Senators have renewed efforts to spearhead a bipartisan agreement on expanding background checks, raising hopes a deal can be reached as lawmakers return to Capitol Hill, according to a report in The Washington Post.

Democratic Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinHillicon Valley: Facebook removes Trump post | TikTok gets competitor | Lawmakers raise grid safety concerns OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Court cancels shutdown of Dakota Access Pipeline | US could avoid 4.5M early deaths by fighting climate change, study finds | Officials warn of increasing cyber threats to critical infrastructure during pandemic Officials warn of increasing cyber threats to critical infrastructure during pandemic MORE (W.Va.) and his GOP colleague Sen. Pat Toomey (Pa.) are working on language that would expand checks on firearm sales at gun shows and over the Internet.

ADVERTISEMENT

Their preliminary proposal, still in talks, would exclude gun sales between family members and temporary transfers for those with a hunting license, according to Senate aides close to negotiations, assuaging GOP concerns, the Post first reported Sunday night.

Spokesmen for the senators told the Post that the lawmakers were speaking to their colleagues about their efforts, but declined to confirm details of the plan.

A deal brokered by Manchin and Toomey could bolster the prospects for passing gun control in the Senate. 


Both senators hold strong ratings from the National Rifle Association (NRA) and could play a key role in winning support from red-state Democrats and conservative Republicans wary of backing gun control.

Their talks come as Congress returns from its two-week Easter recess, with Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidMcConnell goes hands-off on coronavirus relief bill Kamala Harris to young Black women at conference: 'I want you to be ambitious' Obama calls filibuster 'Jim Crow relic,' backs new Voting Rights Act bill MORE (D-Nev.) poised to move a gun control bill on the Senate floor.

The bill includes language to expand background checks drafted by Sen. Charles SchumerChuck SchumerTo save the Postal Service, bring it online White House officials, Democrats spar over legality, substance of executive orders Schumer declines to say whether Trump executive orders are legal: They don't 'do the job' MORE (D-N.Y.) after his efforts to craft a bipartisan proposal fell short. 

GOP lawmakers have expressed concerns that the Schumer plan could create a federal registry of gun owners and make it harder for family members to transfer firearms.

Manchin, along with GOP Sens. Tom CoburnThomas (Tom) Allen CoburnInspector general independence must be a bipartisan priority in 2020 Congress must protect federal watchdogs Tom Coburn's annual gift to taxpayers MORE (Okla.) and Mark KirkMark Steven KirkLiberal veterans group urges Biden to name Duckworth VP On the Trail: Senate GOP hopefuls tie themselves to Trump Biden campaign releases video to explain 'what really happened in Ukraine' MORE (Ill.) worked with Schumer in his efforts on background checks before negotiations stalled, but reports have said the senators have continued to discuss the issue. 

Reid is open to changing the bill’s language if Manchin and Toomey strike a deal, according to aides who spoke to the Post, but it is unclear if the Senate leader would delay moving the bill to give talks more time.

The Senate gun bill also includes provisions to toughen penalties on straw traffickers, which holds bipartisan support and provides more funding for school safety programs.

Expanded background checks are a key element of the gun control measures backed by President Obama in the aftermath of the Newtown Conn., mass shooting in December. Obama has launched a public effort to rally support for gun control, visiting states that have enacted tougher laws in the aftermath of shootings and speaking with families of victims of gun violence.

On Monday, Obama will head to Connecticut to speak at the University of Hartford where he will again press for gun control. The state’s governor last week signed new legislation, implementing some of the strictest gun-ownership laws in the country in response to the school shooting that claimed the lives of 20 children.

But despite polls showing an overwhelming majority support expanding background checks, the measure faces an uphill climb in both the Senate and the GOP-controlled House.

A number of GOP senators, including Sens. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulTrump-backed Hagerty wins Tennessee GOP Senate primary Senators introduce bill to block Trump armed drone sale measure The Hill's Campaign Report: Trump's visit to battleground Ohio overshadowed by coronavirus MORE (Ky.); Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeOvernight Defense: Air Force general officially becomes first African American service chief | Senators introduce bill to block Trump armed drone sale measure | State Department's special envoy for Iran is departing the Trump administration Senators introduce bill to block Trump armed drone sale measure Trump signs major conservation bill into law MORE (Utah); Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioChina sanctioning Rubio, Cruz in retaliatory move over Hong Kong The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Negotiators signal relief bill stuck, not dead PPP application window closes after coronavirus talks deadlock  MORE (Fla.); and Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzSens. Markey, Cruz clash over coronavirus relief: 'It's not a goddamn joke Ted' China sanctioning Rubio, Cruz in retaliatory move over Hong Kong The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Negotiators signal relief bill stuck, not dead MORE (Texas), have threatened to oppose any “vehicle for any additional gun restrictions.”

Sen. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyTrump puts trade back on 2020 agenda McConnell goes hands-off on coronavirus relief bill GOP chairmen hit back at accusation they are spreading disinformation with Biden probe MORE (R-Iowa) is also crafting his own gun-violence bill as an alternative to the Democratic proposal.