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."