- The Washington Times - Friday, August 2, 2013

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says the chamber will likely take up a measure to expand gun-purchase background checks next year after failing to pass one in April.

“I think sometime next year we’ll revisit that issue,” Mr. Reid said, senate-will-take-background-checks-midterms” target=”_blank”>according to The Nation. “I’m almost certain of it.”

The Nevada Democrat added that negotiations over spending bills and the debt ceiling would preclude action on the issue this fall.


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Mr. Reid, along with as President Obama and gun control advocacy groups, have vowed not to let the issue fade as the eight-month anniversary of the December school shootings in Newtown, Conn., approaches.

Advocates got a victory earlier this week when the Senate confirmed B. Todd Jones as the first permanent director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) since 2006, one of Mr. Obama’s priorities in his plan to reduce gun violence in the country.

Though public polls show a vast majority of Americans support expanding the checks, a second vote on the issue before the 2014 midterm elections would provide another tough test for Democrats up for re-election in red states, such as Mark Begich of Alaska and Mark Pryor of Arkansas, both of whom voted against the measure. Mr. Pryor actually used the first ad of his re-election campaign to take on New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the co-founder of the advocacy group Mayors Against Illegal Guns.

Such a move could also test the political muscle of new advocacy groups that were created or emboldened in the wake of the shootings, where 20 children and six educators were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Former Rep. Gabby Giffords has formed Americans for Responsible Solutions with her husband, retired astronaut Mark Kelly, to support candidates in favor of gun safety measures and oppose politicians who do not. Last month, the two recently went on a weeklong tour to states represented by potential swing votes on gun control.

Mrs. Giffords and Mr. Kelly launched ARS on Jan. 8 — the two-year anniversary of the shooting spree in which Mrs. Giffords was shot in the head at a constituent event in Tucson, Arizona. Six people were killed and 12 others were also wounded.

The group has raised $6.6 million so far this year.