John McCain Bucks the NRA, Supports Expanding Background Checks for Gun Sales
|The NRA's plea to supporters today.|
According to all the newspapers in Washington, the so-called "Manchin-Toomey amendment" is likely headed for defeat today, but McCain's one of a reported four Senate Republicans who support it.
"Just as I have long defended the Second Amendment to the Constitution, I have also long believed that it is perfectly reasonable to use available tools to conduct limited background checks, as this amendment prescribes, to help ensure that felons and the mentally ill do not obtain guns they should not possess," McCain said in a floor speech. "In my view, such background checks are not overly burdensome or unconstitutional."
You can see the text of the amendment here, which describes adding more federal court and mental-health records to the national instant background check system.
Arizona's other Senator, Republican Jeff Flake, posted his non-support of the amendment on Facebook.
"Here are a few thoughts: Manchin-Toomey would expand background checks far beyond commercial sales to include almost all private transfers -- including between friends and neighbors -- if the posting or display of the ad for a firearm was made public," his post says. "It would likely even extend to message boards, like the one in an office kitchen. This simply goes too far."
Flake says he's co-sponsoring a different amendment, saying that he does support background checks.
McCain seemed to make a pretty sound argument, although he, like every other Senator, seems to avoid getting into the specific details about what the amendment does.
You can read the full text of McCain's speech on the next page: