Sen. Coburn: Manchin-Toomey background check deal was 'unworkable'
* Note: This article is dated April 10, 2013, before the Senate vote - but it explains Coburn's thoughts on the flaws of the legislation, despite its good intentions
04/10/13 05:11 PM ET-
Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) panned an agreement to expand background checks on gun sales that Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) unveiled on Wednesday.
The deal by Toomey and Manchin expands background checks on guns to include sales done at gun shows and over the internet. The agreement also mandates records so law enforcement officials can make sure a gun sale took place. Coburn said the deal by Manchin and Toomey focuses more on record-keeping than protecting citizens' rights.
"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," Coburn said. "This is the wrong approach. Preventing sales to dangerous persons, not collecting receipts, will save lives."
The proposal, Coburn continued, is a "government takeover" of gun shows, Coburn added.
"The proposal also unwisely expands the government’s power to regulate and control the sales of firearms," Coburn said. "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."
Coburn had previously been in negotiations with Manchin and Sens. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) on background check legislation but walked away from the talks. The Oklahoma Republican said he planned to introduce an amendment to a gun proposal Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) plans to bring to the Senate floor on Thursday. Coburn's amendment, he said, will include a number of features that had been agreed to in previous gun negotiations.
I intend to offer a substitute amendment based on many previously agreed to bipartisan reforms gun control advocates abandoned," Coburn said. "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."