U.S. Senator Tom Coburn, M.D. (R-OK) released the following statement today regarding a proposal by Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Pat Toomey (R-PA) to expand background checks for gun purchases:
“The Manchin-Toomey proposal is a good faith but unworkable plan. The proposal will impose new taxes and unreasonable burdens on law-abiding citizens. The agreement also prioritizes collecting records over protecting citizens. As gun control special interest groups admit, the proposal expands the government’s powers to record sales of firearms at the expense of expanding the scope of background checks. This is the wrong approach. Preventing sales to dangerous persons, not collecting receipts, will save lives.
“The proposal also unwisely expands the government’s power to regulate and control the sales of firearms. A government takeover of gun shows will open more loopholes than it closes. Instead of paying a gun show tax, gun owners will simply handle those transactions elsewhere. The Manchin-Toomey proposal, unfortunately, trades a workable way to improve access the NICS database for a system that is not workable and will be extremely difficult to pass Congress and become law.
“I entered these talks because I believe the American people want a common sense policy that respects their Second Amendment rights and freedoms while giving them the tools they need to make sure they aren’t transferring a firearm to someone who will be a threat to themselves or others. I intend to offer a substitute amendment based on many previously agreed to bipartisan reforms gun control advocates abandoned. For instance, I’ll propose a consumer portal that would facilitate access to the NICS database at not just gun shows but for virtually all private sales. While the Manchin-Toomey proposal is flawed, I commend them for their effort and look forward to the full and open debate the American people deserve.”
In a related release, the National Rifle Association said, “Expanding background checks at gun shows will not prevent the next shooting, will not solve violent crime and will not keep our kids safe in schools. While the overwhelming rejection of President Obama and Mayor Bloomberg’s “universal” background check agenda is a positive development, we have a broken mental health system that is not going to be fixed with more background checks at gun shows.
“The sad truth is that no background check would have prevented the tragedies in Newtown, Aurora or Tucson. We need a serious and meaningful solution that addresses crime in cities like Chicago, addresses mental health deficiencies, while at the same time protecting the rights of those of us who are not a danger to anyone.
“President Obama should be as committed to dealing with the gang problem that is tormenting honest people in his hometown as he is to blaming law-abiding gun owners for the acts of psychopathic murderers,” the NRA concluded.