April 14th, 2013
10:50 AM ET
2 years ago

Co-author of gun compromise says Senate support an ‘open question’

(CNN) - A bipartisan deal to expand background checks on gun sales got a key conservative endorsement on Sunday, but one of its co-authors said Senate approval remained an "open question."

Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, said he was "very favorably disposed" to the compromise measure that could come up for a vote as early as this week.

"Eighty percent of the American people want to see a better background check procedure," McCain said on CNN's "State of the Union," adding the country "wants to do what we can to prevent these tragedies and there's a lot more that needs to be done."

McCain's voice on the matter is important as a leading Senate conservative. He was one of the first to criticize a Republican-led filibuster around taking up gun-control legislation. The Senate overcame that opposition last week, voting to open debate.

Brokered by Sen. Joe Manchin, D-West Virginia, and Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pennsylvania, the compromise proposal would extend background checks to include private purchases at gun shows and on the Internet.

Appearing on CNN with Manchin, Toomey told chief political correspondent Candy Crowley that he expected the measure to come up for a vote next week and it was an "open question" on whether it would pass.

Two other Republican senators, Susan Collins of Maine and Mark Kirk of Illinois, have come out in support of the measure. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, and others have been noncommittal, saying they want more time to read the proposal.

Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, who is responsible for lining up votes on legislation for majority Democrats, said on “Fox News Sunday” the compromise proposal had not been “whipped,” or counted, yet.

His counterpart on the Republican side, John Cornyn of Texas, would not say on the same program whether there were enough GOP members aligned to block the measure.

But there was negative Republican sentiment about the bill’s prospects on Sunday.

"I don't think it's going to pass," Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Alabama, said on ABC's "This Week," arguing current gun laws are unenforced.

Another Republican, Sen. Mike Lee of Utah, also said he couldn't support the background checks compromise.

"This bill, I believe, would do more to limit the rights of the law abiding than it would to actually prevent violent crime, and that's why I can't support it," Lee said on NBC's "Meet the Press."

Some conservative Democrats are also on the fence, mindful of the pro-gun constituencies in the red states they represent.

"What we're asking for is just for our colleagues to read it," Manchin said, foreseeing greater support once skeptical lawmakers learn all of its components.

Himself a conservative Democrat representing a traditionally red state, Manchin said he wasn't calculating the political risk of pushing forward with gun control laws.

While he's had the backing of the National Rifle Association in the past, the group now forcefully opposes his initiative.

Manchin was clearly moved by the families of those killed in last December's school massacre in Connecticut, which jolted the country and prompted the current drive for stricter gun laws backed by President Barack Obama.

Manchin called them "the strongest people” he’d ever met with.

“They even said, ’We know that this bill that you're working on will not have saved our children. We know that. But it might save somebody else's child,’” Manchin recalled.

Toomey also claimed he wasn't overly concerned with the political blowback from conservative voters, saying he'd let "the political chips fall where they fall."

A background check compromise is expected to be unveiled in the House this week.


Filed under: Gun control • Joe Manchin • John McCain • Pat Toomey
soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. Gurgyl

    This nation needs total "GUN-BAN LAWS". Period.

    April 14, 2013 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  2. rs

    If this law survives the Senate, watch for full-frontal freak-out by the NRA- and watch Boehner fold like old newspaper.

    Remember GOP- 90% of Americans want this bill. Do you want to be THAT unpopular??

    April 14, 2013 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  3. JoSar

    Good for Toomey and Manchin for doing the right thing instead of being self serving. If we had more of what is good for the people ideas in our government and get rid of the me,me, me attitudes we would all be better off. (perhaps in our citizens and business sector as well

    April 14, 2013 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  4. w l jones

    Under our system of government we should be able to sell one different with a hand shake. Bless

    April 14, 2013 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  5. MiddleAmericaMS

    "Eighty percent of the American people want to see a better background check procedure"

    Wow, a conservative Congressman that cares about what the people want?

    That's a first.
    :(

    April 14, 2013 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  6. Will Beararms

    Nothing in this bill will prevent another school shooting. The only thing short of Divine intervention that will stop an evil person with a firearm is a good person with a firearm.

    We place our money, politicians and celebrities under armed guard. Do we value our children more or not. In my town, our children in public schools are under armed guard and other security measures.

    April 14, 2013 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  7. Hard Working 99% and PROUD!

    Im sorry....I don't even own a gun and I fully support my fellow Americans owning them! I do not care about background checks beyond what they currently are. As long as it detours known criminals, then thats fine. The law abiding citizens are not the concern....and never have been.

    Now how come regulations are not in place to stop BIG PHARMA from pumping their poison to the population? The same poison in a CAUSE for a large amount of violence out there.

    People keep talking about guns like they are a cause of anything....but they are NOT. That is like saying your going to start blaming rocks, bats, chains, pipes, 2×4's, etc., etc..

    Perhaps those who cannot problem solve, should go back to watching problem solvers on TV that they believe are real.....and in doing so can get the heck out of the way for REAL problem solvers! People who know how to DIAGNOSE AND SOLVE problems!

