by Jim Nintzel
Republican Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona announced yesterday via Facebook that he would not support the compromise on background checks on gun sales hammered out by Republican Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania and Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia. Flake's comment:
Here are a few thoughts: Manchin-Toomey would expand background checks far beyond commercial sales to include almost all private transfers — including between friends and neighbors — if the posting or display of the ad for a firearm was made public. It would likely even extend to message boards, like the one in an office kitchen. This simply goes too far.
I support background checks. In fact, I believe background checks need to be strengthened, particularly as they relate to those with mental illness. To this end I’ve cosponsored S.480 with Senators Graham, Begich, and Pryor clarifying who should not be able to obtain a firearm due to mental illness. I believe our approach is preferable, and more workable, than the mental illness provisions in Manchin-Toomey.
I have a great deal of respect for Senators Manchin and Toomey. I believe they are coming at this issue with the best of intentions.
But I will oppose the Manchin-Toomey amendment.
Sen. John McCain told CNN's State of the Union that he was "very favorably disposed" toward supporting the compromise:
I would like to thank Pat and Joe for their work together. We need to do a lot more of that. And I'm very favorably disposed towards that. Eighty percent of the American people want to see a better background check procedure. The Internet aspect of it, which I need more explanations—greater explanation of, but, look, I appreciate their work. And the American people want to do what we can to prevent these tragedies. And there's a lot more that needs to be done particularly in the area of mental health.
Gabby Giffords and Mark Kelly announced via email to supporters of Americans for Responsible Solutions that they were heading to Washington this week to lobby lawmakers to support the Manchin-Toomey amendment.
Talking Points Memo reports this morning that Manchin and Toomey are considering changes to their proposed amendment to get the 60 votes needed to break a filibuster.