- The Washington Times - Monday, April 15, 2013

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, kicked off Monday’s session by saying the victims of December’s Connecticut shooting rampage deserve a vote on gun legislation and warning of “unreasonable extremists” who may try to derail or delay the process.

Mr. Reid said protecting citizens’ Second Amendment rights and working to prevent gun violence are “both worthy goals, and they should not be mutually exclusive goals.”

The Senate on Monday begins debate on a gun-control bill, the expected centerpiece of which is a amendment that would expand gun-purchase background checks to gun sales online and to all vendors at gun shows.

The measure was recently rolled out by Sens. Patrick J. Toomey, Pennsylvania Republican, and Joe Manchin, West Virginia Democrat.

Presently, only licensed firearms dealers are required to conduct background checks.

The broader gun legislation before the Senate includes more far-reaching language on background checks the Toomey-Manchin amendment is intended to replace, as well as rules increasing penalties for gun trafficking, straw purchasers, and a measure intended to increase school safety.

SPECIAL COVERAGE: Second Amendment & Gun Control

“This compromise legislation shouldn’t be controversial,” Mr. Reid said, adding that he hopes “there aren’t going to be a few unreasonable extremists” that will try to prevent a vote.

“Newtown deserves a vote,” Mr. Reid said.

Any individual amendment proposed — of which there could be dozens — needs 60 votes to overcome a potential filibuster, and it remains unclear whether the Toomey-Manchin amendment will gain enough support to do so.

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