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Manchin: ‘Law-abiding’ gun owners will like background check bill

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) on Sunday defended his bipartisan proposal with Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) to expand background checks, saying that lawful gun owners had nothing to fear.

“If you are a law-abiding gun-owner, you’re gonna like this bill,” said Manchin, appearing with Toomey, on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” 

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“Now if you are a criminal, if you’ve been mentally adjudicated and you go to a gun show or try to buy a gun online, you might not like this bill, because you can’t do it. And what we’ve done we did it right, we shut down the gun show loopholes and online sales,” he added.

The bipartisan proposal unveiled by Manchin and Toomey last week has bolstered the chances for passage of Senate gun bill. Last Thursday, the Senate voted to open debate on the bill, which includes a Democratic background check provision and measures to toughen penalties on straw purchasers of firearms. The Toomey-Manchin deal will be offered as an amendment to the bill.

Earlier efforts to craft a bipartisan deal on immigration reform failed over GOP concerns the legislation would not exclude transfers between family members and could lead to a federal registry of all gun owners.

Manchin and Toomey, though, stressed that their bill would not undermine the rights of gun owners.

“We did not, as Pat, just said, did not infringe on any individual’s right, family, the tradition of gun owners that we come from, gun culture where a father can give his son or a relative or a cousin, did not infringe on any of that,” said Manchin.

Manchin also said the measure would help states “bring their background check records up to par.”

But the two senators acknowledged that their bill still faced an uphill climb to passage. Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) has publicly backed the bill and reports said Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) would be the second Republican to support expanding background checks.

Toomey on CNN Sunday said he did not know if they had the votes needed for passage. 

“I think it’s an open question as to whether or not we have the votes. I think it’s going to be close,” said Toomey.