Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) — a top recipient of campaign donations from the National Rifle Association — poured cold water over ongoing bipartisan negotiations in the Senate to expand background checks for all gun purchases, insisting that lawmakers are unlikely to act on the proposal.
The senators involved in crafting the compromise — Tom Coburn (R-OK), Mark Kirk (R-IL), Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Chuck Schumer (D-NY) — hope to “effectively require background checks on private gun purchases made with non-licensed gun dealers” while addressing “privacy concerns of gun owners” and exempting family transfers from the checks.
But during an interview with KMBZ News 98.1 FM on Friday morning, Blunt rejected the growing consensus — among the public and gun owners and dealers — for sensible background checks. Despite the near universal support for requiring buyers to undergo a review before acquiring a firearm, Blunt predicted the Senate would not “produce legislation” to address the matter:
Q: We’re hearing something about a bipartisan group of senators trying to reach a compromise on this as far as expanding the requirement of background checks at gun shows. What are you hearing about that?
BLUNT: I’m not sure the Senate can produce any legislation that changes this. I’m willing to look at it — I have in the past voted for ways to expand background checks at gun shows. I’m not for a law that would mean that two neighbors couldn’t be able to trade shot guns….most of my energy is going on the mental health side.
Since the passage of the Brady Act, gun purchasers buying firearms from federally licensed dealers are subject to background checks and as a result, more than 2 million applicants have been prohibited from purchasing guns. Unfortunately, 40 percent of firearm sales occur at “gun shows, flea markets, private sales, through newspaper advertisements, and online purchasers” without any background reviews. Blunt, who is the second highest recipient of NRA donations in the Senate (his career receipts total more than $51,000), is hoping to keep it that way.