NORRISTOWN — In the wake of the failed Senate effort to expand background checks for gun purchases — and the subsequent boost in his poll numbers for supporting the measure — Republican Sen. Pat Toomey nevertheless said Tuesday he does not think another attempt will succeed in the Senate.
Speaking to a roundtable of Digital First Media editors in the offices of The Times Herald newspaper, the controversial April 17 gun control vote was front and center in the discussion.
“The bill is available right now and Sen. (Majority leader Harry) Reid could bring it up for a vote at any time, but we need five people to change their minds,” Toomey said of the last vote, which fell five votes short of the 60 votes needed to break a filibuster.
“It’s a pretty heavy lift to get five senators to change their mind on a big issue like this,” Toomey said. “It’s not likely to happen any time soon. I hope people will reconsider over time.”
Toomey’s assessment comes in the wake of comments by the bill’s co-sponsor, Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, who told Fox News Sunday he is willing to work to revive the bill.
“I don’t think he’s done,” Manchin said on Fox news Sunday, according to The Washington Post. ”I was with Pat last night, and Pat’s totally committed to this bill. And I believe that with all my heart. And we’re gonna work this bill.”
Toomey told the Digital First Media roundtable Tuesday that he has always supported background checks, which he calls “common sense,” and agreed to a request to look at the legislation being proposed Manchin because the two had worked together on bipartisan legislation that affects the coal industry both states share.
The bill they proposed focused on encouraging states to comply with existing manual background check rules by supplying more complete records on their list of those prohibited from carrying them and expand background checks at gun shows; legislation which already exists in Pennsylvania but not all states, as well as on-line purchases.