The Senate gun reform bill would expand background checks on gun purchases, create new penalties on straw purchases and include new funding for school security.
McConnell expressed concern with Sen. Charles Schumer’s (D-N.Y.) provision extending background checks. Republicans have said the bill could create a federal registry of gun owners and make it harder for family members to transfer firearms.
“The following offenses would now be federal crimes: An uncle giving his nephew a hunting rifle for Christmas, a niece giving her aunt a handgun for protection,” McConnell said. “These people I’m describing are not criminals. ... But the Schumer bill would outlaw these transfers, and it would make people like these, criminals.”
Reid said that the first amendment considered would be a new deal on background checks from Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.).
Manchin and Toomey’s deal would expand background checks to cover all sales at gun shows and over the Internet. Those background checks would have to be accompanied by records proving to law enforcement officials they took place. It would exempt gun sales and transfers between friends and acquaintances, and explicitly bans the federal government from creating a national firearms registry.
Reid said he hoped that if cloture is invoked at 11 a.m. on Thursday, Republicans would immediately allow a vote on the actual motion to proceed so that senators could start legislating before the weekend.
“I’m pleased that a number of reasonable Republicans have joined Democrats to invoke cloture so we can start debate,” Reid said Thursday. “I’m hopeful we’ll be able to debate and work on reasonable amendments.”
A group of GOP senators, lead by Sens. Mike Lee (Utah), Rand Paul (Ky.) and Ted Cruz (Texas), have threatened to filibuster any gun control reforms, requiring a 60-vote threshold, because they say it would violate Second Amendment rights.