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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Gun bill amendment to reach Senate

A bipartisan amendment introduced Wednesday morning to an already-proposed gun package advocated for by President Barack Obama which will undergo a Thursday vote could be the first sign of compromise between Republicans and Democrats in Congress on gun laws.
Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Republican Senator Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania unveiled a bill that would expand background checks for all commercial gun sales in person and online.
Toomey said his new bill doesnt fit the definition of gun control.
I have to tell you candidly that I dont consider criminal background checks to be gun control, Toomey said at a Wednesday press conference. I think its just common sense.
Following the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Conn., Democrats called for stricter gun laws in an effort to reduce gun violence. Republicans and gun-rights activists have said stricter gun laws would violate Second Amendment rights.
The Toomey-Manchin agreement would be an amendment to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reids earlier proposed gun bill package, which included an expansion in background checks to encompass almost all private transfers, new penalties imposed on gun traffickers, bans on high-capacity magazines and $40 million allocated to bolster school safety, among other things, according to The Washington Times.
Chase Mazzilli, junior mechanical engineering major, and Patrick Penman, senior history major, agree that background checks, while not a perfect solution, could be effective.
I dont know if this will keep people from buying guns on the black market, but it is a good idea, Mazzilli said. They shouldnt pass it if it makes guns too hard to buy.
Penman said background checks could give gun-sellers insight into their customer base.
I am not big on gun control, but retailers should have an idea of who is buying their guns, Penman said. The background checks will give [sellers] an idea about [a buyers] criminal past.
The NRA said in a statement issued Wednesday morning that it was discontented with the preliminary bill.
Expanding background checks at gun shows will not prevent the next shooting, will not solve violent crime and will not keep our kids safe in schools, the statement read. The sad truth is that no background check would have prevented the tragedy in Newtown, Aurora or Tucson.
In the proposed amendment, federally licensed gun dealers would conduct the background check. It would be a felony to sell a gun without a background check to a prohibited buyer, but some private guns sales, such as between family and friends, would not require a background check.
Zach Kolm, sophomore mechanical engineering major, said the background checks would be useful, especially if it will prevent criminals from buying guns and help curb gun violence.
However, voting a potential Republican filibuster could postpone voting, which would be the second in two months. Last month, Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky postponed the confirmation of John Brennans CIA nomination for thirteen hours in protest of Obamas refusal to rule out the domestic use of drones.
Freshman Texas Senator Ted Cruz is one of the Republicans who may filibuster Thursday.
Critics say we need to have a debate and need to have a vote, Cruz said on the Laura Ingraham radio show Wednesday morning. We are debating. We will vote. We should vigorously protect the Second Amendment and the Bill of Rights, and this is really what this fight is about.
The bill will be officially introduced Thursday with the new amendment. Reid has called for a cloture vote, in which more than 60 senators would vote in favor of the bipartisan agreement and thus disallow Senators from filibustering. The bill would then proceed to Senate debate, which could last one to two weeks before a final vote.
In a recent CNN/ORC International poll, 86 percent of Americans are in favor of background checks.

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