Schumer: ‘Hard road’ on background checks

Speaking on ABC’s “This Week,” Schumer predicted that many of the Republicans who voted to allow debate on gun control legislation last week will not sign onto expanding background checks.

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“It's a hard road. Not all of the Republicans who voted to allow debate are going to vote with us on background checks.  So, it's going to be a tough fight to even get the 60 votes we need for the Manchin-Toomey proposal,” Schumer said.

Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), both considered ardent gun rights supporters, announced that they reached an agreement last week to expand background checks on gun sales. That bill will be considered as an amendment this week to gun control legislation that senators earlier approved on a procedural motion, 68-31, to allow debate.

Schumer has also been heavily involved in negotiations on the background checks bill. Host Jonathan Karl noted that red-state Democrats like Sens. Max Baucus (Mont.) and Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.) might not support expanding background checks.

The New York Democrat predicted, though, that an “overwhelming majority” of Democrats will vote for the bill.

“We're working really hard to maximize both, the number of Democrats who will be the overwhelming majority of those who vote for it, and a number of Republicans,” Schumer said. “The key battle is with a handful of Republicans who voted for closing debate, but haven't yet committed on background checks, even the modifications that Manchin and Toomey have proposed.”

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) predicted the legislation would not pass.

“I don't think it's going to pass. The president of the United States has allowed, each year he's been here, the prosecutions of gun cases to go down.  I was a federal prosecutor.  I prosecuted those.  He needs to prosecute the laws that we have today. They've declined every year since President Bush left office,” Sessions said.