Senate’s compromise on gun background checks softer than new Colorado law

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Sen. Joe Manchin, D-WV, (left) and Sen. Pat Toomey, R-PA, announce a compromise amendment to close the gun show loophole.

DENVER — The compromise deal on expanding gun background checks that two moderate senators are set to release Wednesday morning will not go as far as current Colorado law, according to initial reports.

The bipartisan deal to expand background checks, hashed out by Sen. Joe Manchin, D-West Virginia, and Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pennsylvania, would close the so-called “gun show loophole”, potentially the biggest change to federal gun laws since 1993.

It would also require background checks for all online gun sales.

Colorado closed the gun show loophole, which enables people buying guns at gun shows to avoid background checks, back in the year 2000 following the deadly shooting at Columbine High School.

And the proposal likely to be debated by the Senate over the next couple of weeks would stop well short of requiring background checks on person-to-person sales, as will be required under Colorado’s House Bill 1229, which Gov. John Hickenlooper signed into law last month.

According to initial reports, the Manchin-Toomey compromise will change federal law so that when a sale occurs, the buyer and seller would meet at a federally licensed dealer, who would conduct the check — and the dealer, not the government, will keep control of the sales record, as has been the process for the last four decades.

It would be a felony to sell a gun without a background check to a prohibited buyer or police officer.

Last week, President Obama attempted to rally support for gun control legislation during an event in Denver where he highlighted the new laws approved by Colorado lawmakers as proof that progress on the issue is possible.

“I think that Colorado has shown that practical progress is possible by enacting tougher background checks that won’t infringe on the rights of responsible gun owners, but will help keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people,” Obama said at the Denver Police Academy last Wednesday.

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