GOP sees background checks as ‘a bridge too far’

Updated
 

Before the Senate left for their spring recess, Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) made clear what he and his party expect of legislation to reduce gun violence. While he said several key provisions are negotiable, “[I]n order to be effective, any bill that passes the Senate must include background checks.”

At least on the surface, it would seem to be the most difficult provision to oppose. Expanded background checks enjoy extraordinary levels of public support, even among gun owners, and there are no constitutional concerns to speak of. Critics of the idea have generally been reduced to making up nonsense and conspiracy theories, unable to think of any substantive arguments.

It would seem, then, that expanded background checks would be the kind of measure that might actually pass. And yet, on the Sunday shows, Republican senators rejected the popular idea out of hand.

In this clip, Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) said closing the gun-show loophole is “a bridge too far” for most Senate Republicans. He added that the “paperwork requirements alone would be significant.”

The nation would like to reduce mass murders, but for some federal lawmakers, “paperwork requirements” have to take precedence?

Similarly, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) was asked whether expanded background checks can survive in the Senate. “I don’t think so,” he said. “I don’t think it makes any sense. The current system is broken. Fix the current system.”

By “fix the current system,” Graham apparently envisions efforts to improve the existing background database while enforcing the law more diligently – that might be possible if Senate Republicans weren’t also blocking ATF from functioning effectively – all while leaving the massive gun-show loophole in place, on purpose.

Background Checks

GOP sees background checks as 'a bridge too far'

Updated