The Washington Times - February 17, 2013, 10:01AM

Sen. Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat, said Sunday that a bipartisan group that has been crafting a plan regarding background checks for gun sales has made progress, but he appeared less bullish on the prospects of a ban on so-called assault weapons.

“We’ve both made progress and have a ways to go,” Mr. Schumer said on CNN’s “State of the Union,” saying he would not get into the details of the negotiating process publicly on the sensitive issue.


Mr. Schumer has been in private talks with Sens. Joe Manchin III, West Virginia Democrat; Tom Coburn, Oklahoma Republican; and Mark Kirk, Illinois Republican, on the issue.

He said their proposal would be more likely to garner support from both sides of the aisle than a ban on so-called assault weapons, which is widely presumed to be the most politically difficult measure of President Obama’s gun-control package.

“I think that certainly Senator [Dianne] Feinstein has championed assault weapons, and it will be voted on by the Senate,” Mr. Schumer said. “We’ve been focusing on universal background checks, where I think there’s a greater chance to come to a bipartisan agreement.”