A Republican member of the bipartisan group seeking a deal on background checks for gun owners said Sunday that lawmakers remain at odds.
“I don’t think we’re that close to a deal,” Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) said on Fox News Sunday.
Coburn is working with Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) to craft language acceptable to both parties. The Washington Post reported Saturday that the group was “on the verge” of an agreement that would greatly increase the likelihood of gun-control legislation getting through the Senate.
Coburn warned that any talk of registering gun owners would doom the effort.
“There absolutely will not be record-keeping on legitimate, law-abiding gun-owners in this country,” he said. “And if they want to eliminate the benefits of actually trying to prevent the sales to people who are mentally ill and to criminals, all they have to do is create a record-keeping. And that will kill this bill. So if you really want to improve it, you have to eliminate the record-keeping.”
President Obama has made the push for gun control a centerpiece of his second term agenda, calling for background checks and for Congress to ban the sales of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. But background checks are seen as the most likely to pass Congress this year in the face of strong opposition from the nation’s gun lobby.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) on Sunday said he was optimistic that a gun bill could pass Congress, but cautioned that he would only move legislation that had bipartisan support.