Senators discuss changing background checks bill
From SFGate.com,l By ALAN FRAM, Associated Press-WASHINGTON (AP) — Senators backing gun control are discussing ways to revise the defeated Senate background check bill in order to help win the votes they need to resuscitate the measure.Among the changes they might consider are limiting the fees buyers would pay at gun shows, adding provisions dealing with the mentally ill and altering language extending the background check requirement to all online sales, senators said Tuesday. Supporters fell five votes short when the Senate defeated legislation last month that would have extended required federal background checks to more buyers.
That vote, four months after the massacre of 20 first-graders and six educators at a school in Newtown, Conn., was a defeat for President Barack Obama and gun control advocates. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has promised to revisit the issue, perhaps by early summer.
Gun control groups have stepped up advertising, attendance at lawmakers' town hall meetings and other forms of pressure in an effort to convince at least five senators that they risk electoral defeat unless they reverse themselves and back the effort. Once senators make that political calculation, many lawmakers and lobbyists believe the legislation would have to be changed so those senators could justify switching their earlier vote.
"Clearly this bill is going to have to look differently to allow members to face their constituents and explain why they changed their mind," said Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn.
"This is a pretty common-sense bill. I don't know how you make it any more common sense, except redefine some areas," said Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., who wrote the measure with Sen. Patrick Toomey, R-Pa.
Several senators who voted no have said they would consider revised versions of the legislation. None have committed themselves to changing their vote, and several have said they won't do so.