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Efforts to revive gun-control discussions in works on Capitol Hill

April 26, 2013 at 10:12 AM   |   Comments

WASHINGTON, April 26 (UPI) -- A bipartisan group of U.S. senators is working to revive gun-control legislation, addressing differences that blocked advancement of a background checks bill.

Gun-control supporters said they think they can prevail through a two-pronged strategy of identifying senators who may be willing to change their votes and support a background check system with fewer loopholes and building a national campaign that would better corral overwhelming public support for universal background checks to pressure lawmakers, The New York Times reported Thursday.

Sens. Joe Manchin III, D-W.Va., and Patrick J. Toomey, R-Pa., who presented a compromise background checks plan that failed, have been discussing ways they could persuade more senators to support their bill to expand background checks for gun buyers, the Times said.

"We're going to work it hard," Manchin said.

A separate gun measure, an anti-trafficking bill, is being discussed by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., and two Republican senators who voted no on the background check bill -- Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire and Charles Grassley of Iowa. Gillibrand's bill would criminalize shipping or transferring guns to someone who is barred from possessing a firearm.

"I think trafficking can be the base of the bill, the rock on which everything else stands," Gillibrand told the Times. "I also think it's complementary to background checks because, let's be honest, criminals aren't going to buy a gun and go through a background check. So if you really want to go after criminals, you have to do both."

Ayotte said she was confident some areas of agreement could be reached.

"There's a lot we have agreement on in terms of enforcing our current system," she told the Times. "And so I certainly think we should look for the common elements, including the mental health piece, which I support as well, and try to move as much of that as possible forward."

The Times said gun-control groups coordinating with the Obama committee Organizing for Action will participate in demonstrations at the local offices of senators who voted down the background check bill. Congress is in recess next week.

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