Sens. Patrick Toomey, R-Pa., and Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., went out on a limb to iron out the kinks in a contentious background check bill. But the legislation hasn't won the praise of pro-gun groups or turned the tide so far on GOP senators who vow to filibuster gun legislation.
"They are going to spring it on us and bring it to the floor to get on to the gun control buffet," says Michael Hammond, legislative council for Gun Owners of America. "Their goal is to surprise us before the gun community has a chance to organize."
Gun Owners of America has been making its rounds on Capitol Hill over the last few months, mobilizing thousands of supporters to call, write and demand members hold their ground on guns. A compromise bill isn't enough to call them off, the group says.
In an alert directed to mobilize supporters, the Gun Owners of America urged firearm owners to reach out to their lawmakers immediately.
"It is urgent that every gun owner call their Senators today and demand that they oppose the "See a Shrink, Lose your Guns" sell-out bill that is being authored by Senators Pat Toomey and Joe Manchin, but which also has Chuck Schumer's fingerprints all over it," the alert released to U.S. News reads.
Toomey and Manchin's legislation clarifies that doctors can enter mental health records into the national background check system without it being a violation of privacy laws. And while their bill would not be "universal" as the White House prescribed, it would close the so-called gun show loophole so that private sellers at an event would have a licensed firearm dealer run background checks on potential weapons buyers.
The legislation would also more strictly regulate Internet gun sales and require buyers to get a background check even if they bought from individuals. However, person-to-person exchanges without background checks would not be illegal under the new bill, eliminating the need for private record keeping.
"The common ground rests on a simple proposition: criminals and the dangerously mentally ill shouldn't have guns. I don't know anyone who disagrees with that premise," Toomey said during a press conference. "I don't consider criminal background checks to be gun control."
Toomey, who has an 'A' rating from the National Rifle Association, said he did not fear the wrath of gun groups who may disagree with the proposal.
"What matters to me is doing the right thing, and this is the right thing," he said.
In an emailed statement, the National Rifle Association warned that it did not think the bill addressed the heart of the problem.
"While the overwhelming rejection of President Obama and Mayor Bloomberg's "universal" background check agenda is a positive development, we have a broken mental health system that is not going to be fixed with more background checks at gun shows," the statement reads. "The sad truth is that no background check would have prevented the tragedy in Newtown, Aurora or Tucson."
But outside groups are not the only ones taking steam out of the compromise. Toomey alluded to mixed GOP reviews on his background check bill during his press conference.
"There are some people who are very interested in learning more. Others are not very interested," Toomey said. When asked whether he thought the bill would pass the Senate and the Republican-controlled House, Toomey replied "this is a fluid situation and it is hard to tell."
The legislation will be the first amendment Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will take up when the Senate convenes for a procedural vote Thursday. Other amendments that are expected to be introduced are a ban on high-capacity magazines and an assault weapons ban.