Senators announce gun background check compromise bill - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Senators announce gun background check compromise bill

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U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., joined Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., to introduce a bill April 10 that would prevent convicted criminals and dangerously mentally ill from purchasing guns.

The Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights Protection Act will not infringe on law-abiding gun owners' Second Amendment rights, according to a news release from Manchin.

He called the measures "commonsense," and said they would expand existing background checks to gun shows and online sales.

It would ban the federal government from creating a registry and creates a new penalty for misusing records to create a registry. It also would provide an appeals process before veterans lose their guns and it calls for a commission of non-elected experts to study the broad causes of mass violence in the United States.

"While the unspeakable tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut has elevated the gun safety conversation, we cannot sacrifice our Constitutional rights out of fear," Manchin said in a news release. "It is our obligation to keep our children safe and to protect our Second Amendment rights -- and I truly believe we can and must do both."

President Barack Obama issued a statement saying he applauds the senators for their bill.

"This is not my bill, and there are aspects of the agreement that I might prefer to be stronger," he said in a prepared statement. "But the agreement does represent welcome and significant bipartisan progress.

"It recognizes that there are good people on both sides of this issue, and we don't have to agree on everything to know that we've got to do something to stem the tide of gun violence."