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Manchin, Toomey Consider New Gun Control Legislation

Senator Pat Toomey speaking at the Sandy Hook Promise dinner on Tuesday.

Senators Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia) and Pat Toomey (R-Pennsylvania), who once lent their names to a failed background check bill in 2013, have stated in recent interviews that they are considering reviving the push for “expanded” background checks. According to the Washington Post, both men attended the inaugural Sandy Hook Promise dinner, an event organized by the family and friends of those slain in 2012’s Newtown shooting, on Tuesday.

“We want to make sure we have the votes. Pat’s going to have to, and I’ll work with him, to get some of our colleagues on the Republican side,”

The senators’ 2013 bill failed largely in part because the proposal was unable to gain Republican support. Only Toomey and three other Republican lawmakers supported the bill, which eventually fell just short of the necessary 60 votes to pass a filibuster on the Senate floor. In a recent interview with comedian Marc Maron, President Barack Obama, who supported the bill, described its failure as “the closest I came to feeling disgusted. I was pretty disgusted.”

Toomey also spoke about his interest in reviving the bill at the dinner, arguing that while so-called expanded background checks may not prevent all tragedies, it may be able to stop some.

“If you can’t pass the background check,” Toomey said, “then you are exactly the kind of person who shouldn’t have a gun.”

However, Toomey admitted that with Republicans in charge of both the Senate and House, it is likely that not many lawmakers have changed their minds on gun control. It appears that even President Obama doubted any success for gun control legislation as he told Maron that he did not “foresee any legislative action being taken in this Congress.”

Despite the expected lack of support, Toomey stated that he did not regret supporting the bill and will be looking for ways to move ahead with expanded background checks.