The Senate is scheduled to begin debate on three proposed gun control bills on Tuesday, April 16. According to Jake Miller of CBS News, the first proposal to be introduced will be the compromise background check bill sponsored by Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.).
The Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights Protection Act, which requires buyers undergo background checks at gun shows and for online sales without imposing federal record-keeping regulations on private transactions, supplants the more restrictive Fix Gun Checks Act of 2013 initially proposed by Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY).
The Senate agreed in a 68-31 vote on April 11 to debate the gun control bills, ending a filibuster threat by 14 GOP Senators momentarily mollified by the Manchin/Toomey compromise.
That vote, claims the Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin in an April 12 column, was a rushed, emotional concession to pressure from the gun control lobby that will prove ill-conceived.
“Displaying all the illogic that Congress is infamous for, the Senate voted Thursday to proceed with a gun-regulation bill, the contents of which were unknown to virtually all senators and the text of which didn’t arrive until hours later.” Rubin writes. “Such is the state of lawmaking today.”
Despite the quick vote to begin debate, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev) told CBS News’ Miller that he expects deliberations on the background checks bill to be exhaustive.
“I don’t know if we’ll finish it next week,” he said on April 11.
Supporters will likely again need 60 votes in several procedural ballots to sustain debate and shepherd the bills to passage, so expect delays in the process, Miller warns.
“Republicans opposed to the legislation are prepared to invoke a rule that would force the chamber to pause for 30 hours before considering amendments,” Miller reports. “And senators on both sides of the aisle are preparing amendments — some substantive, some symbolic — to offer to the bill, further slowing the process.”
The NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action Director Chris Cox, in a letter to senators released after the April 11 vote, warned that the NRA is watching their votes carefully — on everything from amendments to procedural matters.
“Given the importance of these issues, votes on all anti-gun amendments or proposals will be considered in NRA’s future candidate evaluations,” Cox wrote.
Here’s the scorecard from the April 11 vote: 50 Democrats, two Independents and 16 Republicans voted in favor of opening debate on gun control legislation while 31 Republicans voted against it.
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— Senate moves ahead with anti-gun legislation