Flake willing to support background checks, with changes to internet sales
May 7th, 2013
09:16 AM ET
2 years 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. g

    the united states is looking more and more ,like the middle east,hate religion and guns

    May 7, 2013 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  2. Sametestsameresults

    @Paul – I agree voluntary checks would be helpful, Im not sure how concientious most sellers would be but I agree citizens do care and some would use it. Now Im not sure, I want a "gun seller" knowing my personal back ground information anymore than some government agency. I already dislike my conservative friends and neighbors who preach the most about governement oversight being the ones who constantly snoop in to city records on everybody. I guess its okay if THEY have oversight based on their own prejudices and values but a government who has (in most cases) no prejudices and legal values is wrong?

    May 7, 2013 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  3. SkyKing169

    Give us a break!
    We all didn't just fall off the turnip truck!
    Republicans aren't opposed the measure out of fear that expanding background checks would put the country on a path to a national gun registry.
    They're opposed because the firearms industry and NRA pour huge amounts of dollars into their campaigns, either them or their opponents, creating misleading ads that the average person with a 6th grade level of comprehension and reasoning ability believes.
    Only a well-organized passionate grass-roots campaign can overcome that kind of money.

    May 7, 2013 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  4. alex s

    no. Internet sales stay in the bill!!. tough crap if its annoying or difficult to sell a gun on line bye a background check. Thats the price of safety for society

    May 7, 2013 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  5. JoshO

    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."

    Bloomberg and his lackies make me sick to my stomach. If this doesn't reinforce that the gun grabbers have no leg to stand on save emotion, I don't know what does.

    May 7, 2013 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  6. goosenco

    With 90% of Americans in favor of background checks...REALLY?

    May 7, 2013 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  7. grafixer

    I have a gun I want to sell. So many people have told me to put it on Craigslist or Amazon! Frankly, I won't sell it online at all – because I don't want it going into the hands of a criminal. Any responsible gun owner would feel the same way. Background checks are a necessary thing.

    May 7, 2013 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  8. mikeyK

    Gun owners have compromised enough.
    Go pound sand

    May 7, 2013 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  9. Joe Rockbottom

    All sales are commercial. No one has any idea how to tell if their relative or friend is going to become a criminal, as we have seen over and over again. therefore ALL sales must be with extensive background checks. Period.

    May 7, 2013 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  10. Larry in Houston

    LOL – – I guess "the Flake" decided to "change his mind" AFTER the Vote – – LOL – – he's probably thinking that he wants to keep his seat – in the 2014 mid-terms. I guess once they're IN, they're IN for life. I call them "Lifer's" Just like the rest of the stooges – mitch / Grassley / corny cornyn / hatch / Lindsey / McCain / & list of these "lifers" goes on.

    May 7, 2013 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  11. kojakinfla

    I guess they have to get this all done before Memorial Day weekend so they can go on another VACATION! Amazing they complain about the President taking a vacation. The current President, whether you like him or not, has taken less vacation time that his predecessor. AND certainly less time off than CONGRESS!

    May 7, 2013 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  12. Joe Rockbottom

    "Now Im not sure, I want a "gun seller" knowing my personal back ground information anymore than some government agency"

    No you don't do the check. The gun must be sold thru a dealer. You take the gun to a dealer. they do the check and hand the gun over to the buyer, Easy, not a problem for anyone. No inconvenience at all.

    May 7, 2013 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  13. robert

    Is it time for the CNN daily beating of the dead horse already? whew, time flies!

    May 7, 2013 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  14. mike.g

    ""it's happened in liberal Chicago and liberal DC and liberal NYC. "

    No it hasn't. You either have no idea what you're talking about or you're deliberately lying. Choose" – sniffit

    While I can not speak for DC or NYC, what he is reffering to about Chicago is the strict gun laws there combined with being one of the highest violent crime cities in the US.

    May 7, 2013 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  15. common?sense

    Everyone already undergoes a background check on internet sales.

    May 7, 2013 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  16. gfbf

    Gun control is just another mechanism for the progressive liberal communists to control more of our lives and safely insert their type of government. The good thing is that all democrats are not liberal. That is their thorn in the side.

    May 7, 2013 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  17. Al

    It sounds to me that Senator Flake is turning a little flakey, which does not surprise me. Guns and war, that is what makes the republicans happy and much richer.

    May 7, 2013 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  18. Junkie4Java

    I like how Flake sighted that it would be "to inconvenient". I am sure that the parents of all those children that were killed had to deal with a good deal of inconvenience also. I find that comment insulting to everyone that has ever lost someone in an act of violence with a gun involved.

    May 7, 2013 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  19. inspector

    The democrats want to ban almost every single firearm. They say they only want common sense regulation, but they are Liars! Just like health care, they knew it was going to cost 3-5 times more, so they lied to get it thru. the same thing here: Incremental bans will ultimately lead to a complete ban on firearms. The constitution means nothing to democrats. It onlt gets in the way of their socialist agenda.

    May 7, 2013 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  20. Dennis

    Just wandering, if the universal background check were to pass and I sold or bought a gun over the internet how would anyone know that I did or didn't do a background check if no records were kept?
    If no records of the background check are kept how would the government know none was done?
    If on the other hand records are kept wouldn't those records show the government who has bought and sold guns?
    How would that not be registration?

    May 7, 2013 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  21. Richard Right

    People making private sales at a gun show, that is they do not have a FFL, should be able to require buyers to fill out a background check form and submit it just like an FFL business at a gun show.

    May 7, 2013 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  22. pliny

    The NRA is doomed. And they are the cause of their own demise.

    And here is how/why.

    There will be more gun-massacres. And more. And more.

    The 90% of Americans who support 'expanded background checks' will grow to 92%, then 95%.

    And the NRA, which has backed itself into a corner by selling fear-of-confiscation lies to it's members...will have no place to go. The NRA has created hysteria amoung it's members, just to keep the cash flowing in.

    And the coward politicians will continue to bow to the $$$ that the NRA buys them off with.

    And eventually, the 90+% of Americans who want common sense gun legislation (which is NOT to repeal the 2nd amendment), will get fed up with the coward politicians, and vote them out of office.

    And eventually, we Americans, the ones who want common sense gun legislation, will prevail.

    And the NRA will be doomed.

    By their own actions.

    And I shall be very happy on that day. I am fed up with our nation being hijacked by paranoid gun-lovers.

    May 7, 2013 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  23. skarphace

    I really don't see why they are even bothering. Even it if happens to pass the Senate, do you really think a bill expanding background checks has any chance of passing the House? As the House now stands, it doesn't. Therefore, trying to get it past the Senate right now is a waste of time.

    They need to wait until the House results in 2014. If the people vote to allow the Democrats to take control of the House, then such a bill is possible. Until then, any talk about such a bill is merely to score political points.

    May 7, 2013 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  24. Mark

    Oh yea, All those crocks would go register their stolen guns the day this register and back ground check goes into place ???? How dumb do you think we are ??? This bill would make it eaiser for perverts guns to be used in America. Think just a little and vote it down and just inforce the laws that are already in place ????

    May 7, 2013 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  25. wild man

    Brian to answer your guestion no laws will prevent any crimes. criminals are criminals and do not abide by laws. look at countrys that have outlawed firearms their violent crime rate is much higher than ours. use the freedom of info act and look at fbi crime statistics as firearm ownership goes up violent crime rate goes down

    May 7, 2013 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
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