What's inside the Manchin-Toomey background check proposal?

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia) and Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pennsylvania) have released their much buzzed-about proposal to extend background checks to all commercial gun sales, including sales conducted at gun shows or on the Internet.  The proposal would exempt some gun sales from background checks, such as those that occur between relatives.

From the press release issued by the two Senators (via Jamie Dupree):

The Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights Protection Act would require states and the federal government to send all necessary records on criminals and the violently mentally ill to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). The bill extends the existing background check system to gun shows and online sales.

The bill explicitly bans the federal government from creating a national firearms registry, and imposes serious criminal penalties (a felony with up to 15 years in prison) on any person who misuses or illegally retains firearms records.


Summary of Title I: This section improves background checks for firearms by strengthening the instant check system.

– Encourage states to provide all their available records to NICS by restricting federal funds to states who do not comply.

– Allow dealers to voluntarily use the NICS database to run background checks on their prospective employees.

– Clarifies that submissions of mental health records into the NICS system are not prohibited by federal privacy laws (HIPAA).

– Provides a legal process for a veteran to contest his/her placement in NICS when there is no basis for barring the right to own a firearm.


Summary of Title II: This section of the bill requires background checks for sales at gun shows and online while securing certain aspects of 2nd Amendment rights for law abiding citizens.

– Closes the gun show and other loopholes while exempting temporary transfers and transfers between family members.

– Fixes interstate travel laws for sportsmen who transport their firearms across state lines in a responsible manner. The term “transport” includes staying in temporary lodging overnight, stopping for food, buying fuel, vehicle maintenance, and medical treatment.

– Protects sellers from lawsuits if the weapon cleared through the expanded background checks and is subsequently used in a crime. This is the same treatment gun dealers receive now.

– Allows dealers to complete transactions at gun shows that take place in a state for which they are not a resident.

– Requires that if a background check at a gun show does not result in a definitive response from NICS within 48 hours, the sale may proceed. After four years, when the NICS improvements are completed, the background check would clear in 24 hours. Current law is three business days.

– Requires the FBI to give priority to finalizing background checks at gun shows over checks at store front dealerships.

– Authorizes use of a state concealed carry permit instead of a background check when purchasing a firearm from a dealer.

– Permits interstate handgun sales from dealers.

– Allows active military to buy firearms in their home states.

– Family transfers and some private sales (friends, neighbors, other individuals) are exempt from background checks


Summary of Title III: : This section of the bill creates a commission to study the causes of mass violence in the United States, looking at all aspects of the problem, including guns, school safety, mental health, and violent media or video games.

The Commission would consist of six experts appointed by the Senate Majority Leader and six experts appointed by the Speaker of the House. They would be required to submit an interim report in three months and a completed report in six months.


The bill will not take away anyone’s guns.

The bill will not ban any type of firearm.

The bill will not ban or restrict the use of any kind of bullet or any size clip or magazine.

The bill will not create a national registry; in fact, it specifically makes it illegal to establish any such registry.

The bill will not, in any way at all, infringe upon the Constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens.

Sen. Toomey rejected the characterization of the proposal as gun control:

Sen. Manchin said action was needed in the wake of the mass shooting in Newtown, Conn., late last year:

Many conservatives expressed concerns about the legislation. In particular, they were disappointed in Toomey, a conservative Republican who was elected on a Tea Party platform:

Background checks would not have stopped the Newtown shooting:

The National Rifle Association asserts that the proposed legislation also would not have prevented mass shootings in Aurora, Colo., and Tucson, Arizona:

Tucson shooter Jared Lee Loughner and Aurora shooter James Holmes both passed background checks, despite having been previously diagnosed with mental health problems.  It is unclear to us whether anything in Section One of the Manchin-Toomey proposal would have made a difference.

