Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainJuan Williams: Time for boldness from Biden Democrats lead in three battleground Senate races: poll Republican Scott Taylor wins Virginia primary, to face Elaine Luria in rematch MORE (R-Ariz.) on Sunday expressed opposition to possible GOP efforts to filibuster a Senate gun-control measure, saying he did not “understand” the move to block debate.

“I don’t understand it,” said McCain on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” “The purpose of the United States Senate is to debate and to vote and to let the people know where we stand.”

ADVERTISEMENT

“What are we afraid of? Why would we not want… if this issue is as important as all of us think it is, why not take  it to one of the world’s greatest deliberative bodies – that’s one of the greatest exaggerations in history by the way – but you know why not take it up, an amendment and debate. The American people will profit from it,” said the Arizona senator.

“I don’t understand why United States senators want to block debate when the leaders said we could have amendments,” McCain added.

A number of GOP lawmakers, including Sens. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulRand Paul's exchange with Fauci was exactly what America needed GOP Arizona lawmaker says Fauci and Birx 'undermine' Trump's coronavirus response Fauci: 'We are not going in the right direction' MORE (Ky.), Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeSenate panel votes 21-1 to back Justice IG measure over Graham objections Senators offer bill to expand charitable giving tax break Overnight Energy: Senate passes major lands conservation bill | Mnuchin ordered to give Native American tribes full stimulus funding | Key Republican jeopardizes Trump consumer safety nominee MORE (Utah), Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioTrump administration eyes new strategy on COVID-19 tests ACLU calls on Congress to approve COVID-19 testing for immigrants Republicans fear backlash over Trump's threatened veto on Confederate names MORE (Fla.), and Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzTrump administration grants funding extension for Texas testing sites Hillicon Valley: Democrats introduce bill banning federal government use of facial recognition tech | House lawmakers roll out legislation to establish national cyber director | Top federal IT official to step down GOP lawmakers join social media app billed as alternative to Big Tech MORE (Texas) wrote to Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidMcConnell warns Democrats not to change filibuster rule Filibuster reform gains steam with Democrats The Hill's Morning Report - Trump wants executive order on policing; silent on pending bills MORE (D-Nev.) vowing that they would “oppose the motion to proceed to any legislation that will serve as a vehicle for any additional gun restrictions.” 

Reid is planning to bring to the Senate floor this month legislation that would expand background checks, toughen penalties on straw purchasers of firearms and provide funding for school safety. But the background checks provisions have attracted opposition from GOP lawmakers after efforts to forge a bipartisan compromise faltered. 

The Senate vote comes as the White House is intensifying effort to pressure Congress to enact gun control, with Obama holding events with families of victims of gun violence and taking his message on the road to states which have experienced mass shootings.

Obama press secretary Jay Carney on Wednesday said it would be “shameful” for Republicans to filibuster a gun-control bill.

The Senate measure, though, is unlikely to attract support in the GOP House and Sen. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyCongress gears up for battle over expiring unemployment benefits US, Mexico set for new post-NAFTA trade era Senators press IRS chief on stimulus check pitfalls MORE (R-Iowa) is also readying his own gun-control bill as an alternative to the Democratic proposal. 

Appearing with McCain, Sen. Charles SchumerChuck SchumerPublic awareness campaigns will protect the public during COVID-19 Republicans fear backlash over Trump's threatened veto on Confederate names Overnight Defense: House panel votes to ban Confederate flag on all Pentagon property | DOD report says Russia working to speed US withdrawal from Afghanistan | 'Gang of Eight' to get briefing on bounties Thursday MORE expressed optimism that if the bill proceeded to the floor, a measure on background checks could pass.

“If we go to the floor, I’m still hopeful that what I call the ‘sweet spot’ background checks can succeed. We are working hard there. Sen. [Joe] Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Sen. [Mark] Kirk [R-Ill.] have a few ideas that could modify the proposal.”

McCain said he would welcome a debate on background checks on the Senate floor.

“Everybody wants the same goal to keep the guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally disabled. Background checks are being conducted. Are they sufficient, are there ways to improve those? Then I think that’s something that the American people and certainly Congress could be helped by if we have a vigorous debate and discussion,” said McCain.