The Trump administration is shopping gun background check legislation to congressional Republicans: Report

· September 18, 2019  
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Barr and Trump at White House
Chip Somodevilla | Getty Image

The White House and Department of Justice have been shopping around the idea of new background check requirements to multiple Republican lawmakers on Capitol Hill, according to a report at the Daily Caller.

The report notes several Tuesday meetings between Attorney General William Barr and DOJ White House Legislative Affairs Director Eric Ueland and Republican members of both chambers including Sens. Ted Cruz, Texas; Mike Braun, Ind.; Josh Hawley, Mo.; and outgoing House Freedom Caucus Chair Mark Meadows, N.C.

A pitch document reportedly given to GOP lawmakers obtained by the Daily Caller suggests legislation “consistent” with a background check bill put forward by Sens. Pat Toomey, R-Penn., and Joe Manchin, D-W.V., that would extend federal background check requirements to “all advertised commercial sales, including sales at gun shows.”

Currently, all sales conducted through federally licensed firearms dealers and sales that cross state lines require a background check. Transactions between private individuals who both reside in the same state do not. However, it’s still illegal to sell or transfer a gun to someone if the seller knows or has reasonable cause to believe that the other is a prohibited from buying that gun under federal law.

A source familiar with the Tuesday gun control meetings told the Daily Caller that the administration’s current pitch to lawmakers is that doing nothing on the issue following recent shootings might energize the Democrats’ base during the 2020 election cycle. The report also says that Barr viewed the proposal more as a tool to help law enforcement crack down on gun smugglers.

According to Washington Free Beacon gun reporter Stephen Gutowski, the response to the pitch was “frosty,” and a rollout of the associated legislative package has been subsequently delayed.

Democratic leaders have called on the Senate to take up, and on President Donald Trump to support, a House-passed background check bill that goes farther than the Manchin-Toomey measure in the kinds of transfers it would regulate. A report at Politico earlier this week says that Trump would not consider the current House bill as part of a potential gun control package.

Meanwhile, congressional Republicans have been waiting to see what kind of gun control the president would actually sign, as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has said the chamber isn’t going to spend its time on anything that doesn’t have a realistic chance of becoming law.

Following renewed calls for background checks in the wake of recent mass murders last month, the National Rifle Association came out against new background check legislation, dismissing calls as “rhetoric for billionaire activists and campaign rallies.


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Author: Nate Madden

Nate Madden is BlazeTV’s congressional correspondent. Follow him @NateOnTheHill or send tips to nmadden@blazemedia.com.