Republican Sen. Collins will support Manchin-Toomey gun compromise
April 14th, 2013
01:37 PM ET
1 year ago

Republican Sen. Collins will support Manchin-Toomey gun compromise

(CNN) - Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, became the second Republican senator not involved in negotiating a bipartisan background check measure to say she will support it, according to a statement Sunday.

She described the bill as a responsible compromise between two senators - Sens. Pat Toomey, R-Pennsylvania, and Joe Manchin, D-West Virginia - who have strong ratings from the National Rifle Association. Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Illinois, has indicated his support for the deal.

Collins said previous language requiring background checks on sales between family members was “onerous and completely unnecessary,” citing the omission of that requirement in the Toomey-Manchin deal as one facet leading to her support.

“The Manchin-Toomey compromise takes a much more common sense approach by requiring background checks only for commercial transactions and exempts family gifts and transfers,” she wrote.

Collins’ support for the background checks deal was first reported by NBC.

Collins and 15 other Republicans voted Thursday to begin debating the gun issue, helping Democrats reach the 60 votes necessary under the threat of a filibuster. Democratic Sens. Mark Begich of Alaska and Mark Pryor of Arkansas, both from conservative states and up for re-election in 2014, voted against it.

Collins is also up for re-election next year and hails from a state where gun ownership is strong.

"I grew up in Northern Maine where responsible gun ownership is part of the heritage of virtually every family,” she wrote. “I strongly support our Second Amendment rights, and two recent Supreme Court decisions in District of Columbia v. Heller and McDonald v. Chicago make clear that those constitutional rights pertain to the individual.”

The compromise reached by Toomey and Manchin - as well as Sens. Chuck Schumer, D-New York, and Mark Kirk, R-Illinois – would extend the current federal background checks to sales made at gun shows and between states over the Internet. It would also require all states to recognize concealed weapons permits issued by other states.

It has the backing of President Barack Obama but was rejected by the National Rifle Association. Procedurally, it will be offered as an amendment to the bill proposed by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid that senators agreed to begin debating.

In her statement Sunday, Collins noted the final bill has yet to be determined.

"Obviously, this debate has just begun, and this important amendment is just one of many that will be considered,” she wrote. “The Manchin-Toomey amendment is a proposal I can and will support, but it is impossible to predict at this point the final composition of the overall legislation."

Collins found herself in the spotlight on the issue after her office initially offered the relatives of Newtown, Connecticut, shooting victims a meeting with her staff rather than the senator. Collins did end up meeting with the families on Wednesday and told both NBC and Politico that she was deeply moved by the conversation.


Filed under: Gun control • Susan Collins
soundoff (33 Responses)
  1. AG

    Thank you Senator Collins for playing this leadership role. After seeing the pain and courage of the Newtown families it is so good to know that some politicians will actually do something to help create a more responsible gun policy in this country.

    April 14, 2013 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  2. Name lynn

    Susan dont talk to much, because you cant do or say nothing to stop shooting an killing an, also you cant stop the people from getting guns one way or another.

    April 14, 2013 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  3. Podesta

    Sen. Collins should be ashamed of herself for initially refusing to meet with the families of the Newtown massacre victims.

    I disagree with allowing concealed carry permits from any state to be honored in others, and hope that will not be part of the final legislation.

    April 14, 2013 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  4. Zerubbabel

    For all those that believe their 2nd amendment rights are being infringed upon, please consider this. No right is absolute. The govt regvlates all rights in some form or fashion. Free speech – try yelling fire in a crowded movie theater. Voting – try voting without registering. Religion – try polygamy if you are Muslim or Mormon, or human sacrifice if you are into Satanism. Bearing arms – try purchasing an RPG or driving an M1 Abrams tank down Main St. So background checks and registers are perfectly legal and ties in to that well regulated militia clause in the 2nd amendment – not to oppose an oppressive govt, but because there was no standing army at the time. What govt would ensure a well regulated militia of private citizens that would fight against it if they were not satisfied. That would ensure anarchy. Even the South formed the CSA during the Civil War. Please be honest and admit the real cause of the fear for the majority of the gun rights advocates – the browning of America. God bless.

    April 14, 2013 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  5. Delilah

    Thank you Sen. Collins! At last, some Common sense Republicans

    April 14, 2013 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  6. ThinkAgain: "Like most rights, the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited." - SCOTUS Justice Antonin Scalia, District of Columbia v. Heller

    Also by Antonin Scalia: The Second Amendment does not confer "a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in
    any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose."

