Senators pitch Trump on expanded gun background check bill

Two bipartisan senators are pitching President Trump on a bill to expand background checks for gun purchases in the wake of two mass shootings, saying the president “showed a willingness to work” with them.  

“This morning, we both separately discussed with President Trump our support for passing our bipartisan legislation to strengthen background checks. … The president showed a willingness to work with us on the issue of strengthening background checks,” Sens. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) said in a joint statement. 

{mosads}Toomey, in a separate call with reporters, described his conversation with Trump as “constructive. “
“The president has indicated, I think, a very constructive willingness to engage on this issue. … My conversation with him was very constructive,” Toomey said. “We spoke about some of the things we can and should be doing.” 
The new push for strengthening gun background checks comes after 22 people were killed and dozens more wounded in an attack at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, on Saturday. Hours later, at least nine people were killed and more than two dozen were injured in a Dayton, Ohio, shooting.
The Manchin-Toomey bill would expand background checks to all commercial background sales, including those that take place at gun shows or over the internet. 
“I think it’s overdue. This is a common-sense, very, very broadly supported measure,” Toomey told reporters during the call. 

Though Trump said in a tweet on Monday morning that he supported “strong background checks,” he didn’t mention the proposal in later remarks at the White House.

Toomey mentioned that Trump reached out to him on Monday morning. A spokesman clarified that they spoke before Trump’s White House remarks. 
Legislation to strengthen gun background checks faces an uphill battle in the GOP-controlled Senate. The chamber rejected Manchin-Toomey in a 2013 vote. Toomey and Sen. Susan Collins (Maine) are the only Republicans remaining in the Senate who voted for it. 
“I don’t know exactly if we will get a different outcome this time. … I hope that if nothing else the accumulated pain from so many of these horrific experiences will be motivation to do something,” Toomey said when asked about the bill’s prospects. 
Toomey noted that he had spoken with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Monday but declined to characterize his talk with the GOP leader or whether or not McConnell signaled if he would be willing to give a reintroduced Manchin-Toomey a vote. 
“My view is if we have enough support in the Senate then we ought to have a vote. I intend to do everything I can to persuade Sen. McConnell if that’s necessary,” Toomey said. “It’s important to me that we get that vote.” 
Toomey declined to give a timeline for when he wants a vote on his bill, arguing he and Manchin need to build support for the legislation. He also dismissed calls from Democrats for McConnell to reconvene the Senate during the August recess as potentially counterproductive. 
“I don’t think we’d accomplish anything if we did and it might end up actually being counterproductive,” he said. “But this isn’t going to happen tomorrow. If we force a vote tomorrow then I think the vote probably fails.” 

The House passed gun control legislation in February to require universal background checks, but the bill has stalled in the GOP-controlled Senate.

Tags Donald Trump Joe Manchin Mitch McConnell Pat Toomey Susan Collins

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