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Numerous sources are reporting that West Virginia???s Joe Manchin and Pennsylviania???s Pat Toomey have reached a bipartisan deal on gun control legislation. Apparently, the deal would bring background checks to nearly all commercial gun sales and close the ???gun show loophole.???Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has already set up a procedural vote to see if 13 Republicans ???including Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio and Mitch McConnell ??? will be able to filibuster.
The Toomey agreement, it is thought, gives moderate Republicans the cover they need and allows Democrats to exceed the 60-votes needed to stop floor debate on the issue. Why is Toomey involved? Here???s the Washington Post???s take:
Because, at his core, Toomey is not a pure ideologue but rather a political survivor. Prior to running against Specter in 2004, Toomey spent three terms representing a swing-ish House seat in northeastern Pennsylvania. And, while he clearly touted his conservative bona fides when he ran against Specter in 2004, he cast himself much more as a pragmatic pol during his 2010 win.
But are Americans really clamoring for gun-control legislation that would have done nothing to stop the tragedies that re-sparked this debate? According to FOX News, Manchin promises “People that are law-abiding gun owners fully want that right protected and I ensure them that it is protected.”
UPDATE: According to Buzzfeed, The National Rifle Association won’t take a position on the deal. “The NRA has not said either way,” said Katie Longo, Manchin’s press secretary. “The Senators have been talking to the NRA, but they’re still neutral.”
A press conference is scheduled for later this morning.
UPDATE: According to the Free Beacon, the NRA is opposed:
A spokesman for the NRA said the report was ???wrong.???
The NRA reiterated its opposition to expanded background checks in a statement to the Free Beacon.
???Expanding background checks at gun shows will not prevent the next shooting, will not solve violent crime and will not keep our kids safe in schools,??? the NRA said. ???While the overwhelming rejection of President Obama and Mayor Bloomberg???s ???universal??? background check agenda is a positive development, we have a broken mental health system that is not going to be fixed with more background checks at gun shows.
???The sad truth is that no background check would have prevented the tragedy in Newtown, Aurora or Tucson,??? the NRA???s statement continued. ???We need a serious and meaningful solution that addresses crime in cities like Chicago, addresses mental health deficiencies, while at the same time protecting the rights of those of us who are not a danger to anyone. President Obama should be as committed to dealing with the gang problem that is tormenting honest people in his hometown as he is to blaming law-abiding gun owners for the acts of psychopathic murderers.???
Follow David Harsanyi on Twitter @davidharsanyi.