Yesterday, many pundits were saying that any chance for a deal was dead, but this news is a major break in the logjam. (Personally, I think even the Senate's most craven cowards - of which there are many -- had a problem looking those Sandy Hill parents in the eye and saying "No.") And even Paul Ryan said today he'll "strongly consider" the compromise, which will be presented at an 11 a.m. EST press conference:
A bipartisan duo of senators with A ratings from the National Rifle Associated have reached a deal to expand background checks to private gun purchases that occur in commercial settings.
Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Pat Toomey (R-PA) will announce the details of the plan during a press conference Wednesday morning. Currently, only federally licensed gun dealers are required to conduct background screenings.
Under the Manchin-Toomey agreement, background checks will occur for sales conducted at gun shows, online, and through public advertisements with full record keeping, which advocates see as essential for enforcement and tracing crime guns. Friend-to-friend and family sales will be exempt from the requirement.
And while the plan stops short of the far more expansive background check provision offered by Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) — that measure would have extended background checks to all gun sales outside of close family transfers — the new agreement builds momentum for reform and may come as a blow to the 14 conservatives who have pledged to block debate of any new gun regulations.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) filed cloture on Tuesday and the first procedural vote on the motion to commit is scheduled for Thursday. Today, groups representing gun safety advocates and victims and survivors of gun violence announced that they will read the names of the 3,300 people who has been killed by guns since the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut until the Senate agrees to debate and vote on the package.