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ICYMI — USA Today Opinion: Bipartisan Senators Urge Trump to Resume Talks on Background Check Legislation

November 19, 2019

This morning, Senators Chris Murphy (D-CT), Pat Toomey (R-PA), and Joe Manchin (D-WV) penned an op-ed in USA Today to urge President Trump to resume bipartisan talks on legislation to expand the background check requirement to cover all advertised commercial sales, including sales at gun shows and those advertised online. The op-ed emphasizes that Senators on both sides of the aisle stand ready and willing to pass this life-saving policy — but those bipartisan efforts have been stymied thus far by President Donald Trump, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and other NRA-backed lawmakers who are refusing to act. 

In the op-ed the senators write:

“In the wake of the summer shootings in Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso and Odessa in Texas, and for the first time since the Newtown massacre in 2012, truly serious discussions began on commonsense, bipartisan measures that could reduce the rate of gun deaths in America. We represented an unlikely trio of senators to be at the center of these deliberations. There aren’t many controversial issues upon which the three of us — a conservative Republican, a progressive Democrat and a conservative Democrat — could find agreement.

“But in August, we began discussions with President Donald Trump, his representatives at the White House and other senators to try to find common ground on the most impactful of all changes to our gun laws: the expansion of background checks to cover gun sales and transfers…

“For the time being, negotiations with the White House on background checks have come to a halt. But we think it’s important to note how far this debate moved over the summer and fall, and how close we were to a bipartisan agreement.

“We are ready at a moment’s notice to restart these deliberations, because we remain confident that with the president’s support, a measure to expand background checks to include all commercial gun sales could become law.”

Requiring background checks on all gun sales has the support of 93 percent of American voters, including 89 percent of Republicans and 87 percent of gun owners. 

In September, Everytown unveiled a new national survey of 2020 voters nationwide — with oversampling of voters in Colorado, Florida, Kentucky, North Carolina and Ohio — which found that voters overwhelmingly want action on gun safety, and are ready to vote out politicians who do nothing to curb gun violence. This was evident on Election Day in Virginia, where gun sense candidates won big, flipping both chambers for Democrats who ran on a platform of expanding background checks and standing up to the gun lobby. President Trump, Leader McConnell, and other vulnerable Senators would be wise to follow the lead of Senators Murphy, Toomey, and Manchin in realizing that this isn’t a partisan issue, it’s a common-sense issue — and one that voters remember at the ballot box.

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