By Associated Press
Even so, the NRA weighed in immediately, calling the proposal “a non-starter” with the NRA and its 5 million members.
The plan “burdens law-abiding gun owners while ignoring what actually matters: fixing the broken mental health system and the prosecution of violent criminals,” said Jason Ouimet, the NRA’s legislative director.
Manchin, who met with Barr on Wednesday, along with Toomey and Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., said he remained hopeful.
Referring to Barr, Manchin said, “I think we’re close to where he can take something to the president, to see if the president really wants to do something” on gun control.
Toomey said Barr’s idea “is a mechanism for expanding background checks beyond what we have today. I have (Republican) colleagues who are open to that, so I’m modestly encouraged.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said earlier this week that Congress remains “in a holding pattern” on gun control as lawmakers await proposals from the White House.
Trump has previously pledged to veto a House-passed bill to expand background checks for gun purchases, but McConnell said he is hopeful there are other gun-related proposals that Congress can approve and Trump can support.
Trump and White House aides have discussed a number of gun control measures with lawmakers, including steps to go after fraudulent buyers, notify state and local law enforcement when a potential buyer fails a background check, issue state-level emergency risk protection orders, boost mental health assistance and speed up executions for those found guilty of committing mass shootings.
“I still await guidance from the White House as to what (Trump) thinks he’s comfortable signing,” the Kentucky Republican said Tuesday. “If and when that happens, then we’ll have a real possibility of actually changing the law and hopefully making some progress.”
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have warned Trump that gun-control legislation must include the House-passed bill to expand background checks. Any proposal that does not include the House legislation “will not get the job done” because dangerous loopholes will be left open, the Democrats said.