    Oh and in care you don't realize it, let me help you understand.....VIRTUALLY NONE OF THOSE PEOPLE ARE POLITICIANS OR THE MEDIA!

    April 14, 2013 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  8. rs

    Nothing in this bill will prevent another school shooting."

    ______________________
    Sure it will help. Closing the gun show loophole will be big, especially in my state. Your learned helplessness though is endemic of the gun crowd: "X doesn't work 100% of the time , so we should just give up". Again- they Marlboro man with a gun? Fantasy!

    Using your logic, we should give up on the 2nd Amendment. Really want to go there?

    April 14, 2013 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  9. The REAL TRUTH...

    Funny how the right-wing is synonymous with gun rights... It's all about the extremes.. As a gun owner, I have no issues registering my "guns" with the authorities. Sure, they might one day decide to come get them, but it won't be at the National level. News of collections would leak and those guns would be hidden faster than you can say Chicken Little and Grand Obstructionist Party. Anyone who believe otherwise is being conned and needs to complete 2nd grade.

    Tyranny ISN'T going to happen in this country. However, more Columbines and Sandy Hooks are going to happen with the proliferation and ease of access of weapons that have no other purpose that to kill (semi-automatics, hand guns).

    The industry-funded gun lobby talks of mental health? They sure didn't get all the $$ they spend from membership fees, that's for sure! Many of us "law abiding citizens" consider WLP, and the governing boards of both the NRA and GOA (with a total of only 4.,3 Million members combined) to be completely crazy.. certifiably so by proposing that putting MORE GUNS into schools and ARMING TEACHERS is the best way to protect our kids???

    They would feel differently had it been any of their kids killed. Chalk it up to collateral damage in support of THEIR 2nd Amendment rights...

    April 14, 2013 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  10. Patrick in Wisconsin

    John McCain is kinda like Nicolas Cage these days. He's either got it down, like this instance, or he's completely out of his mind. I hope McCain continues this streak. He may actually get respect from me again.

    April 14, 2013 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  11. Name lynn

    John you need to stay out,of the media your words dont mean nothing ugly.

    April 14, 2013 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  12. wigglwagon

    I do not understand why it is so hard to get gun control legislation passed. All they have to do is explain that the Newtown shooting would not have taken place if this legislation had already been in effect.

    April 14, 2013 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  13. Anonymous

    @Will Beararms

    Nothing in this bill will prevent another school shooting. The only thing short of Divine intervention that will stop an evil person with a firearm is a good person with a firearm.

    We place our money, politicians and celebrities under armed guard. Do we value our children more or not. In my town, our children in public schools are under armed guard and other security measures.
    ===============================
    N.R.A. sound-bites. Efforts to prevent the "bad person" from having the gun will produce results if the gun lobby doesn't work to water-down the laws. It's important to note that many far-right wingers who constantly talk about a "2nd Amendment solution" consider themselves the "good people with a gun". Who decides?

    I've lived in countries where armed guards were used for everything – from schools to private homes. We would no longer be the America that some of us still love if we slipped to that level.

    April 14, 2013 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  14. Pete

    McCain can't back down from this gun control deal and if he does he'll lose all credibility ..And republicans the ones that with some Dems are in the pockets of the gun manufacture lobbyists can't change or these same lobbyists will quit feeding monies to their hungry,greedy reps..So its at a political crossroads with voting it through or rebel against it but the way things are going republicans things can't get much worse for you can it!!

    April 14, 2013 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  15. Name Uche Agonsi

    Like hell Sen McCain's endorsements cause discomforts. He backed Sen Kerry's nomination & US foreign policy manoeuvres are like offshoots from early 50s political era...listing of human right offenders, unnecessary muscle-flexing/posturings, etc....his moves look so predictable....and completely devoid of modern diplomatic architecture. AND for gun issue, what America should desire is comprehensive gun control laws that would create unfriendly environment for gun crimes, not half-measures/compromises. No law has ever 'prevented' any crime, but assists in erecting justice. If 80% of Americans support gun control, what is this talk of political backlash from Red States politicians. ........For existing laws having enforcement problems, my condolence goes to US Congress.

    April 14, 2013 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  16. ThinkAgain: Like most rights, the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited. - SCOTUS Justice Antonin Scalia, District of Columbia v. Heller

    @Will Beararms: Yours is a typical strawman GOP/NRA argument. Money, politicians and celebrities are much higher targets than the children in school.

    BTW, all public schools have security measures of some kind, including police that either patrol the area or are specifically assigned to a school (usually middle school or high school) as security resource officers. So yes, we do value children – and you're an idiot to not see that this stance by the NRA is just another ploy to boost gun sales.

    April 14, 2013 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  17. GI Joe

    They don't listen to citizens – they listen to $$$$$$$.

    April 14, 2013 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  18. 2012liberal

    Adam lanza couldnt have killed all those ppl and children if the awb would have been extended or made permenant. Nancy bought that gun after awb was lifted. Enough said.

    April 14, 2013 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |