Sens. Kirk, Manchin working on background check legislation

Sens. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) are collaborating on legislation to expand requirements on background checks to purchase firearms.

"We are working together to find an amenable background-check proposal," a Kirk staffer told The Hill on Thursday afternoon.

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Proposals to increase background checks are widely popular with the public, according to polls, and are the least controversial of a number of gun-control measures proposed by President Obama. But gun-control legislation has gotten off to a rocky start because of resistance from Republicans and some red-state Democrats.

Kirk and Manchin, close friends who represent states that normally elect members from their opposite parties, could be crucial to any gun-control debate. Kirk has long backed an assault-weapons ban and is one of the most pro-gun control Republican senators. Manchin, a lifetime member of the National Rifle Association, has also emerged as a key player in the current gun-control debate. He's called for a wide-ranging discussion on how to cut down on gun violence, including new firearm restrictions, and on Thursday morning came out in favor of increased background checks.

The Kirk staffer also confirmed that the senator was working with Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) on legislation to crack down on gun trafficking.