Toomey hopes change in political climate makes opening for gun control law

Mike DeNardo
August 06, 2019 - 1:57 pm
The future of a law on renewable energy is being targeted by one of Pennsylvania's senators and the EPA.

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Following back-to-back mass shootings over the weekend that left 31 people dead, Pennsylvania U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey is hoping to revive the gun control legislation he proposed six years ago.

After the Sandy Hook shootings, Toomey co-sponsored a bill toughening background checks for gun sales. It failed in the Senate. But he says, after the recent mass shootings, the environment for gun legislation may have changed. At a news conference at his Philadelphia office, Toomey pushed for three new laws:

  • "Red flag" laws that would allow authorities to prevent people deemed dangerous because of mental illness or another crisis from owning guns.
  • "Lie and try" laws calling on federal authorities to alert states when people lie on their gun background check form. Toomey and Delaware Democrat Chris Coons are co-sponsoring such a bill. 
  • The expanded background check bill that the Republican Toomey co-authored with West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin in 2013.

"What we've got is some increasing momentum. Probably broad bipartisan support for a 'red flag' bill. Probably broad bipartisan support for a "'lie and try' bill," he said. "We're probably not there on a broader background check bill, but I think we can get there."

Toomey said he spoke with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and he said if bipartisan gun control legislation that the president would sign could be crafted, he didn't believe McConnell would stand in the way.

"There is no single bill that is going to prevent all such mass shootings," he said. "That doesn't mean we shouldn't do all we can to prevent those that we can."