A bipartisan group of senators has struck a deal to expand gun background checks to all commercial sales -- whether at gun shows, via the Internet or in any circumstance involving paid advertising, according to Senate aides familiar with the talks.
The proposed agreement would be more stringent than current law, which requires checks only when purchases are made through a licensed dealer, but less than originally sought by President Obama and congressional Democrats, who were seeking to expand background checks to nearly every kind of sale.
The agreement should secure enough bipartisan support for the Senate to proceed to debate on an overarching bill that would expand background checks, make gun trafficking a federal crime for the first time and bolster federal funding for school security plans. Senate Democratic leaders have said they will permit senators of both parties to introduce amendments to the measure.
The deal on background checks was struck by Sens. Joe Manchin III (D-W. Va.), Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and Patrick Toomey (R-Pa.), who will introduce the proposal as an amendment to the current gun bill under consideration in the Senate, aides said. Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) has said the bipartisan background check proposal would be the first issue considered once formal debate begins on his gun bill on Thursday.
The group plans to make a formal announcement at approximately 11 a.m. Wednesday. Before the announcement, Schumer is calling key players in the gun debate, including New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (I), to inform them of the details of the agreement, according to aides.