NRA rejects deal on background checks

The National Rifle Association (NRA) on Wednesday immediately rejected a bipartisan Senate duo’s proposal to expand background checks.

“Expanding background checks at gun shows will not prevent the next shooting, will not solve violent crime and will not keep our kids safe in schools,” a spokesman for the group said in a statement.

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Republican Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) and Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) unveiled a deal on Wednesday to expand background checks for gun purchases. Manchin said he and Toomey had been “in dialogue” with the NRA throughout the negotiations, but said he wouldn’t speculate on how the group felt about the final product.

While the NRA says the proposal will do nothing to decrease gun violence, the group said it was a step back from the “universal” background checks the White House said it wants.

“While the overwhelming rejection of President Obama and Mayor Bloomberg's ‘universal’ background check agenda is a positive development, we have a broken mental health system that is not going to be fixed with more background checks at gun shows,” the spokesman said. “The sad truth is that no background check would have prevented the tragedy in Newtown, Aurora or Tucson.”

The Senate proposal would close the so-called gun show loophole and require background checks and record keeping for firearms purchased at a gun show, online or through a classified ad. Failure to meet the background-check requirements would be classified as a felony.

However, the bill exempts gun sales between friends and family – a key demand for Republicans.

Toomey said the deal he negotiated with Manchin would make it less likely that criminals and the mentally ill would obtain weapons.

The NRA argued that Obama should turn his attention to the high frequency of gun violence in his hometown of Chicago.

“We need a serious and meaningful solution that addresses crime in cities like Chicago, addresses mental health deficiencies, while at the same time protecting the rights of those of us who are not a danger to anyone,” the group said. “President Obama should be as committed to dealing with the gang problem that is tormenting honest people in his hometown as he is to blaming law-abiding gun owners for the acts of psychopathic murderers.”