Sen. Toomey 'cautiously optimistic' about his gun background check bill

Mike DeNardo
September 20, 2019 - 3:20 pm
Pennsylvania U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey at a meeting with reporters.

Mike DeNardo/KYW Newsradio

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Pennsylvania U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, who met with reporters at his Philadelphia office Friday, says he's "cautiously optimistic" about his gun background check bill after some tweaks suggested by Attorney General Bill Barr. 

Toomey says after meeting with Barr this week, he's a bit more optimistic about expanding background checks to all commercial gun sales.

"My goal in this effort is the same goal I've had for several years now, which is to do more to keep guns out of the hands of people who shouldn't have guns in the first place," Toomey said. 

Toomey says the attorney general suggested establishing a system allowing licensed agents to conduct background checks instead of only gun dealers, and a system that would have sellers — not the government — keeping records of the transactions.

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Toomey says Democrats think the changes don't go far enough, and some of his fellow Republicans would rather do nothing. He says he met with President Trump on the suggestions, but he doesn't know if the president will support them.

"I don't know what the outcome is going to be" he said. "But I can say that there is a momentum that I haven't perceived in quite a long time."

But Toomey says Majority Leader Mitch McConnell isn't going to bring any bill to the floor that the president won't sign. 

"If we have a president who is not going to sign it for whatever reason, then we have to ask ourselves whether it's worth spending a week on the Senate floor when we could be doing other things," Toomey added.