A bipartisan group of senators -- Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA), Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) -- introduced a compromise proposal to expand background checks....
A bipartisan group of senators -- Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA), Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) -- introduced a compromise proposal to expand background checks....Read More
Apr 10, 2013
The Toomey-Manchin Amendment would expand background checks to private sales of firearms at commercial venues like gun shows and make it more difficult for dangerous individuals (i.e., convicted felons, domestic abusers, the dangerously mentally ill, etc.) to get their hands on guns.
Recently, the Senate had an opportunity to vote on legislation that would have expanded background checks and protected victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking from gun violence. The intersection between gun violence and sexual and domestic violence cannot be overstated. Research shows that firearms possession by those who commit sexual and domestic violence crimes is an indicator of lethality (causing death). Access to firearms yields a more than five-fold increase in risk of intimate partner homicide when considering other factors of abuse, suggesting that abusers who possess guns tend to inflict the most severe abuse on their partners. Many offenders are easily able to obtain firearms through private sales and transfers, even though they should be prohibited under federal law from doing so – and the Manchin-Toomey amendment to S. 649 would have closed this dangerous loophole by expanding background checks to all gun sales on the internet and commercial settings. Unfortunately, the Senate failed to pass the Manchin-Toomey Amendment. Now, we need you to let our Senators know that you took notice of their vote! Senators Manchin and Toomey promise to bring this issue back to the Senate floor and we need every Senator who voted no to revisit and rethink their vote on behalf of their state’s women, children and families. http://4vawa.org
April 17, 2013 Dear Senator, On behalf of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 210 national organizations to promote and protect the civil and human rights of all persons in the United States, we urge you to vote yes on the Manchin-Toomey Amendment to S. 649, the Safe Communities, Safe Schools Act of 2013, which expands background checks for all commercial gun sales. The passage of comprehensive gun safety legislation is essential to improving public safety for all Americans. The Leadership Conference believes that S. 649 will be of great benefit to the communities we represent, particularly for people of color, youth, and women who are victims of domestic violence, as they experience some of the highest rates of gun violence. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that in 2010, 85 percent of homicides and 45 percent of suicides were by a firearm.i Widespread gun violence has had a devastating effect on African-American families and communities. For example, in urban areas, African Americans are far more likely to die from gun violence than whites. Indeed, “young black men die of gun homicide at a rate eight times that of young white men.”ii Among all teens aged 15–19, a firearm was the leading cause of death, whether as a result of homicide or suicide. Further, victims of intimate partner violence are at greater risk of death by firearm. The presence of a gun in domestic violence situations increases the risk of homicide for women by 500 percent.iii In view of the devastating impact of gun violence, The Leadership Conference supports the Manchin-Toomey amendment to enhance public safety by expanding background checks to commercial gun sales. We believe this is a critical first step to respond to the Newtown massacre and the epidemic of gun violence facing our nation. Expanding and strengthening background checks is the most effective way to keep guns out of the hands of those who commit crimes. Since its inception, the National Background Check System has resolved more than 90 percent of checks instantaneously and blocked more than two million gun purchases by prohibited buyers.iv However, under current law, two loopholes give prohibited buyers access to guns – sales between “private” parties and missing records. An estimated 40 percent of gun transfers take place between “private parties” and are not subject to v background checks. In 2012, an estimated 6.6 million guns were transferred without vi checks or records. These loopholes have a significant impact on public safety. In states that require background checks for private handgun sales, 38 percent fewer women are shot to death by their intimate partners,vii 49 percent fewer firearm suicides occur,viii and 48 percent fewer gun trafficking occurs.ix As the evidence suggests, requiring background checks for all commercial gun sales reduces crime and saves lives. The Leadership Conference believes passage of legislation that includes expanded background checks, is critical to stemming the tide of gun violence in our nation. For these reasons we urge you to vote yes on the Manchin-Toomey amendment to S.649, Safe Communities, Safe Schools Act of 2013. Thank you for your consideration. (Letter provided to POPVOX by Congressional office.)
