Coburn: Bolstering background checks not a done deal
February 24th, 2013
11:54 AM ET
10 years ago

Coburn: Bolstering background checks not a done deal

(CNN) - Ramping up background checks on gun sales, which is regarded as the gun control measure with the best possible chance of gaining congressional approval, is by no means a sure thing, a key player in gun legislation negotiations said Sunday.

Sen. Tom Coburn, who is among a bipartisan group of four senators working behind the scenes on a bill to expand background checks, said a sticking point had emerged on whether to keep records on gun owners.

"I don't think we're that close to a deal," the Oklahoma Republican said on "Fox News Sunday." "There absolutely will not be record-keeping on legitimate, law-abiding gun owners in this country. If they want to eliminate the benefits of actually trying to prevent the sales to people who are mentally ill and to criminals, all they have to do is to create a record-keeping. That will kill this bill."

Coburn, who maintains an A rating with the National Rifle Association, is joined in his group by Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Illinois; Sen. Joe Manchin, D-West Virginia, a longtime advocate of gun rights; and Chuck Schumer, D-New York, a longtime supporter of gun control.

The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, was adamant Sunday that expanded background checks would not include provisions to register gun owners, but he said that responsible Americans looking to purchase firearms shouldn't fear robust checks.

"They check to see if you told the truth, and then it's cleared out," Leahy said of the current background check system, adding later that measures to register gun owners would not be part of Senate gun control legislation.

"It's not going to be registration," he said on CNN's "State of the Union," adding that Republicans and gun advocates need to "lower the rhetoric and talk reality."

"I'm a gun owner. A lot of people in my state of Vermont are gun owners. But I know last time I went in to purchase a firearm, I had to go through a background check. I didn't have any problem with doing that," Leahy said.

At the beginning of February, sources in both parties told CNN the bipartisan group was making significant progress toward expanding background checks on gun sales, including requiring checks on private sales and closing the so-called gun show loophole.

However, the sources emphasized they were trying to work through the sticky issue in a fashion that made Republicans, particularly Coburn, comfortable that privacy concerns of gun owners were maintained. They also said any bill would include clear exemptions for situations where a background check should not be needed, such as inheriting guns from family members.

These talks are proceeding as Leahy holds hearings in the Senate Judiciary Committee and is working to find common ground on gun legislation that he can bring for a vote in his committee within the next month.

CNN Chief Congressional Correspondent Dana Bash contributed to this report.

Filed under: Gun rights • Patrick Leahy • Tom Coburn
soundoff (16 Responses)
  1. rs

    As long as the GOP and the NRA are more interested in arms producer profits over lives (2,100 Americans killed by guns since the Sandy Hook massacre in December), and push the lies that guns are going to be seized, or registering guns will lead to seizures, or that we have to register "dangerous students" or the "mentally ill" (no privacy issues here) ,nothing will be done.

    February 24, 2013 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  2. bcrunner

    So, the NRA wants the government to keep records on everyone else, but not of gun owners. I am a gun owner. I have 3 guns at home. I don't mind if they have a record of the guns I own. But, even when they tell them the record wil be wiped clean, they refuse to accept it. They are trying to find excuses not to let ANY legislation happen. They better watch out.. because the next time we have another tragedy, the remedy may be a lot more... and the country will be even more united on this issue...

    February 24, 2013 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  3. Name lynn

    No one wantss the NRA an no oneelse in their bbusiness, lets know the news an the media. People are getting guns in their hands with or without back ground check. i dont blame them at all.

    February 24, 2013 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  4. HenryB

    Against this and against. Always the same.

    February 24, 2013 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  5. don in albuquerque

    No regristration equals no responsibility which is what this is all about to the 2nd amendment nuts. Too Wayne LaPutrid it equals unfettered capitalism and profit for him. Ah, yes. Wayne LaPutrid leading the stench that is filling the air in this country.

    February 24, 2013 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  6. Ancient Texan

    I have no problem with background checks, but record keeping and for how long is something that could be a questionable trend to start.,

    February 24, 2013 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  7. Rosslaw

    Well, we all know what happened when they started registering cars, don't we? The NRA supports the American gunrunning idustry in which criminals purchase weapons in volume legally in "red states" where guns substitute for a penis and transport them to urban centers to sell to rapists, muggers, drug dealers and others whom Wayne LaPierre insists should have ready access to weaponry. And Wayne Pierre travels with body guards as well-seems he doesn't think carrying a gun himself is enough protection.

    February 24, 2013 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  8. dreamer96

    requiring everyone that buys a gun, have to go through a background check, is the very least, and maybe the most important thing, we can do right now.. And stop the easy sales of guns to anyone at the local Home Depot Parking lot...

    The Phoenix office of the ATF(E) had a list of 29 strawman gun buyers, that had bought over 650 guns in just a few months, in just the Phoenix area alone, and were video taped selling those guns to anyone with the cash, and selling them in the parking lot of the local Home Depot. And still the ATF(E) still could not get the go ahead from the local overseeing leagal team, and arrest those strawman gun buyers...That is riddickulous...

