Flake willing to support background checks, with changes to internet sales
May 7th, 2013
09:16 AM ET
12 months ago

Flake willing to support background checks, with changes to internet sales

Washington (CNN) - Republican Sen. Jeff Flake told CNN he is willing to reverse his opposition to expanding background checks for guns if the Senate bill's sponsors change a provision dealing with internet sales.

Flake said the only reason he voted no was because of his concern that the requirement for background checks on internet sales is too costly and inconvenient, given the way guns are often sold among friends in his state of Arizona and others.

He said under the measure as written, if a gun owner sends a few friends a text or email asking if they want to buy their gun, or posts it on their Facebook page, "that is considered a commercial sale."

For people in rural areas in his state and others, he said that becomes inconvenient and costly.

Flake admitted that Sen. Joe Manchin, D-West Virginia, the measure's chief sponsor who is trying to revive it after a devastating Senate defeat last month, may not be able to change the language in a way that satisfies him. But Flake insists he hopes they can figure it out.

Manchin and gun control advocates need to convince five senators to go from "no" to "yes" in order to find the 60 votes needed to overcome a GOP filibuster.

The legislation would have expanded a requirement for gun background checks on internet sales and private sales at gun shows.

A Senate Democratic leadership aide said Monday that they don't anticipate or expect to get a deal on background checks in time for the bill to be reconsidered this work period, which ends just before Memorial Day weekend.

Flake, a first term senator, is close with former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, who, along with her husband, had been lobbying Flake to support expanding background checks. They were publicly highly critical of Flake's decision to vote no.

Some Republicans opposed the measure out of fear that expanding background checks would put the country on a path to a national gun registry, but Flake said that is not his concern.

"I know that is not what this bill does, just the opposite," Flake said.

During last week's congressional recess, Flake was the target of gun control group protests.

One group, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, sent a woman whose son died in the Aurora movie massacre to try to see Flake in his Phoenix office so he could see the "pain in her eyes."

A Democratic polling firm's survey showed Flake as the most unpopular senator in the country, prompting Flake to post on his Facebook page that puts him somewhere "below pond scum"

Still, he said he got plenty of positive feedback back from home for opposing the background check measure as it was written.

"I'm comfortable with where I am, pond scum or not," he said with a smile.

– CNN Senior Congressional Producer Ted Barrett contributed to this report.


Filed under: Arizona • Gun control • Gun rights • Jeff Flake • Senate
soundoff (266 Responses)
  1. Manuel J.

    I seem to recall, Chicago has one of the strictest gun laws in the country. But wait, shouldn't that stop the gun violence (sarcasm)? Oh, Oh, it's because the crooks buy and bring guns from gun-rights states (sarcasm again).

    My point, the crooks are the ones breaking the law and they will continue to do so. Making another law, without prosecuting criminals, is ineffective and useless.

    Why aren't people complaining about prosecutors and law enforcement NOT prosecuting criminals?? Just what I thought, more B.S. by Liberals and ignorant people!!

    May 7, 2013 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  2. al

    It seems all republicans know how to do anymore is filibuster any bill that comes up. Why cannot they come up with solutions and language that they can live with. What is wrong with these people?

    May 7, 2013 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  3. emptyk

    Yep, The Flake wants protect internet sales of guns to friends and families...and to the severely mentally ill and to terrorists.

    May 7, 2013 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  4. Brian

    Can someone here tell me how this universal background check legislation would have prevented Newtown, Virginia Tech, Tuscon/Giffords and/or Aurora?

    May 7, 2013 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  5. Jim Davis

    NRA 4.5 million members
    NARP "Us Old Folks" 45 million members, no decimal in this one. (Do the math and we vote)
    Quiet voting to kill my Grandchildren. Get a gun, pass the background check, anywhere, anytime.

    May 7, 2013 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  6. Dave

    Can someone explain which of the recent high-profile gun crimes this measure would have prevented? Because it looks to me like gun control proponents are just trying to take advantage of Newton et al to pass completely unrelated legislation that will stop little to no crime, but will make it more difficult for law-abiding citizens to sell guns privately.

    May 7, 2013 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  7. Jerry

    The GOP is indeed headed toward the slippery slope of losing its critical base... This is epic!!! I believe in our life time we will actually hear card carrying free thinking republicans making reference to the world NOT being flat, women being equal, and pehaps even that the universe is more than 7,000 years old!!! I know this is hard to believe and I know I am an eternal optimist but I have faith. Imagine all the people...

    May 7, 2013 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  8. darb27

    To Dutch/Bad Newz. The 90% argument is not accurate. it is a made up number from a poll taken who knows where, my guess is a major city like New York. You can't get an accurate number from that. It is just a way for this administration to get more people to say, well if everyone else says yes then I can too.

