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. rosethornne

    If the Senate voted like an actually democratic body, then none of this would be an issue.
    Filibusters and secret holds are destroying the ability to govern.

    May 7, 2013 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  2. rs

    "register your firearms, then outlaw firearms, then take your firearms it's happened time and time again through out history"
    __________________________
    Document just ONE time that happened in the course of U.S. History. Just ONCE.

    May 7, 2013 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  3. joel

    background checks for internet gun sales will hurt internet sales.....but online sales tax won't????
    Never heard of somebody killed by sales tax. $$$ or lives. Which is more important?

    May 7, 2013 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  4. The Real Tom Paine

    wild man

    register your firearms, then outlaw firearms, then take your firearms it's happened time and time again through out history That's their agenda we can not allow it to happen to us just read the bill of rights and the constitution people and if you don't agree with them get out of our free country
    *****************
    So, your solution to the problem is to compell people to agree with your narrow, biased interpretation of the Second Amendment, or deport them? Nice that you let people think for themselves, provided its the thinking you feel is appropriate.

    May 7, 2013 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  5. MediaSELLS

    So Plan B needs a prescription in their minds, but easily obtained firearms require no paper work? Smooth one. Because, y'know... if it's one thing America is known for, it's an overabundance of sane people... :/

    May 7, 2013 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  6. NameAlbrit

    Mr:Flake will vote yes only when he will see blood from somebody close to him. Sale guns are up 35%,do you know who is buying these guns? The drug cartels, the organized crime, gangs. They are scare about a national registered .

    May 7, 2013 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  7. Jeff

    I am so happy that we have a second amendment RIGHT to own guns (just bought my first three pistols last week), and that the other side trying to control gun ownership is failing miserably.

    Time to stock up on ammo!

    May 7, 2013 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  8. Rationality

    @Brian. I don't understand how your argument (which has been made repeatedly by people like you) continues to be propagated. If we had a registry which included mentally ill people which was actually actively used by law enforcement and, additionally, if people (both professionals and non-professionals) were more vigilant of potentially dangerous mentally ill people around them, such a comprehensive system would most definitely have helped in most/all the cases you mentioned. If it helped in even one case, are we not obligated as a progressive soceity to do what we can rather than use the old NRA slogan that bad guys will be bad guys so let's just do nothing. But of course nothing seems to cure this problem better than to promote access to more firearms. If someone you know is addicted to drugs, I don't see you and your peers agreeing that nothing can be done so we might as well keep giving them more and more drugs to avoid the problem. Let's not forget that the 2nd amendment (like any and all amendments) gives rights to individuals insofar as they don't infringe upon others' rights. The free proliferation of firearms for anyone and everyone really infringes upon the safety of everyone though few seem to realize that (...you, most notably).

    May 7, 2013 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  9. vincelarsen

    I'm not sure I understand the internet background check. I have purchased several on the internet and every one of them required a transfer to an FFL and they did the background check before I could pick them up. If there's a way to bypass that procedure, I sure haven't seen it.

    May 7, 2013 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  10. Ms. Vicki

    Dare i say the obvious: This man is a flake..

    May 7, 2013 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  11. Bill

    Flake is a Flake. He also does not give a crap about supporting the people that elected him to office. You don't change your stance on one bill to negotiate having another bill to your favor. If his voters elected him to not support gun control or background checks, he should do that, not a tit for a tat. This is what America has been saying for decades that is wrong with the government. It is not our civil workforce, it is our politicians and theri unethical and immoral positions. Take care of me. I don't care which way they vote as long as it is moral and based on the needs and wants of the people that elected them. When you can't satisfy everyone, at least satisy the people that elected you. Personally, I support background checks, but not taxes on internet sales. This guy is a republican and elected mostly by republicans who are for gun control and against taxes. You people in Arizona are obviously in another world to vote someone into office that does not support your wishes.

    May 7, 2013 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  12. GUESSED

    This is no suprise to those who have been watching, the gop so badly wants you to believe they are oon board, because thats what YOU want, in the end, what you want does not matter, the ones controlling the purse strings are the only ones who he will obey, good little doggy. vote them all out, while you still can, they have zero respect for you, or our country

    May 7, 2013 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  13. Bill

    Flake will be a one-term wonder, just like Ayotte of New Hamspshire. They have been back-pedaling ever since they voted against the background checks.

    May 7, 2013 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  14. mg

    The Manchin-Toomey bill already has exceptions for family transfers.