    February 24, 2013 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  9. Donna

    So will all the Democrats and liberals agree to do what it takes to open up the medical records of ALL mentally ill people, people on drugs, people that are depressed or have anxiety disabilities and get them identifed and on the list of people who should not have guns? I didn't think so. Without all this being done, this is all just a Democrat/liberal farce to interfere with law abiding citizens exercising their rights under our Constitution. They are not interested in real solutions so much as they are interested in pushing their far left anti-gun agenda.

    February 24, 2013 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  10. Dan5404

    The NRA spreads extreme paranoia. There is not, and never has been a plan to take everyone's gun, but the NRA promotes that falsehood all the time, even when the topic was silent. . That is a complete lie that keeps LaPierre's and friends' pockets filled with gun manufacturer cash. Even most NRA and GOP members agree .He publicly announced in 1999 that universal background checks are a good thing, but money changes truth for some people who value their politics and finances over lives.

    February 24, 2013 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  11. Facts don't Lie

    I have to register my car I have to use to get back and forth but if I have a gun I don't have to register it. Well that makes sense to me especially here in the Texas the gun ownership capital of the country and it's baby brother Oklahoma.

    February 24, 2013 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  12. Free Man in the Republic of Texas

    Background Checks
    LOL !!! LOL !!! !!!

    emotions make good law.

    Progressives do not want to hurt the "feelings"
    of WHITE males under 30 with Schizophrenia by having
    them immediately reported to the federal gun check
    system upon diagnoses.

    Too extreme ! Too judgmental ! Privacy invaded !


    Since they are NOT reported; when a gun check is run;
    they check out just fine. The law has been followed.
    Government fails again... Children die.

    My step son after several stays in state mental hospitals
    and MONTHS (not days) (not weeks) after being diagnosed
    with Paranoid Schizophrenia
    was able to purchase a shotgun with NO problem whatsoever.

    To this day it is unclear whether he intended to use it on himself;
    or on my wife and I; or other un-armed citizens.

    He was NEVER REPORTED to the gun check system.
    So when during a full blown mental melt down; (off his meds)
    something NOT uncommon in people with Schizophrenia

    he checked out just fine;
    and could purchase whatever firearms he wanted just like anyone else.

    By the way it would have been just as easy for him to purchase
    "High Powered Military Style Assault Rifle with High Capacity Magazines."

    It took several more (weeks) of intense effort on My part;
    (NOT on the governments part) to get him red flagged
    in the gun check system; so this could NOT happen again.

    If I had NOT had the foresight to demand he sign medical information
    release forms as a condition of him returning to live with us after his third
    stay in the state mental hospital I would be S O L. So would YOU!!!

    The doctors and the government both gave me grief
    attempting to get him entered into the gun check system.

    Government will fail you 100% of the time
    most likely when you are the most vulnerable.

    February 24, 2013 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  13. Scott

    No ones turning in their guns or registering their guns, end of story. Obama and the rest of his democrat whiners need to focus on the economy.

    February 24, 2013 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  14. Ken

    I don't want a federal gun registry, but I do want document retention standards for 90 days for gun shops. Having worked in a gun shop, I can tell you that there is nearly no auditing at all by the ATF... there are only a handful of dealers doing bad things out there, but the inability to audit background checks makes it so those few dirty dealers can do shady business and give the rest of the law-abiding dealers a bad name.

    February 24, 2013 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  15. Larry L

    The longer it takes to make some reasonable changes the more the gun lobby makes in dollars. Right now those of us who hunt or shoot for fun are paying the "right-wing idiot tax" with increased prices for everything. Here in Texas people wait in line each morning at sporting stores to be first to buy ammunition. You could paint the word "gun" on a cow pie and sell it to somebody. We are indeed a red state filled with ignorant hicks. The gun and ammo manufacturers are making a killing...

    February 24, 2013 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  16. Spicy

    I don't understand those that are so vocal about no background check, no registrations, no limits on anything. Doesn't the fact that 30,000 Americans are killed each year by firearms bother you??? All I ever hear is "Don't take my guns away!" Seriously, folks, what are we coming to, selfishness expressed at the time when so many are affected by this? The fact is people are using these in a way that they shouldn't be used. And yes, some of them are law abiding citizens until they commit a crime with them. Aren't you the same folks who say, "Guns don't kill people, people kill people." and "More cars kill Americans each year than guns?" Let's register these guns as we do our cars, so we can gather facts and make sound decisions with those facts. We're 30 years behind on this issue. Firearms should not be exempt from the health and safety standards that all other products face in the U.S. If you are law abiding citizens, you should NOT be afraid of responsibility and restrictions! When something causes so many deaths, you should expect things to change, just as any other product does. If this were a disease we'd work to abolish it! Oh, I forgot, that slippery slope...good grief! Let's do something to change this. It's about time!

    February 24, 2013 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |