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

    plain&simple your right people kill people and its going to happen with guns or with something else. I wish life was plain and simple but its not.

    May 7, 2013 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  2. penguin

    I'm in favor of background checks for all gun sales, but, face it, background checks would not have prevented any of the mass school shootings. The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is to not let him get a gun in the first place, but nobody has the guts to limit sales of assault rifles or limit the number of bullets a gun can hold.

    May 7, 2013 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  3. smackinfact

    What is next?

    May 7, 2013 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  4. Name lynn

    Flake ok all the people is asking for back ground, its all good yet the people will get guns any way they can.

    May 7, 2013 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  5. superbole

    Selling a gun should never be treated as an informal transaction – and to pick up a point that FLAKE made, why no to a national gun registration?

    May 7, 2013 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  6. GUESSED

    Your vote explains your position / loyalty, everything else is just lip service

    May 7, 2013 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  7. carlos

    no gun...no manhood.....bunch of sissies

    May 7, 2013 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  8. DRL

    Why would anyone think they could correctly determine whether their "friend" was not a risk to misuse a firearm when Adam Lanza's mother couldn't even correctly determine that about her own son?

    May 7, 2013 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  9. tangent

    Take the background check tax out of the equation, just make background checks free and easily accessible via a web page that can also be accessed via a smartphone and then make everyone do perform a background check for any transfer of a weapon or weapons regardless of whether money is exchanged or not. Give people an email receipt of the background check that they have to keep for 3 years and if there is any question then the background check database should also record a history of changes to eligibility status.

    It should be that simple, but the anti-gn lobby wants to make it as onerous as possible so it will become a de-facto ban on private gun sales. This isn't about a common sense background check, to them this is about undermining the second amendment.

    May 7, 2013 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  10. Jerry Okamura

    If a republican will not support our 2nd Amendment Rights, who will support our 2nd Amendment Rights?

    May 7, 2013 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  11. Abbey

    The anti-gun crowd lost and now they want Bloomberg and his money to continue to run negative and misleading ads that have nothing to do with public safety or preventing criminals from obtaining guns. Feinstein and the rest of the Democrats will pay a bitter price for this in 2014.

    May 7, 2013 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  12. Republicans continue to shoot their self in the foot.

    Jeff has the right name for himself(FLAKE). It looks like the republicans do not want to win a presidential race in the coming years. They along with democrats think it is just fine that people get massacred in crowds or theaters or wherever. However you look at this background check extension, if you do not do extensive background checks on criminals and or potential criminals you gain nothing, because background checks on good honest Americans will not solve the problem. What we need is a good gun owner like Sarah Palin to solve this problem.

    May 7, 2013 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  13. Correctlycenter

    ABORTION will kill more kids EVERYDAY then some nut with a gun several times a year within the US...

    May 7, 2013 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  14. bob from bridgeport

    assault on the second amendment is all the gun lobby is heard saying-but the real assualt is happening to the common sense of our comminities-if this soft enough to post?

    May 7, 2013 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  15. Eustace

    Here in Arizona, Mark Kelly has a radio ad that points out that John McCain voted for background checks – the ad urges the public to call him and thank him for his support. – While the ad does not say that Flake voted against background checks, it is obviously the unsaid message of the ad.

    Now you know why Flake is a Flake and is changing his stance on the subject.

    May 7, 2013 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  16. Sivick

    Congress is corrupt and non-functional. Get rid of them all.

    May 7, 2013 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  17. OverIt

    The more the gun lobby and its supporters fight against common sense gun control, the more I find myself unwilling to continue listening to them and even find myself hoping that what they fear most comes true.

    Honestly, I have heard enough from these people and need to hear no more. At this point, their complete and utter irrational and irresponsible approach to this entire subject has left no room for anything else but to simply ignore them and then deal with the truly psychotic ones that actually believe they can fight the government....oops, sorry, I meant "defend freedom and liberty from tyranny"!

    Ugh! I'm so over it.

