Grassley argues the current language makes it a crime for family members to share guns for longer than seven days without administering a background check. The only exception is if a family member gives a direct relative a "bona fide gift." "The bill's family exception applies to gifts only. It does not permit lending a gun to a family member. The bill does not permit a temporary transfer in the home," Grassley said in a prepared statement about the bill. "So a gun owner cannot bring a new gun to a friend's house and let him handle it briefly. If a gun owner and a friend return from the shooting range, then stop at the friend's house, the friend can't handle the owner's gun to show him how better to clean it."
Many dismiss the GOP concerns as an excuse for the party to drag its feet on gun control.
"I think the most effective thing we can do is the background checks. I think that is the big deal around here," says independent Sen. Angus King of Maine. "To not proceed to the bill ... is shocking disrespect for the American people given the outpouring of support for doing something on this problem."
King agreed with opponents that it would make sense to reasonably exempt family members from the law, and he is optimistic that senators can talk through those on the floor.
"There should be common sense exceptions covering family transactions," King says. "There are going to be amendments, there is going to be debate."