Flake willing to support background checks, with changes to internet sales
May 7th, 2013
09:16 AM ET
10 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.

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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. rs

    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.
    Wow, that's rational. Is this the logic we're dealing with? Republicans have clearly lost their minds!

    May 7, 2013 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  2. oracle

    If a car is stolen and used in a crime, is the original owner liable for the crime? Why should the gun owner be more liable than the car owner? A universal background check, a gun registry, or a ban on new "assault" weapons, wouldn't have stopped any of the past dozen massacres.

    If it's true that liberals care only about saving lives ... instead of focusing on the guns, how about we focus on the criminals?

    May 7, 2013 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  3. Vietvet

    I agree with Lisa. I am also a veteran (USMC Vietnam 66-67).

    I was a gun owner. I had a Mossberg riot gun i.e. a shotgun similar to what police carry in their police cars. I turned my gun in to the police. When one of them asked me why I was doing that I said because everyday I get little older; a little crankier; with less to lose. If someone like me snapped it would be too late for a background check. But, that doesn't mean background checks won't work to stop many fatalities. Would I have turned in my gun if I lived in a high crime area or rural area? No. But I live in Irvine, CA which is continually rated by the FBI as the safest large city in the United States. We have a very responsive police department. So, my weapon of choice, now, is a cell phone. And, with it I feel a lot safer than with my gun.

    May 7, 2013 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  4. GOP = American Taliban

    "I'm from the NRA and I'm here to help you."

    May 7, 2013 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  5. rell87

    Those that suport striping Americans of their second ammendment rights are too stupid to realize that all their rights can and will be stripped away.

    May 7, 2013 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  6. Mark

    I hope he does not cave to the constant pressure of those who think doing "anything" is better than doing "the right thing".

    May 7, 2013 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  7. California Gary

    @inspire.......for someone who is so concerned about "facts", you seem to be making up your own facts and ignoring those that actually are facts. The government is trying to confiscate guns? Really? What facts support that statement? California is already doing it? Really? What is our local rifle and pistol club using for their matches these days here in California? I'd swear they are still using guns. Dove season is big here, and I'd swear I can hear the sound of guns when the hunters are in the field. You state that California has the highest rate of gun deaths per capita in the country.....how can that be if you also say that California is confiscating everyone's guns? I don't think you would know a fact if one walked up and slapped you in the face. How about the fact that privately owned guns are much more likely to result in the death of a household member than they are to be used in protection from an invader? You want to express your opinion? Go right ahead......just don't try telling us that you are the only person in possession of the facts.

    May 7, 2013 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  8. cal usa


    First of all, no serious person is talking about taking away 2nd Amendment rights. Second, only a complete imbecile believes that a bunch of armed zealots are the only protection we have from government tyranny. This is not 1776. We have a two hundred + year tradition of changing government wiothout firing a shot. It's called the vote, and it works quite well.

    May 7, 2013 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  9. Joe Gerken

    Stripping Americans of their Second Amendment rights? None of the Congressional proposals would do that. This is the kind of simplistic thinking the NRA relies on.

    May 7, 2013 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  10. grixxly

    The 'internet' sales they are describing are person to person sales, not like something like gunbroker, which ships the firearm to your local FFL.

    May 7, 2013 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  11. yazz

    There has to be a compromise, if they want universal background checks then let there be a universal conceal carry licenses which has to be accepted by all 50 states and their local governments.

    May 7, 2013 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  12. Shuffler

    I was able to go to the annual NRA meet and saw 8 people across the street with signs. One said "Save Our Children". I walked over and told her to that I agree. If she is serious then she should join the NRA.

    May 7, 2013 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  13. steve

    flake flaked? I am for the guns bill as long as it doesn't ban high count magazines, assault weapons of any type, no background checks, and it pays me one *trillion dollars*. 😉

    May 7, 2013 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  14. Mark

    Agree with yazz.

    May 7, 2013 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  15. Scott R

    If the laws we have now were an effective tool to stop criminals from killing then I would support more laws. There are laws that prohibit felons from owning or using a gun. There are laws for homicide. But yet there are still people getting murdered. More laws are not going to stop anything. What we need is to enforce the laws and make prison a punishment. Everyone is pointing there finger at guns and not the person. I am happy that everyone here is enjoying their first amendment rights, but anyone who is willing to give up a little freedom deserves no freedom.

    May 7, 2013 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  16. larry

    that's not good enough

    May 7, 2013 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
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