Flake willing to support background checks, with changes to internet sales
May 7th, 2013
09:16 AM ET
1 year 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. Jon

    Hi! Nice to meet you! I consider you a friend – would you like to buy this Uzi?

    What an absolute joke the Republicans are! Mass killings mean nothing to them when their NRA masters tell them to vote against a common sense measure like this.

    May 7, 2013 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  2. Tim

    Could Jeff Flake possible BE any more of an indecisive, weak-willed waffler? The man makes me sick with his whiny limp-wristed attempts to justify his vote, AFTER lying to the Newtown parents to their faces.

    May 7, 2013 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  3. reasonablebe

    seems flake's name is appropriate. universal background checks must include internet sales- and that includes facebook sales, notices of looking for a buyer.

    or does this guy really think all the people you 'friend' on your page are truly your friends- people you personally know and get together with? if he does, he's even more out to lunch. .

    May 7, 2013 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  4. Pam from Iowa

    "So sorry your child was killed today, but background checks are an inconvenience...."
    OMFL !!!

    May 7, 2013 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  5. Jerry

    We need to have some common sense when it comes to this type legislation. It's our empotions that get us in trouble with these type laws. We need to have someone stand up and say "I'm sorry for your loss" but we have to be sensible about this type law..

    May 7, 2013 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  6. Jerry

    This Senator should stand his ground on this and make them write a law that won't break the bank for all of us..

    May 7, 2013 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  7. Pam from Iowa

    Funerals are costly too...but must be less expensive than background checks according to the "Flake" !

    May 7, 2013 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  8. MC

    " internet sales is too costly and inconvenient"
    This man and his Rep friends did not find mass killings of kindergartners that costly, I guess! Let them wait for the next elections and see how costly it is going to get for them! As republican, I am shifting parties and voting for the Dems this time! This is simply because of the Republicans voting against background checks!

    May 7, 2013 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  9. S&W

    What needs to be done is to round up all of those with documented mental health issues, get them off the streets to get them good , quality therapy, medication and help, and LEAVE THE REST OF US ALONE!

    May 7, 2013 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  10. Tim

    If Flake doesn't "like the wording" of the legislation, why doesn't HE write some new wording instead of whining about it? Come Jeff, DO SOMETHING for once instead of making excuses.

    May 7, 2013 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  11. joe

    i guess the fact that dems voted no to this bill doesnt count

    May 7, 2013 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  12. scottgriz

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

    You know what's inconvenient? Getting killed by a lunatic who bought a gun from a friend who though he was stable.

    May 7, 2013 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  13. skarphace

    The NRA envisions an America that is based on the Wild-Wild-West, where you need a gun in order to feel safe and where law enforcement is corrupt because those who aren't corrupt get gunned down in the street. Only when the vast majority of people in this country have guns in their homes, all schools and other public places where children are present have to have armed guards, every drunken brawl at a bar or tailgating party ends up with somebody shot, and roming malitias take the law into their own hands, will the NRA be satisfied.

    It is all about gun sales to the NRA. The more guns the better, and the easier to get guns the better. The more deadly the guns the better. Newtown can go one of two ways: towards more responsible action, or away from it. Which way will we go, America? I am not sure I want to know.

    May 7, 2013 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  14. Sniffit

    """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."

    1. Again, without a national, standardized set of laws, the lowest common denominator rules the day. Chicago can make all the strict gun laws it wants, but when a punk can waltz over to another state and bring a fist full of cash to a gun show to avoid a background check, then it's that weaker set of gun laws that trumps everything else.

    2. Our system of government and its checks and balances WORKED. Absolute bans on firearms were ruled unconstitutional and no massive effort by scary armed law enforcement personnel to invade your homes and confiscate all guns ever happened. Why? Because the ABSOLUTE bans were ruled unconstitutional (but not reasonable regulation) and the rest of our federal, state and local governments obeyed that ruling. If the slippery slope argument is simply that everyone's suddenly going to stop obeying that ruling, that our entire system of government is going to collapse, that those in the power are going to simply declare martial law and stop obeying the rules in order to confiscate all guns, etc., then we've left the realm of rational argument AND it begs the question: what's stopping them from doing it right now? It's not your collection of rifles and handguns, I can assure you, because you're out-gunned, out-weaponed in general, out-trained and out-matched by our military in every single way imaginable. So again, why would anyone intent on doing what the NRA claims "they" want to do wait or bother with moderate, incremental steps towards more universal background checks...ones that STILL leave loopholes?

    May 7, 2013 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  15. jon

    Apparently he is very interested - in getting RE-ELECTED.

    May 7, 2013 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  16. VictimofGovernmentNONSENSE

    Someone please tell me when the politicians are going to have discussions on how to fix or lower crime. The only thing that commits crime is humans. Enact human control...not gun control...or some other nonsensitical waste of time. We need more cops on the streets and prosecutors/ judges that throw the proverbial book at criminals and set a precedence to let all others know that they had better not even think about being evil because the consequences will be severe.

    May 7, 2013 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  17. plain&simple

    It's a gun people. It's not a living thing. I laugh that gun lovers throw out the emotion card every chance they get at people who have lost a loved one. You know a HUMAN!!! Background checks help identify people who can not or should not be allowed to own a gun legally.People kill people with guns and background checks help curtail that. Take the emotion out of it you gun loving fools. People's lives are are at stake and a little" inconvenience " is ok!

    May 7, 2013 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  18. skarphace

    mikeyK: "Gun owners have compromised enough."

    Explain your claim. How exactly have gun owners compromised? On what, exactly?

    May 7, 2013 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  19. guest

    As Al said:

    It seems all democrats know how to do anymore is create useless bills 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 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  20. skarphace

    common?sense: "Everyone already undergoes a background check on internet sales."

    Huh? Private sales are not made over the Internet? Wow, that is a surprise.

    May 7, 2013 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  21. guest

    Pam from Iowa

    Funerals are costly too...but must be less expensive than background checks according to the "Flake" !

    Of course abortions don't have funerals ... so thats ok

    May 7, 2013 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  22. Stan

    Inconvenient? So is taking the time to get a driver's license. What about having to stop at a red light when you're in a hurry... definitely inconvenient. Health check-up... no way. Changing your car's oil... some other time. Home insurance... don't need it. It's all about me and it's all about today.

    Yes, being a Republican can be very challenging.

    May 7, 2013 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  23. The NRA is a T e r r o r i st organisation....and MORE JOBS has been created under President Obama 2times over than under GW Bush!!! ***FACT***

    the GOP voted in big business stating that "background checks is an incovenience to BIG GUN MANUFACTURERS & the stupid NRA"!!!

    there you have folks....short changing American little angels blood for corporate profit!!!!

    May 7, 2013 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  24. Roger

    So he is willing to move toward protecting citizens as long as it makes money for businesses.

    Typical Republican.

    May 7, 2013 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  25. Patrick

    I love guns. I love shooting. I have many guns. I absolutely HATE the NRA and think it's time to start a new gun owners lobby, one that stands for reasonable laws. The NRA is like a fascist organization. They just seem evil and against reason. I don't know anyone that supports them. I have no idea why the Congress is so fearful of them. They are kind of like those anti abortion nuts that make alot of noise and publish doctors' addresses. They celebrate every time there is a mass shooting. They are hurting this country and the Congress, mostly republicans, go along with it. Why do they hate America so much?

    May 7, 2013 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
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