    May 7, 2013 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  18. bob from bridgeport

    a great deal of the gun advocates in our country never fired thier weopons at anything other than targets and their detachment fron the actual carnage those bullets inflict must be presented in a way that reflect those horrible realities.Those of our who advocate was has probably never been up close to one to hear the screams that never grow silent with the passing of time. Worriors do not vote for war unless they are in the pockets of the war machines and it is not the children that ther are sending off to war-death is final-don`t you people get it?

    May 7, 2013 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  19. Intrepidorator

    The only reason the left wing radicals are pushing gun control is to control you. Let me rephrase that in the form of a bumper sticker so that the weak minded lefties can understand.

    Gun control is about control, not guns.

    I have all of the guns that I will ever need. so this isn't about guns to me either, it is about keeping the govt out of private lives of law abiding citizens. Not 1 of the guns that I own have ever been used in a crime, but I have used 2 of them to prevent crimes. Guns aren't the problem. None of the mass killings recently would have been prevented with background checks. Background checks are a foot in the door to your right to own any gun.

    May 7, 2013 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  20. Ferret out the BS

    Carlos, interesting you equate having a gun to being a man, I always thought it was a bit more complicated than that.

    May 7, 2013 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  21. Troy

    What you ID-10-T people still do not realize, is there was NO legislation in the gun control bill that would STOP bad guys from getting guns and shooting up target rich environments like schools. No amount of gun bans, expanded background checks, would affect those who illegally obtain their weapons outside of the law. The only thing those gun control measures accomplished would be to make it more difficult for GOOD people to obtain weapons to protect themselves with. And it would indeed create a defacto gun registry, making it much simpler for the next step in gun control legislation, gun confiscation.

    If you SERIOUSLY came up with legislation that would inhibit bad guys ability to carry out mass killings, like getting rid of gun free zones, then we can talk. Otherwise, if you do not like having a gun and protecting yourself and your family, then DON'T BUY ONE!

    May 7, 2013 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  22. dee

    The GOP needs to find out how serious the Dems are. Agree to an assault weapons ban, in return for the abolishing of Federal minimum wage, food stamps beyond 90 days and take the ax to medicare, medicaid and SSI.

    Bet you will find out how fast the Dems care more for the poors vote than their safety and well being.

    May 7, 2013 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  23. Marie MD

    I wish the flake from MN would leave her husband and marry this fool.
    The more they act as if everyone should have a gun and are against background checks Thea's semis the more they turn off sensible Americans. They are too brain dead to realize is.

    May 7, 2013 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  24. plain&simple

    If background checks save ONE life...are we better off? Was it worth it? It was if you were that life or the mother or father or brother or sister of that life!!! That's the point. If you force someone to use a knife or something else to kill with. Then you have made it more difficult to do a terrible action. When we know better,we need to do better.

    May 7, 2013 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  25. Jim

    What fool thinks a background check will stop someone bent on committing mass murder? Which is the more serious crime? Only insane people commit mass murder. What sane person would do something so heinous? If the insane person hasn't been identified as a mass murderer, then there is a possibility that they can pass a background check. Or if they are halfway resourceful, they can obtailn an illegal gun or worse, manufacture a simple explosive device. I didn't know how to manufacture an ANFO device like the one used on the Murrah Building in OK City until CNN detailed it for us. We have background checks in Connecticut, some of the most stringent gun laws in the nation. Did any of those laws prevent the Newtown tragedy? No they didn't. What we need is an enforcement of our existing laws, enhanced help for the mentally ill and the correct focus on punishing the bad guys instead of demonizing the legal gun owners. Will this be easy? No it won't, there is no easy fix. The tools aren't the problem, it is the users of the tools that need to be addressed. I wish the gun grabbers would even acknowledge that there is a mental health issue out there instead of focusing on the smallest component of gun violence, the so called "assault rifles". It's al, "Ban this, ban that" How about help these people, enforce those laws. Laws don't prevent the bad guys from doing the evil that they will do, it only addresses what happens after they are caught. If I thought this law would stop these mass murders, I'd be behind it, but it won't so I don't endorse useless feel good legislation.

    May 7, 2013 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
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