    Banning military-style weapons, banning high-capacity magazines and requiring background checks on all sales of firearms – including at gun shows and over the Internet – IS CONSTITUTIONAL.

    And with over 90% of Americans supporting commonsense gun legislation, all that is left to ask is: Why aren't the NRA and the GOP listening to the WILL OF THE PEOPLE?!?

    April 14, 2013 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  7. GI Joe

    She sure is milking this to get all the publicity she can. Typical republican.

    April 14, 2013 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  8. ThinkAgain: Like most rights, the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited. - SCOTUS Justice Antonin Scalia, District of Columbia v. Heller

    The GOP is NOT listening to the will of the people (nothing new, I know, but it still needs to be pointed out).

    From recent history the ONLY people who matter to the GOP are the top1% of Americans and the NRA.

    A majority of Americans (including 67% of American millionaires and billionaires, according to the Wall Street Journal) want taxes raised on the wealthy; the top 1% is against it, so the GOP is against it.

    A majority of Americans support gun control – but the NRA doesn't, so the GOP doesn't.

    My source? Fox so-called "News" (not exactly a "lame-stream media" lackey). A recent poll they conducted showed a large 85% majority of voters favors requiring checks on all gun buyers, including at gun shows and private sales. That includes most Democrats (90%), Republicans (83%) and independents (82%), as well as most of those living in a gun-owner household (81%).

    Remember the above, folks, come November 2014 – and vote accordingly.

    April 14, 2013 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  9. 2012liberal

    It's a step. But this bill is all it is- a step. Hopefully we can get our congress n the blue n 2014 and get it moving forward again!

    April 14, 2013 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  10. 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 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  11. Anonymous

    The second amendment makes this whole thing mute and void. No national data base will be tolerated PERIOD. We are not going to allow any administration to pick and choose who owns a firearm and who doesn't without due process. Loaning someone a gun to engage in recreational activities will never become a felony under the country of the USA and no senate, congress, president or judge is going to tell us citizens any different. We suffered one civil war before, lets not make the same war over this basic American right. A million brothers lost their lives over the issue of slavery... Do we need to revisit that very same issue once again and pay a price 100 times greater? Taking guns away from law abiding citizens is a prelude to slavery and domination. The only solution to that sort of crime is rebellion and killing of all those willing to use force towards enslaving American citizens.

    April 14, 2013 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  12. John Bond

    The second amendment makes this whole thing mute and void. No national data base will be tolerated PERIOD. We are not going to allow any administration to pick and choose who owns a firearm and who doesn't without due process. Loaning someone a gun to engage in recreational activities will never become a felony under the country of the USA and no senate, congress, president or judge is going to tell us citizens any different. We suffered one civil war before, lets not make the same war over this basic American right. A million brothers lost their lives over the issue of slavery... Do we need to revisit that very same issue once again and pay a price 100 times greater? Taking guns away from law abiding citizens is a prelude to slavery and domination. The only solution to that sort of crime is rebellion and killing of all those willing to use force towards enslaving American citizens.

    April 14, 2013 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  13. Brian

    More innocent people (including children) are violently smashed to death from the illegal use of cars than die from a gun. These senseless killings aren't 'accidents.' These are texters, drinkers, speeders, wreckless lane changers, etc.

    These sensless slaughterings in our street happen EVEN WITH the automotive protective measures in place. So CLEARLY these do not stop the killing of 39,000 innocent people. Yet, where's the Democrat party outcry on this? Nada; it doesn't exist; not a peep. Dems don't say, 'SOMETHING MORE SHOULD BE DONE' when it comes to cars, because Democrats are hypocritical car drivers. Even though the illegal use of cars kill more than guns kill.

    Democrats and similarly minded Repubs will pay at the voting booths for the rest of my life, and my friends and family are equally PO'd about the pointless attacking of the 2nd Amendment – don't you think thugs will get their guns anyway? How's the banning of drugs working out for you?

    April 14, 2013 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  14. Larry L

    @Anonymous

    The second amendment makes this whole thing mute and void.
    ====================================
    Read the 2nd carefully (including the first phrase) and explain how it makes "this whole thing null and void". Nobody is trying to restrict the arms provided "all well-regulated militia".