    May 7, 2013 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  9. DB Cooper

    "...the requirement for background checks on internet sales is too costly and inconvenient." Do you know what's more expensive and inconvenient, Senator? Answer: A funeral and burying one's gunned-down loved ones. Any questions?

    May 7, 2013 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  10. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    An internet sales tax bill was introduced by a republican and it took just 72 hours for the Senate to adopt the bill, while the House is poised to do so. I can just imagine the uproar in red states had this bill been introduced by President Obama! So far, there's no banner toting tea partiers in Washing calling for less government interference in our lives or protesting against this bill. Wow!

    In the middle of a recovery, while many struggling Americans rely on internet purchases to save a buck and others do so cause they can't afford to drive to a store or pay public transportation, the GOPT is at it again sucking it to the middle class and the poor, while the rich got 12 long years of tax breaks. Talkiing about socialism and hypocrisy!

    May 7, 2013 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  11. Charlie

    Another NRA lackey. Just another Politician bought by fear and money.

    May 7, 2013 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  12. I own guns

    I own almost ten guns most of them were inherited from my grandfather and I can say I would have no problem at all filling out a simple form to receive the guns. I just don't get you people, do you really think the government is going to take your guns away? Do you really think your guns will help in fighting the government if it came to that? You know they have bombs, tanks and planes right

    May 7, 2013 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  13. NYC REPUB

    This makes no sense....the internet is too poen too free...any nut or terrorist can purchase a gun there unchecked......Pastor Warrens' son, who sufered from depression did so and took his own life......Wow....talk about gutting a already gutted bill.....smh.....the GOP...huh? Sheesh...

    May 7, 2013 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  14. Seattle Sue

    I couldn't help but notice, Mr. Flake didn't change his vote until after his poll numbers toke a big drop. His principle must be , me first-country last.

    May 7, 2013 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  15. ST

    @ Leslee
    Orange and apples? Is that your comparison?
    We are talking about what could be done here, here in the country. Not as far as Libya (Benghazi). Tell me, you and me, what we could had done to save the lives in Benghazi? Have people gone ballistic? Where is the reasoning nowadays? Are we talking for the sake of talking only? or because that crazy hate-monger Sean Hannity of Fox News has said so!!!!

    May 7, 2013 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  16. Jinx9to88

    People that think they need their weapons to fight against tyranny, news flash brainiac you wont have fighting chance if the government wants to come after you. So get serious and stop watching Glen Beck and Rush Dumbagh.

    May 7, 2013 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  17. Jeff

    So with this logic that I see... Criminals don't follow laws so and will get their gun illegally anyways... then what is the difference between that and laws against stealing? Why have any laws at all if criminals just break them anyways?

    May 7, 2013 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  18. oldowl

    Right wing extremists SUCK!

    May 7, 2013 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  19. knklhead

    PLEASE GOP .. stick to the NRA like glue so you will get hammered in 2016. The NRA is a lobbying effort designed to sell guns and ammo and that's all it is. NRA no longer represents true sportsmen and women, like when I was a young hunter!

    May 7, 2013 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  20. KirkinTexas

    If he changes his vote, I hope Arizona voters remove him from office.

    May 7, 2013 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  21. Not a Lobby - A People

    I have an idea. Why not place restrictions where they belong on criminals and insane people? Why not flood gun shows with ATF agents who seek out people who are trying to find a private sale because they don't want to undergo a background check?

    May 7, 2013 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  22. alien1

    these people need to be voted out. how dare they vote for the nra instead of the people. democrat or republican, they need to go

    May 7, 2013 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  23. oldguy68

    Doesn't this also have to be approved by the House? Fat chance that would happen

    May 7, 2013 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  24. Rich

    Would you even consider voting for a guy named "Flake", seriously!? If I'm from Arizona I'm embarassed right about now.

    May 7, 2013 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  25. Data Driven

    "national gun registry"

    According to the article and at least one comment here, that seems to be the big fear among Republicans and other 2nd Amendment groupies. A registry equals tyranny, apparently. I don't see it. I, for one, would welcome a national gun registry. We register our vehicles, don't we? - has that taken away sacred freedoms? Hardly. Vehicle registration, among other things, is a tool to help law enforcement fight grand theft. The same would apply to guns, I imagine.

    The corollary to the gun-nut argument against a registry is that the government would immediately commence confiscating guns from patriots on the frontline against tyranny, preventing them from "fighting back". Well, maybe not, maybe so, but I thought Abraham Lincoln had settled the question about armed rebellion in 1865. Good luck, freedom fighters.

    May 7, 2013 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
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