Much like the underlying bill, the Schumer-Toomey-Manchin Amendment is highly flawed. It would infringe on Americans’ constitutional rights and do little to prevent horrific crimes. In addition to substantial Second Amendment concerns, the bill contains several additional flaws. First, it would erode the privacy of law-abiding Americans. The Schumer-Toomey-Manchin Amendment fails to recognize the importance of the patient-psychiatrist relationship by reducing existing privacy protections for mental health records relevant to background checks through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). The bill leaves the dissemination of this information to the discretion of the Attorney General. Additionally, the amendment would allow firearms dealers to secretly run government background checks on job applicants without their consent. Second, it sets up a system to trap innocent citizens. The Schumer-Toomey-Manchin Amendment would allow undercover sting operations at gun shows to arrest people for conduct that no reasonable person would believe was against the law. The Schumer-Toomey-Manchin bill eliminates “any need for a federal prosecutor to prove beyond a reasonable doubt to a jury that the individual who allegedly broke the law had any kind of criminal intent.” Third, the background check provision is much broader than the Amendment’s proponents acknowledge. The sale of any firearm publicly advertised in any venue – such as internet, Facebook, a yard sign, a church flyer, etc. – would be forced to go through a background check. To be clear, it is not just commercial sales. For all practical purposes, this requirement destroys the private seller market and in rural areas forces law-abiding citizens to drive hundreds of miles to complete a transaction. The background check requirement would make exercising one’s Second Amendment rights more difficult and potentially reduce gun ownership among law-abiding citizens. Ultimately, this massive expansion of background checks can only be enforced through a national registry to ensure full compliance. In the absence of a national registry, the aggressive use of sting operations would be used to ensure compliance. Fourth, as one of the sponsors acknowledged, it would do little to prevent horrific crimes such as the massacre in Newtown. Gun control laws do not lead to a decrease in violence nor does gun ownership correlate to increased violence. As Heritage notes, “If gun control were a panacea, then Washington, D.C., Oakland, and Chicago, which have very strict gun control laws, would be among the safest places to live rather than among the most dangerous.”
Urgent action required. It is urgent that every gun owner call their Senators today and demand that they oppose the “See a Shrink, Lose your Guns” sell-out bill that is being authored by Senators Pat Toomey (R) and Joe Manchin (D) - but which also has Chuck Schumer’s fingerprints all over it. Call immediately at 202-224-3121. See a Shrink, Lose your Guns. The anti-gun "ranters" have spent the last week telling us that Republican Senators can’t filibuster Harry Reid’s gun control bill; that they can’t cut off debate to a bill they haven’t seen yet. “Let the bill come up,” they say. “We need to see the bill” before Senators can vote against cloture to proceed to it. Well, we’ve seen the Toomey-Manchin-Schumer sell-out, and it’s worse than the Feinstein gun ban, which will reportedly be tied to it and offered simultaneously in a Senate procedure known as an “amendment tree.” Toomey and Manchin will claim that their bill only covers “gun show sales” and Internet sales. But if you’ve ever talked about your gun and /or let it be known you’d like to sell or buy a gun on the Internet, this language covers you. If you advertise your gun in the church bulletin and the bulletin is put on the Internet, you’re covered. The only exemption is for sales that are sold exclusively by word of mouth. The increased number of background checks would likely exacerbate the system breakdowns (inherent to NICS) which have shut down gun shows over and over again. It would mean that Americans who were illegally denied firearms because their names were similar to other people's would effectively be barred from owning a gun. (We would never tolerate such delays for voting rights or other freedoms that we are guaranteed.) And for those Republicans who think they’re going to be able to offer their useless amendments, guess what? Reid is reportedly going to use a procedure to block out all amendments (called an “amendment tree”). And there are plenty of Senators standing in line to make sure that the Senate doesn’t give “unanimous consent” to let those Republicans offer their amendments. (Read full statement: http://gunowners.org/a04102013.htm)
The Toomey-Schumer-Manchin Amendment would, among other things, require background checks for sales at gun shows and online, “close the gun show and other loopholes,” and create a commission to study the causes of mass violence in the United States. That commission would be responsible for looking at all aspects of the problem, including guns, school safety, mental health, and violent media or video games, and would consist of six experts appointed by the Senate Majority Leader and six experts appointed by the Speaker of the House who would be required to submit an interim report in three months and a completed report in six months. The bill would also “clarif[y] that submissions of mental health records into the NICS system are not prohibited by federal privacy laws (HIPAA).”
I support The Toomey-Schumer-Manchin Amendment because... I agree with background checks, but I think it applies more to 1st time gun buyers. Also I am hesitant on trusting the government with this information, and I feel that is the main reason more people do not get behind bills like this.
I support The Toomey-Schumer-Manchin Amendment because much of the killing in Chicago for example results from guns brought in from gun shows and result from no background checks. The vast majority of the population supports background checks yet even this watered down bill cannot get passed by Congress because of the NRA and the gun industry influence.
I support The Toomey-Schumer-Manchin Amendment because criminals should not have easy access to firearms.
I support The Toomey-Schumer-Manchin Amendment because I assume/hope it is a reasonable compromise that will help prevent criminals & the mentally ill from obtaining firearms, without compromising the ownership rights of law abiding citizens. I have numerous family members who are 100% responsible gun owners. Regardless of the laws, it is a given that criminals will always find a way to get guns, and to say or think otherwise is totally naive! So, make it harder for criminals & the mentally ill to get guns ... not harder for sane, honest, law abiding citizens to get them.