    April 14, 2013 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  15. Ken

    I've never had much use for Republicans... ...until now. I find that I disagree with them about nearly everything else, but I'm happy that the members of at least one of the major parties still stands up for the 2nd amendment. And while I'll probably vote for a Democrat for my next House Representative, I'll likely be quite happy to support Senator Collins in her bid for re-election if she votes lilke a moderate. @Zerubbabel – the "browning of America" has zippo to do with my reasons for wanting the American people to have the right to be armed. Thanks for the clueless stereotyping. I'm happy to have all of those brown (and other) citizens to own any weapons that they're legally entitled to. I'm a lot more concerned about the real reason that the 2nd amendment was put into place – not having the agents of a potentially oppressive state be the only ones who have access to deadly force. If you think that can't possibly happen here even if the populace is disarmed, go pick up and try reading the books for those history courses you flunked (or never took in the first place).

    April 14, 2013 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  16. Teeeeeeebeggers

    Collins is effectivey whats wrong with the country. She knows whats right but doesnt do it cause she beholden to some dumb view of 1780s American patriotism crud from dips&&t Maine

    April 14, 2013 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  17. Robert Barry

    llarry l the people are the well regulated militia not the kings army, you read a little more carefully and shall not be infringed is pretty clear, pick and choose but it is in wrinting.

    April 14, 2013 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  18. Artie

    @wigglwagon,

    In fact, this legislation would have done nothing to stop the last four major shootings, including newtown. The shooters in VA tech, aurora, and tuscon each PASSED background checks to get their weapons. In newtown, the shooter stole guns from his mother (who had PASSED background checks).

    @Larry L,

    According to the US code, the 'millitia' includes every able-body man of military age. And in the 1780s, when that sentence was written 'well regulated' meant well supplied/armed.

    April 14, 2013 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  19. Steve

    I'm pro 2nd amendment with lots of experience buying and selling and I'll tell you that this is worthless. Totally unenforceable unless there is mandatory registration of all firearms – past present and future. Or unless the seller is caught in a sting. Slim chance that wil happen because they don't even investigate felons get turned down by the NICS after they have lied on form 4473.

    Did I say unenforceable? Gun shows: Most all current transactions are with licensed dealers – gun shows are not the free-for-alls most of you think they are. However, with new legislation if someone carries in a firearm and wants to bypass the NICS, the buyer and seller can meet in the parking lot. Cash for the gun, no names. Internet: Who's kidding whom? Put the thing in a box and ship it. Don't do anything stupid like tell the carrier what's in the box.

    None of this would have stopped ANY recent mass killing. If you want to put a stranglehold on it, tighten up what we already have. Require health care professionals, schools and law enforcement to report to the state all possibly dangerously mental ill cases. The state or fed performs a "nice and kind" investigation where they visit that person's home, speaks to the next of kin, and gets some assurance that the person is not in possession of dangerous items like firearms and reactive chemicals. The person is then added to the "no gun" list.

    THAT is the thing that would have stopped the recent mass murders. But we can't do that can we lest we trample on people's rights. People's rights. Hmmmmm...

    April 14, 2013 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  20. Tea Party Thomas

    Again I remind you. Guns don't kill people. people kill people. Use the laws we already have to punish the killers.

    April 14, 2013 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  21. My Rights are NOT a Bargaining Chip

    Larry L

    @Anonymous

    The second amendment makes this whole thing mute and void.
    ====================================
    Read the 2nd carefully (including the first phrase) and explain how it makes "this whole thing null and void". Nobody is trying to restrict the arms provided "all well-regulated militia".
    ---

    "the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

    Is there something about the word PEOPLE you don't understand? USSC has ruled it applies to PEOPLE (shocking to leftists!) and not to militias.

    I know you clowns just love to twist the language and meanings of words, but please refrain from doing so with our Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

    April 14, 2013 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  22. BigJolie

    She's from main what do you expect?

    April 14, 2013 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  23. rs

    Brian- As is endlessly explained- cars have many uses, guns but one- to kill, and they're really good at it.

    Now, for extra points, please explain how background checks affect the 2nd amendment in any way. While you're at it look at the other amendments to the Constitutions and be sure to point out any others that are "absolutes".

    April 14, 2013 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  24. rs

    Anonymous Bond-

    Sorry, until the gun nuts can explain why a background check "infringes on their rights", or in any way impacts the intent of the 2nd Amendment such simpleton logic doesn't impress- and in fact raises the question as to what do you (and your ilk) have to hide.
    Sorry, 12,000 gun deaths a year is too steep a price for what you consider your "freedoms".

    April 14, 2013 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  25. rs

    BTW Anonymous Bond- Whose this "we" you keep referring to? What group do you consider yourself the spokesman for? Certainly not the 90% of Americans who want full, complete background checks.

    April 14, 2013 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
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