Senate to Work on Compromise Over Background Checks for Gun Sales

When Congress returns from its spring recess on April 8, the Senate will be confronted with three gun control bills that seek to broadly expand background checks on gun sales, improve school safety and to strengthen penalties for gun trafficking and "straw purchases" of guns.

Of the three, the proposal to require background checks for private firearms transactions -- Senate Bill 374; New York Sen. Charles Schumer's "Fix Gun Checks Act of 2013" -- has fostered heated debate between gun control proponents and wary gun owners.

The primary point of contention is Schumer's insistence that the federal government retain records for all private gun sales, admitting it's the only way a truly uniform background check system could be effective. However, such record-keeping is prohibited by the 1986 Firearms Protection Act, which requires the FBI to destroy any record of a successful background check within 24 hours.

With his "Fix Gun Checks Act of 2013" facing certain stalemate and a GOP filibuster that could bury it before reaching the Senate floor, Politico.com reports that Schumer is working with Sens. Joe Manchin (D., W.V.) and Tom Coburn (R., Okla.) on a bipartisan compromise.

Failing compromise, Sen. Charles Grassley (R., Iowa), the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, announced on March 28 that he will present "alternative legislation" to Schumer's bill when the Senate returns in April.

Grassley, who voted against Schumer's bill in committee, is expected to propose a bill that excludes the new record-keeping requirements imposed in the "Fix Gun Checks Act of 2013."

According to Politico.com, such a proposal "could provide cover for moderate Democrats from more conservative states looking to back some sort of bill not vehemently opposed by the NRA or other political heavyweights. It could also help firm up GOP opposition to more expansive legislation including background checks."