I support The Toomey-Schumer-Manchin Amendment because...their should already be a record of past falons and their "current addresses" on file for anyone filing for purchase of a gun ! If a person has been certified mentally ill with a proven medical record to support it, then their names and address should be on file for verification. Not person who are entitled and have a legal right to own and carry a weapon for their protection and that of others who are in need of being protected!
I support The Toomey-Schumer-Manchin Amendment. It's shameful that tens of thousands of American deaths by gun violence are meaningless because politicians are owned by the gun lobby.
I oppose The Toomey-Schumer-Manchin Amendment because: • The gun used at Reynolds High School was STOLEN • The shooter at Seattle Pacific University PASSED A BACKGROUND CHECK • The gun used at Sandy Hook Elementary School was STOLEN These disturbed individuals (and the majority of others) did not “bypass a criminal background check” nor did they exploit a “Loophole”. They STOLE or legally PURCHASED the guns they used. The Toomey-Schumer-Manchin Amendment will do NOTHING about this. The Toomey-Schumer-Manchin Amendment will be 78 to 91% ineffective depending on what BATF or Bureau of Justice report you quote. 78-91% of guns used in firearm crimes are either stolen, illegal street purchases or legally purchased through a dealer. No loophole/background check law will prevent this. The only effect Toomey-Schumer-Manchin will have is: • Burden MILLIONS lawful gun owners (who are not criminals) with restrictions, fees and paperwork • Create a potential tool for gun registration and confiscation • Give the Federal Government delay/deny control over what is a CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT for law abiding citizens • Potentially make criminals of otherwise law abiding gun owners • Distract law enforcement from pursuing ACTUAL criminals • Distract Congress from other more PRODUCTIVE & MEANINGFUL legislation Members of Congress should aspire to do better than 78-91% ineffective IF keeping guns out of the hands of criminals is the objective.
I oppose The Toomey-Schumer-Manchin Amendment because it has been shown that background checks, as is, are appropriate for the purchasing of guns in America. The tragedies that are cited as to a reason to expand background checks, are in themselves evidence that it would not have changed the outcome of the tragedy. The guns were legally purchased and transferred. I would suggest that more effort be put into monitoring the mentally duressed and/or promoting family values and morality in America. Bret Shaw, DVM
I oppose The Toomey-Schumer-Manchin Amendment because...You cannot simply say "this isn't a registry" when it will in effect track every purchase and sale nation wide. To say "penalties will be in effect for anyone who abuses this system" is to leave the door WIDE open to different interpretations. This will not even slow crime down and is yet another power granted the government over the people. Please explain the difference between registration and having to inform the government every time I buy or sell a firearm. I see no difference, and I don't fall for the bait-and-switch lies designed to trick us into thinking registration is "just a background check". In effect this bill says "give us all your info for no real reason and blindly trust us never to misuse it. Look, we even say we won't in the bill!" Just because a federal database won't be created doesn't mean the ffl gun dealers aren't creating that database for them. OPPOSE this bill, please. I beg you to see through the lies of those with an anti gun agenda.
I oppose The Toomey-Schumer-Manchin Amendment because it is unnecessary. Criminals will be criminals. I am opposed to any legislation that makes it any more difficult for responsible citizens to buy guns. At the end of the day if a criminal wants a gun he or she will get one. If I want to sell a firearm to someone who I in all consciousness can say is a responsible citizen then it is no business of the Federal Government.
I oppose The Toomey-Schumer-Manchin Amendment because...it is a fraudulent political stunt that makes no meaningful inroads into the activities of criminals. I am tired of government that uses law abiding citizens as the whipping boy for their sectional political stunts that attacks a social minority that has broken no laws. I want a government that I am mostly unaware of. I want a government that does not invent issues to justify their presence. In my 45 years I can count on my hand the number of necessary bills that congress has passed. We the people should be included not excluded by the activities of government. Partner with us or alienate us...
I oppose The Toomey-Schumer-Manchin Amendment because background checks do not have a noticeable impact on gun violence, criminals will continue to steal and or acquire guns illegally. Making the law abiding American populous jump through more hoops and expenses to obtain a firearm is illogical and would cause more harm than good.
A bipartisan group of senators -- Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA), Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) -- introduced a compromise proposal to expand background checks. This agreement, known as the Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights Protection Act, will be among the first gun votes in the Senate as an amendment to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's gun control legislation.
Summary: The Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights Protection Act would require states and the federal government to send all necessary records on criminals and the violently mentally ill to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). It also extends the existing background check system to gun shows and online sales.
The bill explicitly bans the federal government from creating a national firearms registry, and imposes serious criminal penalties (a felony with up to 15 years in prison) on any person who misuses or illegally retains firearms records. (Read bill summary from the sponsors and bill text.)