Senators agreed on language for an alternative background check bill late Tuesday that could breathe new life into legislation that appeared to be dead on arrival.
Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., who is up for reelection in 2014 and Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., will unveil their compromise bill Wednesday, but sources close to the negotiation say it addresses key concerns GOP lawmakers had that the previous legislation set unrealistic restrictions on family firearm transfers and required private sellers to keep records that could eventually be used to compile a national gun registry.
"We have worked in good faith, everyone has worked in good faith," Manchin said about negotiating with Toomey Tuesday. "We have come up with a really good piece of legislation and I would hope that everyone would look at it with open mindedness."
Toomey and Manchin's deal had earned the blessing of Sen. Chuck Schumer, according to reports from Roll Call. Schumer, a member of the Senate's Judiciary Committee, looks poised to convince his more liberal constituents that the compromise bill is the best path forward.
The current bill, as written, would require nearly all private transfers to require a background check, a hurdle lawmakers argued was unreasonable and failed to account for family or friends sharing firearms, as occurs during hunting or sports shooting.
Roll Call reports that the Toomey, Manchin compromise would require background checks for all gun sales by unlicensed dealers at gun shows and over the Internet.
Toomey's involvement and support could be enough to convince conservative Republicans to sign onto the bill, which faces more than a dozen filibuster threats in the Senate. Toomey hold an "A" rating from the National Rifle Association and tends to vote alongside some of the most conservative members of his party.
The background check bill is a pivotal component in the most sweeping gun package Congress has taken up since the 1994 assault weapons ban.
The provision is one of three the Senate will take up Thursday. The body will also vote to make buying guns for felons a federal crime and will vote to increase funding by $10 million to finance the Secure our Schools program, a grant that provides schools with money to pay for campus improvements like reinforced doors and new locks.