Report: Deal Reached On Expanded Gun Background Checks

It appears that  a deal had been reached that would expand the law mandating background checks for gun purchases:

A bipartisan group of senators has struck a deal to expand gun background checks to all commercial sales — whether at gun shows, via the Internet or in any circumstance involving paid advertising, according to Senate aides familiar with the talks.

The proposed agreement would be more stringent than current law, which requires checks only when purchases are made through a licensed dealer, but less strict than the requirements originally sought by President Obama and congressional Democrats, who were seeking to expand background checks to nearly every kind of sale.

The agreement should secure enough bipartisan support to allow the Senate debate on an overarching bill that would expand background checks, make gun trafficking a federal crime for the first time and bolster federal funding for school security plans. Senate Democratic leaders have said they will permit senators of both parties to introduce amendments to the measure.

The deal on background checks was struck by Sens. Joe Manchin III (D-W. Va.), Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and Patrick Toomey (R-Pa.), who will introduce the proposal as an amendment to the current gun bill under consideration in the Senate, aides said.

The group plan to make a formal announcement at approximately 11 a.m. ET Wednesday. Before the announcement, Schumer is calling key players in the gun debate, including New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (I), to inform them of the details of the agreement, according to aides.

The Senate has scheduled a vote for Thursday that would formally start the debate, launching the most wide-ranging and ambitious battle over gun control on Capitol Hill in 20 years.

The devil is in the details, of course, but on the surface this seems like a reasonable proposal to means. Which probably means the GOP Senators calling for a filibuster of any gun bill will oppose it.

FILED UNDER: Congress, Guns and Gun Control, US Politics, , , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. C. Clavin says:

    Wow…Congress may actually pass something over 90% of the country agrees on.
    I’m shocked, shocked.

  2. Ben says:

    Until we know the details of what the compromise actually is, I’m going to assume the Democrats got buffalo’d, because that’s what they always do.

    Will McAvoy got it right in the pilot to “The Newsroom” when he said, “If liberals are so goddamned smart, then how come they lose so fucking much”. And I agree with that, as a liberal myself.

  3. Politics is the art of compromise. You can’t always get what you want.

  4. Gromitt Gunn says:

    And in response to the “why waste time trying to introduce legislation that you know won’t pass?” gentleman on the other gun thread – this is why. The act of staking your claim sets the potential groundwork for a compromise that otherwise would never be considered.

  5. Ben says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Agreed. I just wish the Democrats wouldn’t open with a position that is already an over-halfway compromise to what the Republicans want. Obama is famous for this tactic.

  6. C. Clavin says:

    “…Obama is famous for this tactic…”

    But Obama has gotten healthcare reform, the Bush tax cuts expired for the rich, and now (it looks like) backround checks and immigration reform.
    All against a reflexively opposed opposition party.
    Maybe his tactics are not as bad as you assume?
    I’m not in love with everything he has done…but I’m an adult and do not expect to get everything I want. Doug is right…it’s about compromise.

  7. JKB says:

    Darn right the devil’s in the details. On its face, it looks like the bill proposes what is already law.

  8. stonetools says:

    If Obama gets any effective gun safety legislation passed, it will be a minor miracle. I’m with C. Calvin, better something rather than nothing.Heck, Doug is on record as saying that Obama wouldn’t even get anything out the Senate, so Obama is already doing better than many thought.

  9. J-Dub says:

    Seems to do nothing about straw purchases which seems to me to be the real problem. According to the article below, stolen guns account for only 10-15% of those used in crimes. The rest were bought legally and then transferred to criminals illegally.

  10. wr says:

    @JKB: Shorter JKB: “Whatever they pass, I’m going to claim it’s a win for my side.’

  11. Rob in CT says:

    I’ll take even incremental improvement, don’t get me wrong, but it sounds like this has holes in it wide enough to drive a truckload of guns through it…

  12. matt says:

    @J-Dub: I’ve been ranting about our need to fully prosecute straw buyers instead of slapping them on the wrist or nothing at all.

    So since this would of had no effect on any of the mass shootings last year I fully expect the gun nutters to be screaming for more.

  13. grumpy realist says:

    I think this all boils down to one question: do we assume that you are a fine, upstanding citizen who knows how to use a gun responsibly until you show yourself differently, or do we insist that you demonstrate a modicum of intelligence/responsibility/self-control/familiarity with guns before we allow you to purchase one?

    Considering how much damage an individual can do with a gun, why do we not treat guns like all other pieces of dangerous equipment? We don’t allow people out on the roads with a car until they’ve demonstrated they can use them responsibly, and we don’t allow people to pilot airplanes until a similar level of expertise has been shown. So why is it so different for guns?

  14. matt says:

    @grumpy realist: You know I think a lot of gun owners agree with you. The problem boils down to the fact that there’s a sizable chunk of the left that is itching to get rid of every gun in existence. This is a problem because there are Democrats actually proposing and introducing laws that would result in the direct confiscation of a variety of semi-automatic firearms which includes hunting rifles. California recently had a bill that would of voided the exemptions that were handed out as part of the registration process for some guns. That would of resulted in a defacto confiscation of a variety of rifles including hunting rifles. Reasonable gun owners look at this and they can’t help but be leary of would otherwise be considered common sense legislation.

    If I knew the Democrats wouldn’t abuse it I’d be all about requiring a license to own a firearm, mandatory safety training and more.