Reid: Hopes 'extremists' don't hold up progress on gun-control reforms

Reid said the family members of the victims of a mass shooting in Newtown, Conn., deserves a vote. Twenty children were killed at Sandy Hook elementary school in December, along with six school employees.

“Newtown deserves a vote,” Reid said. “Don’t we have an obligation to the American people of correcting what is not right in this country.”

The Senate is debating S. 649, the Safe Communities, Safe Schools Act. The gun reform bill would expand background checks on gun purchases, create new penalties on straw purchases and include new funding for school security.

The bill doesn’t include an assault weapons ban or limits on magazine clip capacity — although Reid promised a vote on those provisions as an amendment.

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 legislation — which creates a 60-vote threshold — because they said it would violate Second Amendment rights.

Reid said that the bipartisan bill does not end the Second Amendment right to bare arms, but includes “common sense” limits to stop criminals and those who are mentally ill from buying a gun.

The first amendment being considered is a bipartisan deal on background checks from Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.).

Republicans expressed concern that expanding background checks could create a federal registry of gun owners and make it harder for family members to transfer firearms.

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 ban the federal government from creating a national firearms registry.

“This doesn’t go as far on background checks as some had hoped, but that’s the nature of compromise,” Reid said. “Expanding background checks to cover gun shows and online sales, is common sense. … No one wants to put a gun in the hands of a murderer.”

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