strenuously opposes.
“This is not my bill, and there are aspects of the agreement that I might prefer to be stronger,” said President Obama in a Wednesday afternoon statement. “But the agreement does represent welcome and significant bipartisan progress. It recognizes that there are good people on both sides of this issue, and we don’t have to agree on everything to know that we’ve got to do something to stem the tide of gun violence.”
Still, the Senators’ deal represents a significant watering down of the legislation first pushed by members of the Connecticut delegation to Congress and President Obama, who traveled to Hartford on Monday to advocate for more controvertial measures such as an assault weapons ban and a ban on high-capacity magazines. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D – Nev.) removed both bans from the Senate’s bill last week once he realized that he did not have the votes to move them through the Democratric-controlled Senate, let alone the Republican-controlled House.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D – Conn.) told the News on Monday that he plans to propose an amendment that would include a high capacity magazine ban once the bill comes to the Senate floor.