    If he were to get this exception, anyone could just set up shop on Facebook and sell guns without background checks. "Accept my Friend Request, get a gun!"

    May 7, 2013 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  15. Lynda/Minnesota

    "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."

    I'm not a Facebook user. But this is curious (to me anyway). Do people actually post gun sales on Facebook? And no one has a problem with this? Or is Flake implying that these types of gun sales are OK ... because golly-gee ... these Facebook folks are FRIENDS after all. You know. The type of folks that would never, ever .... snap ... emotionally or mentally.

    May 7, 2013 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  16. The Real Tom Paine

    -rs

    "register your firearms, then outlaw firearms, then take your firearms it's happened time and time again through out history"
    __________________________
    Document just ONE time that happened in the course of U.S. History. Just ONCE.
    ****************
    They skip over US History and head to Nazi Germany as their example, with a complete ignorance of German history as well.

    May 7, 2013 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  17. Saboth

    "rural areas in his state and others, he said that becomes inconvenient and costly." Well, sorry if responsible gun ownership/control is too much of a hassle for some people. If it's so costly, how are these people affording $500 handguns and $1500 assault rifles in the first place?

    May 7, 2013 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  18. John

    @Rino. You do know you have to go through a background check if you purchase a firearm through a dealer regardless of whether it is on the internet or store. You cannot legally ship a firearm to anyone without using a dealer.
    The majority of people purchase through a licensed dealer. Private sales and gun shows represent a small percentage of purchases.What the misguided Senator is complaining about is because of the way the bill is written, his constituants would have to pay sales tax for the sale of the firearm because they posted it online.

    May 7, 2013 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  19. The Real Tom Paine

    Someone on here was bursting with enthusiasum over the fact he bought 3 guns this last week alone: I guess he decided his kids don't need college or a future. Maybe he's worried they might not agree with him, but, if he's genuine, that's a sad state of affairs.

    May 7, 2013 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  20. C

    Leslee

    I keep seeing "If it will save 1 or 2 people then it is worth it". But I guess when the number gets to 4 then we don't care...Benghazi

    May 7, 2013 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
    ---

    How about 4000....Iraq

    May 7, 2013 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  21. ghostriter

    Can someone tell me why republicans keep repeating the tired ol lines from last month?

    Tell us, oh wise republicans, which of the republican sponsored bills would have stopped any of the recent tragedies? But you hoop and holla about forcing one state to adhere to another's gun laws?

    May 7, 2013 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  22. lets think about this

    Let me see if I have got this right...he is catching flak for voting no towards the bill. A bill he felt was not in the best interest of the people that put him into office. His job is not to vote based on his own views, opinions, and feelings. His job is to vote based on behalf of the best interest and will of the people he represents. No matter how the rest of the country may feel, his responsibility is to his people first. Now if the majority his county wanted the bill to pass than shame on him, that will no doubt reflect come his next election, and he is an insult to the purpose of the democratic process. Otherwise, I say he did the right thing.

    And enough with the NRA bashing. Yes, they are a large scale lobby with special interests. So what, for every lobby of one type, there is one who opposes them ("Mayors Against Illegal Guns"?) Where there is a green energy lobby, there is an oil lobby, pro-choice and pro-life. This is not a unique thing to the NRA.

    @dutch/badnewz – Again, see my comment about representing his county not the country as a whole. Also, that 90% survey was done from 1000 (or so) registered voters nationwide. No additional specifics were provided, so for all I know they surveyed 1000 (or so) registered democrats. My point being you can't trust every statistic at face value, they can be twisted to create the appearance of favor one way or the other.

    Thank you all for your time. (Insert diety here) bless America. For the rest of you, 'Mercia.

    May 7, 2013 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  23. Neurotoxin

    Don't do it man. Your lifer pal from AZ McCain won his last Primary by a 2% margin only 2 years after being the Presidential nominee. I realize 2018 is still a long ways away; but if the Tea Party could do THAT – they will make you a one-term Senator with relative ease. The Dems in AZ are as inconsequential as the Repubs in CA. Be careful who you align with.

    May 7, 2013 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  24. really

    wild man

    register your firearms, then outlaw firearms, then take your firearms it's happened time and time again through out history
    ************

    Name one.

    May 7, 2013 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  25. NameWaynecincu

    Come on CNN: GOP filibuster? Get the Red State Democrats to show some courage and background check gets the needed votes. Tell both sides of the facts.

    May 7, 2013 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
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