Sen. Chris Murphy displays a poster of Newtown shooting victim Dylan Hockley as he comes to the end of his filibuster on the Senate floor in 2015.
Attorney General William Barr.

Updated at 5:14 p.m.

Washington – Sen. Chris Murphy met with U.S. Attorney General William Barr late Wednesday over a gun background check proposal the White House has circulated to a number of senators.

“Just finished meeting w Attorney General Barr w @SenToomey  and  Sen_JoeManchin,”  Murphy tweeted after the meeting. “It was a really good discussion. But the fact remains that there is no good deal that the gun lobby will support. Now, the White House has a choice to make.”

The administration’s proposal says that “consistent with the Manchin-Toomey draft legislation,” (a compromise bill aimed at expanding FBI background checks of gun purchasers drafted in response to the Newtown massacre) all commercial gun sales would be subject to background checks, including those at gun shows.

But the proposed legislation exempts people-to-people sales and falls short of a bill the U.S. House approved in February that would make background checks of prospective gun buyers universal.

The legislation would also create a new group of licensed transfer agents that would, along with today’s established Federal Firearm Licensees, run information about a prospective gun buyer through the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System.

Sellers would choose voluntarily whether the federal firearm licensees or a transfer agent keeps records of the transactions. That’s a concession to Republicans who fear gun owners would object to any proposal could be considered a government “gun registry.”

Both Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Pat Toomey, R-Pa., the authors of the compromise bill that failed to pass the Senate after the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School, have spoken to Barr about the proposal.

Toomey said the idea “as a lot of merit,” but that there are “a lot of details to be fleshed out.”

Murphy has been pressing the White House to back the Manchin-Toomey bill, even as it falls short of the senator’s goal of universal coverage.

A key conservative, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, rejected the plan outright Wednesday, saying it is a step toward federal confiscation of guns. President Donald Trump has also not weighed in on the plan.

Ana has written about politics and policy in Washington, D.C.. for Gannett, Thompson Reuters and UPI. She was a special correspondent for the Miami Herald, and a regular contributor to The New York TImes, Advertising Age and several other publications. She has also worked in broadcast journalism, for CNN and several local NPR stations. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland School of Journalism.

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  1. Criminals will never obey laws. There will always be guns. Law abiding citizens will be the only ones being punished by more laws or even worse, a home invasion with no protection!

  2. America has an estimated 300 million guns 100 million acquired illegally. So it’s unclear how background checks for legally acquired guns will reduce the 12,000 estimated gun homicides each year. Especially when most occur in our depressed inner cities where illegal gun ownership is common.

    Even so if we have license to drive autos that kill 30,000 yearly what’s wrong with licenses to own firearms ? Especially if there are strong penalties for not having a license ? Does the Constitution prohibit requiring auto and gun licenses ? Lets hope not. Life saved could be yours !

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