The architects of the 2013 federal universal background check bill are now contemplating another gun-control push in the Senate following the mass shooting at the Emanuel A.M.E. Church in South Carolina, reports the Washington Post.
Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), sponsors of the Manchin-Toomey amendment, expressed a desire to revisit the issue Tuesday night at a reception hosted by the Sandy Hook Promise, a gun-control organization founded after the shooting at the elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut.
“We want to make sure we have the votes. Pat’s going to have to, and I’ll work with him, to get some of our colleagues on the Republican side,” Manchin said, adding that he hasn’t spoken with Toomey specifically about what’s next.
Toomey, who was being honored with the inaugural Champion Award, echoed those remarks.
“What I’m trying to figure out is, is there something that could get the support of the 60 votes that we would need in the Senate,” Toomey said. “Joe Manchin was and is a great partner and someone I will continue to work with, and I’m open to exploring what is possible.”
He noted that nothing was on deck at the moment, “but if we stay at it I think we’ll find a way to make progress.”
The duo’s last bill, which would have expanded background checks to private transfers, including those made over the Internet and at gun shows, fell six votes shy of the 60 needed to overcome a GOP-led filibuster in April of 2013.
On Tuesday, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) called for a revival of universal background check legislation.
“Is that asking too much? Couldn’t we at least do this little thing to stop people who are mentally ill, people who are criminals from purchasing guns?” Reid said on the Senate floor.
We’ll have to keep a close eye on these two in the coming weeks and months. Given that the 2016 elections are not that far off, it’s difficult to imagine that many lawmakers would be willing to risk their necks on a flawed gun-control proposal. But we’ll see what happens.