On the eve of the six-month anniversary of the Sandy Hook murders, Pennsylvania Republican Sen. Pat Toomey issued a statement reaffirming his support for expanding background checks on firearms sales and said he hopes the Senate can find the votes to make it law.
Toomey, after making national news as the Republican who stuck his neck out on gun control, stepped back after a vote on the proposal he co-wrote with West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin to require background checks on online sales and at gun shows fell short. He said then that the Senate had spoken and it was time to move on.
But Thursday morning, Toomey issued a statement that was part defense of his support for the tighter gun control and part rallying cry:
“It is a somber week as we remember that it has been six months since the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School. The bravery of the survivors and family members has been an inspiration to many who believe – as I do – that we can do a better job of keeping guns out of the hands of people who should not have them.
I am a gun owner and a strong supporter of the Second Amendment. If my bill would have restricted the rights of law-abiding citizens, I would not have supported it.
I have also long supported enhanced background checks and voted for such a bill in 1999 as a member of the House. I was proud to work with Sen. Manchin on our bill, which would have enhanced background checks for commercial firearm sales without infringing on the rights of law-abiding citizens.
Our bill would not have stopped the tragedy at Sandy Hook. However, the Manchin-Toomey proposal would help keep guns out of the hands of at least some criminals and the dangerously mentally ill. I continue to believe this is common-sense policy and hope that we can find the votes needed for passage.”
The issue, which never really went away, reemerged in the news this week with a trifecta of events. The families of the Newtown, Conn. victims returned to Capitol Hill to continue lobbying for stronger gun laws, New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg called on big Democratic donors to pull support from Democrats who voted against the Toomey-Manchin bill, and Vice President Joe Biden is expected to hold an event at the White House next week about combating gun violence.
Toomey was not scheduled to meet with Newtown families, his spokeswoman said.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun