Senators Reach Deal On Background Checks

Sens. Joe Manchin and Pat Toomey will unveil a bipartisan deal to expand background checks for commercial gun sales at a news conference Wednesday morning, opening a pathway for the biggest change in U.S. gun laws in nearly two decades.

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), who has been closely involved in the gun talks, called Mark Kelly, husband of former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), on Wednesday morning to inform them he had signed off on the agreement, according to a Senate aide.

This came after Schumer negotiated several changes to the initial Manchin-Toomey proposal. Giffords was seriously wounded in a Jan. 2011 shooting that left six other people dead. Giffords resigned from Congress the next year, and she and Kelly — a former astronaut — have becoming leading gun-control advocates.

Schumer also spoke to Vice President Joe Biden and New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg to give them details of agreement and his support for it.

The agreement could give political cover for enough Republicans to vote Thursday and exceed the 60-vote requirement needed to allow the Senate to proceed to what would be an emotional floor debate on gun control legislation. That debate could last one to two weeks before a final vote, said Senate aides.

The changes proposed by Schumer included striking language from the agreement allowing concealed permit holders to carry their weapons in other states, and limiting Internet sales to five guns per year.

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