SPONSORED:

Barr fails to persuade Cruz on expanded background checks

Barr fails to persuade Cruz on expanded background checks
© Greg Nash

A proposal floated by Attorney General William BarrBill BarrVanita Gupta will fight for all as associate attorney general Political land mines await Garland at DOJ Politics in the Department of Justice can be a good thing MORE to dramatically expand background checks for gun sales is falling flat with a key conservative: Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Major offshore wind project update | Biden to propose revocation of Trump bird rule | 12 states sue Biden over 'social cost' of greenhouse gases The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the National Shooting Sports Foundation - Relief bill to become law; Cuomo in trouble GOP stumbles give Democrats new hope in Texas MORE (R-Texas), who has warned of potential backlash from the right.

Cruz is worried that Barr’s proposal, which largely mirrors the 2013 background check amendment sponsored by Sens. Pat ToomeyPatrick (Pat) Joseph ToomeySasse rebuked by Nebraska Republican Party over impeachment vote Philly GOP commissioner on censures: 'I would suggest they censure Republican elected officials who are lying' Toomey censured by several Pennsylvania county GOP committees over impeachment vote MORE (R-Pa.) and Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinBiden against making changes to filibuster, Psaki says Goldman Sachs projects jobless rate falling to 4.1 percent Natural gas and America's clean energy transition MORE (D-W.Va.), could move Democrats in the direction of supporting confiscation of certain firearms.

ADVERTISEMENT

Cruz is instead pushing his own proposal with Sen. Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleyBlunt retirement shakes up Missouri Senate race Roy Blunt won't run for Senate seat in 2022 White House open to reforming war powers amid bipartisan push MORE (R-Iowa) to fix holes in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System and crack down on straw purchasers of firearms who turn around and sell them to prohibited individuals or middlemen.

“Of the 10 Democrats onstage running for president, three are explicitly supporting gun confiscation by the federal government,” Cruz said Wednesday after Senate Republicans discussed gun control proposals at a weekly lunch meeting.

“If we want to stop crimes, we need to focus on the bad guys, not the good guys,” he added. 

The administration has circulated a memo on Capitol Hill that proposes expanding background checks to all advertised commercial sales, including sales at guns shows, along the lines of the Manchin-Toomey proposal.

Under his plan background checks would be conducted for all commercial sales either through a federally licensed firearms dealer or a newly created class of licensed transfer agents.

Licensed gun dealers and transfer agents would not maintain these records, a provision intended to allay fears by Second Amendment advocates that the proposal could lead to the creation of a federal firearms registry.

Asked about Barr’s proposal, Cruz said, “I believe the proper path for the Senate to take is to vote on Grassley-Cruz and pass it.”

“And the last time we voted on it in the Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidNevada looks to shake up presidential primary calendar Biden turns focus to next priority with infrastructure talks How to pass legislation in the Senate without eliminating the filibuster MORE Democratic Senate, it got 52 votes, including 9 Democrats. it got the most bipartisan support of any of the comprehensive legislation. That’s the right path. Let’s solve the problem, not simply take political gestures,” he told reporters, referring to when the Senate last voted on his proposal in 2013 under then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.).

Cruz is taking issue with proposals to expand background checks to all commercial gun sales, as envisioned by Barr’s latest memo, because it could lead to the creation of national firearms registry.

“I think Democratic members of Congress, a great many of them, want a national registry because the ultimate policy they want is gun confiscation. That is terrible policy, and it would make people less safe,” he said.

“If you want to stop crimes, don’t undermine the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens. Focus on the felons and fugitives and those with serious mental illness who are a danger to themselves and others,” he added.  

Other Republicans have raised concerns about creating a slippery slope that could lead to a national firearms registry.

“The idea of a registry really bothers me,” said Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.). “But I do think there are places — if you have to do a background check in a commercial store, a retail store — it just makes sense if you do it online or some other way the intent is still there that we have a background check.”