Updated with responses from the Nat’l Association for Gun Rights (whose ad is to the right) and the Newtown families, via MAIG.
If Sen. Pat Toomey had hoped his background check compromise would win over gun rights advocates, he was disappointed Wednesday.
Reactions to his plan are pouring in. While it’s earned praise from Democrats and some Republicans, gun rights advocates are vocally criticizing it.
They say the bill puts individual liberties at risk but accomplish nothing that would have prevented tragedies like Newtown.
It was the anticipation of such criticism that apparently caused Toomey to keep Sen. Chuck Schumer off the stage at Wednesday’s press conference.
Toomey proposed the package along with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV).
“Candidly, I don’t consider criminal background checks to be gun control. I think it’s just common sense,” Toomey said.
“Expanding background checks at gun shows will not prevent the next shooting, will not solve violent crime and will not keep our kids safe in schools. While the overwhelming rejection of President Obama and Mayor Bloomberg’s ‘universal’ background check agenda is a positive development, we have a broken mental health system that is not going to be fixed with more background checks at gun shows. The sad truth is that no background check would have prevented the tragedies in Newtown, Aurora or Tucson.”
“…nothing in this bill would have stopped Newtown dirtbag from killing his mother and taking the firearms that she owned and perpetrating the horrible crimes that he committed.
Nothing is this bill would actually make children safer at schools. There is nothing that will actually keep bad guys from stealing or illegally acquiring guns, but there’s plenty that will threaten our gun rights!”
“Arlen Specter would be so proud of Pat Toomey giving the Republicans cover to go left.
“Over all, and I think this is key, this is ephemeral bull. This proposal will scratch the itch to do something, but will do nothing at all except expand bureaucracy. It would not stop events like Newtown or Columbine or the daily massacre in Chicago.”
Update: The National Association for Gun Rights is running an online ad campaign against Toomey, directing users to this page:
The most dangerous phase in the fight for gun rights is upon us — RIGHT NOW. I’m talking about Obama’s gun control scheme that Sen. Reid is pushing TODAY.
And your Senator Pat Toomey helping ram it into law.
PoliticsPA is seeking details on the size and scope of the buy.
Meanwhile, gun safety/control groups have been steady in their praise.
President Barack Obama:
“I applaud Senators Joe Manchin and Pat Toomey for their leadership on forging a bipartisan agreement around commonsense background checks that will make it harder for dangerous people to get their hands on a gun.
“This is not my bill, and there are aspects of the agreement that I might prefer to be stronger. 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.”
NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, whose group Mayors Against Illegal Guns announced that it was pulling down its Toomey TV ads in Pa.:
“I want to thank Senators Manchin and Toomey for their determination to find common ground on a bill that Democrats and Republicans can fully support. This bill will not only help keep guns out of the wrong hands – it will help save lives and keep our communities safe.”
Update: MAIG also got responses from family members of 5 the victims of Newtown, Connecticut:
“While nothing can be done to bring back our loved ones, we are deeply encouraged by the leadership demonstrated yesterday by Senators Manchin and Toomey. Their bipartisan compromise to expand background checks will help keep guns from falling into the wrong hands, and most importantly it will help save lives.”
Shira Goodman, Executive Director of CeaseFire PA:
“Senators Toomey and Casey are demonstrating that there is movement in Pennsylvania on the critical issue of gun violence prevention. We look forward to working with members of both parties in Washington, D.C. and Harrisburg to advance the work of keeping our communities safe from gun violence.”
“While we continue to review the draft bill, we believe a majority of the components are a good step forward to reducing gun violence. It continues the work that began more than 20 years ago when the Brady background check system was first created. Since that time, two million prohibited purchasers have been prevented from buying a gun, so we know that background checks work. This is not about gun control, it is about saving lives and more than nine out of ten Americans agree, criminals should not be allowed to easily purchase guns.”
Toomey is getting ground support from some Pa. Republicans.
Congressman Pat Meehan (R-Delaware) offered his instantaneous and full-throated approval:
“This common-sense agreement protects family transfers, and it builds on existing Pennsylvania and federal background check laws. Importantly, it ensures no federal gun registry is created and it does not impose federal bureaucratic mandates on private citizens exercising their constitutional rights. It’s what I’ve long fought for, and worked closely with advocates on all sides to achieve. Senate Democrats and Republicans should support it.”
And Pa. Republican Party Chair Rob Gleason thread the needle between slamming Obama and complementing Toomey for helping to facilitate one of Obama’s biggest policy goals:
“President Obama and his liberal allies continue to be unabashed in their efforts to take away our Second Amendment rights. Senator Toomey has our support to protect Pennsylvanians’ constitutional rights.”
But many Pa. Republicans are not on board. 75 GOP state Reps. signed onto a letter with state Rep. Daryl Metcalfe (R-Butler) which said in part:
“As part of our elected representation in Washington, D.C., we urge you to reject any compromise that would advance any new gun control measures, including ‘universal’ or ‘comprehensive’ background checks that are being advocated for by New York City Mayor Bloomberg, Obama, Biden, Senator Chuck Schumer or any other individuals seeking to violate the rights of law abiding citizens instead of stopping criminals.”