(CNSNews.com) – Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) told CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday that although President Biden campaigned as a deal broker, he has chosen not to reach across the aisle to bring people together on the issue of gun reform.
“The problem is I think the president might have been a president who would reach across the aisle try to bring people together, but he’s chosen not to take that approach. Since day one, he has sided with the far left of his party and really not reached out to Republicans,” the senator said.
“He gave a speech on this topic where he advocated policies that he knows for sure have no chance of passing the Senate probably couldn’t even get 50 votes, and hold the Democrats much less get the 60 we would need. So once again, the president is not being very helpful,” Toomey said.
“I think at the end of the day, this is going to come down to whether we can reach a consensus in the United States Senate. There are intensive discussions underway. It includes people who have not been engaged on this issue in the past. I can’t certainly can’t guarantee any outcome. But it feels to me like we are closer than we’ve been since I’ve been in the Senate,” he said.
Toomey is one of six Republicans working with Sen. Chris Murphy on gun reform legislation that will not ban assault weapons and will not have comprehensive background checks as part of it, host Margaret Brennan noted.
When asked whether Toomey’s proposal to expand background checks is still in it, the senator said, “Well, I certainly hope we’re going to have an expansion of background checks. You know, Senator Manchin and I have been working on this for a long time, and we’ve tried to establish that, at least for commercial sales of firearms, there ought to be a background check.
“So sales at gun shows, sales that are advertised over the internet. I don’t know that we’ll get exactly what Senator Manchin and I developed some years ago, it’d probably be something different than that, and that’s fine. There are a number of mechanisms you could use to expand background checks, but I just think it makes sense,” Toomey said.
“We all agree that violent criminals and deranged dangerously mentally ill people shouldn’t have firearms. So we need a mechanism to increase the likelihood that will identify such a person and prevent them from buying a gun legally anyway, and so that’s the idea behind expanding background checks,” he said.
Toomey said that he’s hopeful that he’ll get more than the other six Republicans who are negotiating to stand with him.
“My hope is we’ll get a lot more than that. My hope is we’ll get at least half the Republican conference,” Toomey said.
When asked whether there’s a risk that the Republican Party becomes associated with gun violence if Toomey can’t get those votes, the senator said, “You know, look, I think the Republicans have been very consistently supporters of Second Second Amendment rights. Republican voters expect Republicans to defend the Second Amendment.
“I think there is a place to land that’s consistent with the Second Amendment, as I’ve been advocating for expanding background checks, by the way, I think encouraging states to have some kind of red flag laws could make sense as long as there’s adequate due process,” he said.
“I think there are school safety provisions, there are mental health issues that we could address. So there are things we could do that would be constructive, that are consistent with Republican values, and I’m hoping we’ll get there,” Toomey added.
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