Republican Sen. Collins will support Manchin-Toomey gun compromise
April 14th, 2013
01:37 PM ET
9 years ago

Republican Sen. Collins will support Manchin-Toomey gun compromise

(CNN) - Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, became the second Republican senator not involved in negotiating a bipartisan background check measure to say she will support it, according to a statement Sunday.

She described the bill as a responsible compromise between two senators - Sens. Pat Toomey, R-Pennsylvania, and Joe Manchin, D-West Virginia - who have strong ratings from the National Rifle Association. Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Illinois, has indicated his support for the deal.

Collins said previous language requiring background checks on sales between family members was “onerous and completely unnecessary,” citing the omission of that requirement in the Toomey-Manchin deal as one facet leading to her support.

“The Manchin-Toomey compromise takes a much more common sense approach by requiring background checks only for commercial transactions and exempts family gifts and transfers,” she wrote.

Collins’ support for the background checks deal was first reported by NBC.

Collins and 15 other Republicans voted Thursday to begin debating the gun issue, helping Democrats reach the 60 votes necessary under the threat of a filibuster. Democratic Sens. Mark Begich of Alaska and Mark Pryor of Arkansas, both from conservative states and up for re-election in 2014, voted against it.

Collins is also up for re-election next year and hails from a state where gun ownership is strong.

"I grew up in Northern Maine where responsible gun ownership is part of the heritage of virtually every family,” she wrote. “I strongly support our Second Amendment rights, and two recent Supreme Court decisions in District of Columbia v. Heller and McDonald v. Chicago make clear that those constitutional rights pertain to the individual.”

The compromise reached by Toomey and Manchin - as well as Sens. Chuck Schumer, D-New York, and Mark Kirk, R-Illinois – would extend the current federal background checks to sales made at gun shows and between states over the Internet. It would also require all states to recognize concealed weapons permits issued by other states.

It has the backing of President Barack Obama but was rejected by the National Rifle Association. Procedurally, it will be offered as an amendment to the bill proposed by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid that senators agreed to begin debating.

In her statement Sunday, Collins noted the final bill has yet to be determined.

"Obviously, this debate has just begun, and this important amendment is just one of many that will be considered,” she wrote. “The Manchin-Toomey amendment is a proposal I can and will support, but it is impossible to predict at this point the final composition of the overall legislation."

Collins found herself in the spotlight on the issue after her office initially offered the relatives of Newtown, Connecticut, shooting victims a meeting with her staff rather than the senator. Collins did end up meeting with the families on Wednesday and told both NBC and Politico that she was deeply moved by the conversation.

Filed under: Gun control • Susan Collins
soundoff (33 Responses)
  1. Larry L

    During the 2nd Amendment debate Justice Stevens (joined by Justices Souter, Ginsburg, and Breyer, Justice Stevens) said:

    "The Amendment's text does justify a different limitation: the "right to keep and bear arms" protects only a right to possess and use firearms in connection with service in a state-organized militia. Had the Framers wished to expand the meaning of the phrase "bear arms" to encompass civilian possession and use, they could have done so by the addition of phrases such as "for the defense of themselves".

    These four had common sense and the others were trying to advance a political cause.

    April 14, 2013 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  2. jkane sfl the gop national disgrace party will be swept out like the trash they are in2014 ?

    There are some good gop old school but the new ones like Cruz and Rubio give the gop the bad name that they now carry !!!!

    April 14, 2013 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  3. sambo

    this senator is should think before talking

    April 14, 2013 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  4. bill o'rights

    The only suggestion on the table, so far, that could reduce gun crime is concealed carry reciprocity.

    April 14, 2013 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  5. Gil Crawford

    People miss understand "well regulated" as meaning bound by lots of laws. WRONG..well regulted means TRAINED AND EQUIPED! Try to have aa militia where everyone has a diffrent caliibur and style weapon. This is a good bill as it will stop some unchecked buyers. But private sales are still not tracked. Concealed carry SHOULD be reciprical in all states. I have to be vetted to carry so why is that not good enough state to state. Compromise. IS NOT making me register every gun so it can be tracked or listed. Or taking everything except a single shot 22. I have been in the situation where I needed my firearm and it took 20 min for LLEA to show up on scene. If it wasn't for my gun my children and myself would not be here today. If you don't like all the murders in chicago and other "hoods" by all means work to change the culture. But I will not be punished for your lack of values or family unity

    April 14, 2013 10:53 pm at 10:53 pm |
  6. Thomas

    The second amendment makes this whole thing mute and void.
    Man shoots self in infield at NRA 500

    April 15, 2013 01:56 am at 1:56 am |
  7. Will Beararms


    1. ALL: Politicians say and do things for publicity.

    2. We are not enforcing the laws on the books now as it is. In 2010, 15,000 people who were not qualified tried to buy a firearm from a Federal Firearms Licensee-–a violation of the law. Of that 15,000, only FORTY-FOUR were prosecuted: 44.

    3. Our Founders knew what it was like to exist under tyranny. They new the 2nd Amendent applied to citizens owning rifles and handguns. One of our Founders, George Washington, referred to firearms as "Freedom's Teeth".

    4. I actually agree with the person who earlier expressed reservations about a national concealed carry program. For starters, it's a reuse to trick conservative politicians into voting for this amendment-–it will never happen. Beyond that, if the populace of a given state wishes to cede their liberty to their politicians then so be it just leave the rest of us alone.

    5. Please understand the law completely before blogging or commenting. Any FFL holder must do a NICS background check prior to selling a firearm wether at a gun show, gun store or over the Internet. If you buy a gun over the Internet from an FFL holder, it must be shipped to another
    FFL holder where the buyer will go through the NICS check before gaining possession. Sales between private individuals at gun shows or over the Internet are not subject to a background check. Roughly 15% to 20% of all sales do not go through the NICS not the 40% claimed by our Administration.

    6. If freed slaves would have had access to firearms, rest assured the civil rights movement would have progressed much more quickly that it has.

    7. No law on the books now or in the future will prevent an evil person from committing violent acts with a firearm sadly. Think about it: There are more high capacity magazines in circulation now that will never be traced than there are firearms. We estimate there are over 300 million firearms in circulation as it is now. If only 5 of the 300 million firearms take high cap mags, multiply that times 5 or 7 or 10. You get the picture.

    April 15, 2013 07:00 am at 7:00 am |
  8. ronvan

    The problem, for me, is that the 2nd amendment is being used as an excuse! It has been "interpreted, abused, perverted, twisted" for the sole purpose of those who use it to gain their goals! WE constantly use the 2nd amendment as our "crutch" as to why WE can have all the weapons we want. Reality and common sence in our "rights" has gone down the toilet! How can anyone argue that having a modern weapon, capable of firing numerous rounds in a minute, compares to that of the 2nd amendment days when the vast majority of weapons then were single shot?

    April 15, 2013 07:03 am at 7:03 am |
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