Republican Sen. Patrick Toomey announced a deal with Democratic colleague Joe Manchin of West Virginia on expanding background checks to more gun buyers.
Since the Newtown Conn. shooting, lawmakers have been urging their colleagues to act.
“What kind of liberty did those kids have in Newtown, being trapped by an assault weapon-yielding madman?” said Sen. Christopher Murphy.
Dan Allie, Co-Founder of the Hampden County 2nd Amendment Coalition thinks a one size fits all law on background checks will limit states rights.
“The thing with federal background checks are ineffective in stopping violent criminals and only effect law abiding citizens. Criminals do not register guns or submit to background checks,” said Allie.
It takes several months in Massachusetts to be eligible to buy a firearm.
“A lot of people don’t realize in Massachusetts for everything we do, we all do background checks,” said Kendall Knapik.
She says they have to fill out a Department of Justice Firearms Transaction form and call the FBI everytime a customer wants to buy a gun or even a gun part. They also do a search on the Massachusetts Instant Record Check System. Once the transaction is complete, Knapik says the serial numbers of the items purchased by the customer are sent to the state with their information.
“People need to know we do paperwork for every single gun,” said Knapik.
In Massachusetts, a person needs to take a class and be cleared by the state to obtain a gun permit. Issuing a gun permit is up to the discretion of the local police chief.
“So there is a background check to get your license and then there is a background check every time you buy a gun,” said Knapik.
The checks would now apply to commercial sales, such as transactions at gun shows and online. The sales would have to be channeled through licensed firearms dealers, who would have to keep records of the transactions. Two things already done in Massachusetts. It’s still uncertain how the legislation could change the process in the Baystate since it’s still in the early stages.
The agreement is expected to make it more likely that the Senate’s vote tomorrow to start debating gun legislation will succeed, despite an effort by conservatives to block it.
The National Rifle Association is criticizing the plan to expand background checks, saying it “will not prevent the next shooting.”