- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Sen. Pat Toomey, one of the main architects of the failed Senate legislation to expand gun background checks, blamed misinformation for helping sink the bill.

“One of the things that certainly set us back is that the early leaks about a potential deal led to gross misaccurate characterizations of the legislation,” said the Pennsylvania Republican, who co-sponsored the bill with Sen. Joe Manchin III, West Virginia Democrat, on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” Wednesday. “So we spent a lot of time, Joe Manchin and I did, just setting the record straight of what was actually in the bill.

“It’s always hard to make a sale when you’re in that environment,” he said.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, last week shelved the Manchin/Toomey measure, which called for expanding background checks to all private Internet and gun show sales, after support came up five senators short of the 60 needed to clear procedural hurdles.

Mr. Toomey says he’s hopeful the bill will be brought back for a vote later this year. And with recent polls in many states showing overwhelming support for strengthening firearm background checks, he implored supporters of his bill to speak up.

“The most important thing frankly is members of Congress need to hear from people, and the people who support these background checks need to be as vocal as those who don’t,” he said. “It does not infringe any any law-abiding citizens whatsoever, and if it had I wouldn’t have supported it.

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“Trying to make it harder for people who have no legal right to have a weapon to obtain it, that’s perfectly consistent with the Constitution and frankly common sense.”

• Sean Lengell can be reached at slengell@washingtontimes.com.

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