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

    Sales tax for a vote on gun background checks is selling his vote. Bribery in a classy fashion,

    May 7, 2013 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  2. Jared

    Shall not be infringed

    May 7, 2013 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  3. Marc

    That man needs to be fired. He should only change his vote if the people he represents change their vote. Why do we keep sending these soft, cowardly imps to Washington?

    May 7, 2013 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  4. Paul

    A really good "first step" would be opening NICS to private citizens, via telephone or web portal, to perform voluntary checks on private intrastate sales.,

    Folks and politicians might be REALLY surprised just how many private sellers would happily perform a NICS on a buyer if they had the ability to do so without involving an FFL, 4473, a bound book and a transfer fee.

    This would be VERY low cost to implement given the infrastructure already exists, and while there's still a "loophole" in that it'd be voluntary, it WOULD lead to more background checks. If if anti-gunners were to be believed, wouldn't more background checks be better than status quo?

    May 7, 2013 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  5. Karma

    So Bubba can sell a gun to one one of the Boyz down in South Phoenix, unknown to anyone, over and over again. Glad I don't live in South Phoenix!

    May 7, 2013 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  6. MaryM

    Wow, time to vote this FLAKE out of office. No scruples whatsoever

    May 7, 2013 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  7. the turth is

    100 years from now people from this country will look back and wonder why we put up with the NRA and gun nuts for so long. When the NRA advocates keeping guns to overthrow the American government if it does ANYTHING about the 2nd amendment, how is that not the same thing as a terrorist organization?

    Just give it some time, young people, and those with half a brain will eventually prevail here over the crazies. It always happens and will again.

    May 7, 2013 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  8. mrl

    one more republican out of the party

    May 7, 2013 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  9. Lord Toronaga

    Tax guns then tax abortions too.

    May 7, 2013 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  10. Guy Smiley

    I am sure CNN would run a story about a Senator that was going to change their vote the other way – not!

    May 7, 2013 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  11. jim

    Disgusting. Throw this guy OUT.

    May 7, 2013 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  12. goosenco

    Does ANYONE remeber the ORIGINAL Red Dawn? What was the first thing the Russian Military looked for in the sporting goods store? FORM 4473...WHY? because they were able to track down EVEY gun OWNER on those lists. That is what a National Gun Regisrty can do!

    May 7, 2013 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  13. SpencerRifle

    Outside gun control groups miss the point with their actions. Senator Flake only answers to the voters of Arizona, not anyone else from any other state. And if the voters of Arizona are happy with the way he voted, that's all that matters to him. Angry people in New York, California, Connecticut or anywhere other than Arizona don't matter to an Arizona senator.

    May 7, 2013 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  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.

    May 7, 2013 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  15. elucidated1

    For Flake to use the word "inconvenient" to justify his past vote of NO. . .is just unbelievable. . .and certainly is why his name is appropriate. But just wait. AZ is turning purple and will be blue by 2020. . .so even though 400,000 snowbirds vote in AZ. . it won't matter.

    May 7, 2013 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  16. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    As far as internet sales go, I look no further than the tragedy that happened in VA Tech. That massacre prompted the state of Virginia to close legal loopholes that had previously allowed Cho, an individual adjudicated as mentally unsound, to purchase handguns without detection by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). Bush signed a tougher federal measure into law 1/5/08. We need background checks!!!

    May 7, 2013 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  17. Sametestsameresults

    @Paul – It makes sense to ban them, not for "blowing up" a deer (im not sure where you got that description) but beause they have such a high muzzel velocity they are likely to travel through a deer (if it misses bone) and richochette making them dangerous to other hunters or near by homes. I dont see where any Police Chief would be so disconnected from the reality of how a weapon works that any of your "Mayors against illegal guns" statement holds one bit of water.

    May 7, 2013 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  18. SkyKing169

    Too costly and inconvenient!?
    Are you insane?
    An individual's right to be alive trumps every other right and inconvenience.
    Vote him out!

    May 7, 2013 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  19. elucidated1

    With 90% of Americans in favor of background checks, which do NOT compromise the 2nd Amendment one bit, every single one of those Congressmen who voted no is having a hard time tap dancing right now. I wonder why?

    May 7, 2013 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  20. Fubarack

    I hope the senate takes this up again, it will never pass the house anyway, and if the senate wants to waste more time on it, it keeps them too busy to damage the country with other crappy bills.

    May 7, 2013 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  21. Alan

    debbie, its not the internet sales tax he wants changed, its how internet sales are defined in the gun bills.

    May 7, 2013 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  22. DC Johnny

    Oops. 90% of country responds well to a loaded question, not to the actual content of the bill.

    Keep dreaming, libs, while you trick the masses into joining your side with threats and falsities. The country is heading down the toilet and we have your propaganda to thank.

    May 7, 2013 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  23. Robyn


    >> Republican Jeff Flake says for people in rural areas in his state and others,
    >> that becomes inconvenient and costly to make sure gun sales are legal.

    I believe it is also inconvenient and costly to be murdered by an illegal gun.


    May 7, 2013 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  24. Richard Marks

    This will cost him his job, and it should cost him his job.

    May 7, 2013 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  25. Tom1940

    I am sorry to hear that Sen.Flake is willing to reverse his stand on gun control, as interpreted by the Democrats. Their relentless assault on the 2nd Amendment over years, is well documented. It is also without foundation nor evidence or support by the facts, that what the Democrat Sponsored Bill(s) will do is stop gun violence. This bill, and like those before it will not result in an end to violence where firearms are used. Even gun control advocates agree that the proposed legislation will not, nor would have stopped the Sandy Hook School Massacre. Sad but true. An armed guard might have cut the losses, or perhaps stopped the event from even happening. However, Legislators have chosen to go after the "inanimate object", used by the Perp. Instead of going after the potential perp, or other mentally deranged persons who(m) should never have been allowed access to firearms in the first place. Banning automobiles for the carnage happening annually on the nations highways does not make sense. Going after bad drivers, drunk drivers, etc., has been found to "cut the losses", not stop them, but cut them. We should be going after the perps, not the law-abiding firearms owners, and firearms.

    May 7, 2013 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
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