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by
Bridget Johnson

Bio

April 12, 2013 - 3:06 pm

Sen. Pat Toomey’s (R-Pa.) office was in intensive lobbying mode today to convince skeptical conservatives that the compromise forged with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) on background checks.

Their bill is the first amendment expected to the gun bill before the Senate next week.

“HERE’S WHY THE MANCHIN-TOOMEY-KIRK-SCHUMER AMENDMENT IS GOOD FOR GUN OWNERS” the office of the former Club for Growth president said in an email shortly after noon.

EXAMPLE #1

1)    The Manchin-Toomey-Kirk-Schumer amendment expressly prohibits a national registry and goes one step further by requiring 15 years in jail for any government official who attempts to keep such a list. In other words, this amendment makes it harder – not easier — to create a federal registry than under current law.

Schumer and Kirk are leaving the talking up to Toomey and Manchin.

An hour and a half later from Toomey’s office, “HERE’S WHY THE PUBLIC SAFETY AND 2ND AMENDMENT RIGHTS PROTECTION ACT IS GOOD FOR GUN OWNERS.”

EXAMPLE #2

2)    The Public Safety and 2nd Amendment Rights Protection Act now allows concealed carry permit holders to skip a background check altogether.

And later in the day:

EXAMPLE #3

3)    The Public Safety and 2nd Amendment Rights Protection Act allows interstate sales of handguns, which is banned now.

All messages included a link to encourage recipients to read the bill.

Manchin did his part for the full-court press, sending out a fact sheet, “Manchin-Toomey Amendment Protects Second Amendment Rights of Those Who Have Served Our Country”:

FACT – This amendment fixes an outdated law and allows active duty service members and their spouses to purchase guns in their home state, as well as their duty station.  Current law unfairly restricts them to only buying guns in the state where they are stationed.

FACT – This amendment requires notification of veterans who have already been placed in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) by the Department of Veterans Affairs; some veterans may not even know they are in NICS. Once they are notified, the amendment allows every veteran in NICS to appeal for removal. There are currently over 150,000 veterans in NICS because they have had a fiduciary – someone to manage their finances – designated for them.

FACT – This amendment helps reduce the stigma surrounding PTSD by creating a fair appeals process for veterans who may have been wrongly or automatically categorized as unfit to own or purchase firearms.

FACT – This amendment establishes an appeals process for veterans by allowing them to appeal to an independent board or a court before being placed in the NICS system.

FACT – This amendment protects a veteran’s right to bear arms until he or she has exhausted the appeals process, which is different from the current system in which veterans are “guilty until proven innocent.” 

Additional bill facts:

  • This amendment will not ban any kind of weapon, magazine, or ammunition.
  • This amendment will not create a national registry (in fact, it explicitly prohibits it).  Those who attempt to create a registry face up to 15 years in prison.

Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), one of the 16 Republican “yes” votes on cloture to move Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) gun package forward, reiterated today that he’ll vote against the Toomey-Manchin amendment.

“I’ll examine each amendment to determine whether it strengthens or infringes upon our Second Amendment rights,” Alexander said. “The Toomey-Manchin proposal to expand background checks in my opinion doesn’t meet that test and I will vote against it.”

Alexander’s office stressed his “A” rating from the NRA.

Bridget Johnson is a veteran journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She is an NPR contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.

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