Posted 1 year ago on March 5, 2013, 1:46 p.m. EST by ericweiss
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Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy unveiled a new bipartisan proposal on gun trafficking on Monday, the Vermont Democrat’s office announced.
The legislation, sought by big-city mayors and sponsored by Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), will also have support from Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), giving it bipartisan cover other gun-control proposals lack. The trafficking bill is considered easier to pass than universal background checks, where the central legislative action on gun control in the Senate remains focused. Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) has yet to agree with Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Kirk on a background checks provision requiring private gun sellers maintain sales records.
The Judiciary Committee will hold a markup Thursday in which Leahy’s measure will be considered, along with an assault weapons ban amendment to be offered by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.). And some Republican senators are trying to slow walk the proceedings by offering a slew of amendments to the Democratic gun bills.
Schumer, Manchin and Coburn have tried — unsuccessfully to this point — to reach an accord on background checks. But Coburn remains opposed to a key provision requiring private sellers to retain records, and it’s uncertain whether an agreement can be reached.
Schumer now plans to reintroduce a background checks proposal without any GOP backers in time for for Thursday’s markup in Judiciary, and the panel is expected to approve that bill. He and Manchin will then search for another Republican to sign onto a compromise proposal.
But failing to get Coburn’s backing is a blow to Senate Democrats and President Barack Obama, who has led the push for new gun-control measures in the wake of the Newtown shooting.
People involved in the negotiations believe that with Coburn on board, Republicans like Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and others would back the bill. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said to “count me in” to anything with Coburn’s seal of approval.
NOTE - beware any gun control language - "ban" has generally meant no sales or manufacture - so if you OWN 8 AR15s you are safe