Some insist the bill doesn’t go far enough:

At least one prominent conservative Senator says it will be ineffective:

It remains to be seen whether the proposal will gain traction among other Republicans:

Fence-sitting Senators will want to make note of this:

  • AaronHarrisinAlaska

    While sane humans can agree that this sort of legislation would not have prevented Newtown, Aurora, or Virginia Tech can we say its a bad thing? Yes and no. I feel it’s a waste of time. The “gunshow loop hole” has already been debunked adnosium, and the vast majority of online purchases require a back ground check any ways as the gun purchased must be shipped to a licensed gun dealer who is required by law to preform the check. But I say no also because I feel ALL online sales should be through a gun shop, regardless if you can meet the buyer in person or not. This was one of the problems I saw before hand with online deals. The seller and the buyer live in the same town and agree to meet in order to make the transaction. The problem with that is unless its some one you know, you have no way of knowing if the buyer can legally purchase a fire arm or if they’re a formally convicted felon.

    • Hiraghm

      Yes we can say it is a bad thing. It is NOT an Amendment to the Constitution, the only way to change the 2nd Amendment. If We, the People decide to change the 2nd Amendment, then We, the People must further amend the Constitution, not leave it up to an ordinary law passed by legislators which violates the existing 2nd Amendment.

      The law that should be changed is the “persecution” of felons. If you are convicted of a crime, and you fulfill the sentenced punishment completely, then you should have all your rights restored, not be reduced to a 2nd class citizen.

      The idea that free citizens exist who are forbidden to exercise their Constitutional rights would be anathema to the Founding Fathers and their convictions.

      Where in the 2nd Amendment does it cite a qualification requirement to exercise the right?

      • Just Another Guy

        Exactly. “Shall not be infringed” is pretty clear language. That is the reason that poll taxes were tossed.

    • Hiraghm

      Furthermore, I’m appalled at the focus on “preventing Newtown”. What about preventing a solitary, individual citizen from being raped or murdered, suffering and dying alone, in a dark alley? Possession of a firearm might prevent that. But, no, the collectivists stir up outrage over mass killings, and not individual deaths, because they don’t value the individual. Never have, never will.

    • mareader

      I’m a very sane and very observant, and I think this kind of legislation might have prevented Loughner and Holmes from purchasing guns. But maybe you and a lot of people are just fine with mentally unstable people purchasing guns. I’m not, and I think we should try to prevent it. This is an attempt, so let’s try it. http://moderatepoli.blogspot.com/2013/04/short-guns-and-mental-health.html

      • Just Another Guy

        One reason that Holmes and Lanza were able to commit those crimes was because people were “disarmed” in Holmes’ case. There is every likelihood that he wouldn’t have injured/killed as many if those “gun free zones” didn’t exist. And perhaps if there were armed security at schools. We KNOW, based on their writings and actions, that they looked for easy targets.

        As for Loughner, I’m sorry, but it comes down to “stuff happens” in the world that we can’t control. And that is a Liberal’s worse nightmare.

        There are a lot of “what ifs” we can play all day, but fundamentally, bad things happen without any rhyme or reason. And THAT is why people like myself carry each and every day. Not that we are vigilantes. Not that we ever want to have to shoot someone. But because, in a situation like the one Loughner brought about, we want the option. We may not prevail, but we will have a chance we wouldn’t have otherwise.

        As my precocious daughter said when she was 12: “Stuff happens. Finish up the paperwork, flush and move on.”

        • mareader

          I’m not a liberal, and I’m glad you and other trained, responsible gun owners carry. However, I tend to prefer prevention of crime rather than relying only on stopping crime as it occurs.

          • mareader

            Oops, hit the post by accident. I’m not looking for anything like a 100% solution because I’m sane and know that there isn’t one. However, the same reason we keep guns away from felons is the reason we should work harder to keep guns away from mentally unstable people–they are too likely to misuse the guns. The Manchin/Toomey proposals are sensible. People who can’t see that need to step back, think, and not just react. Really, this is a proposal from two very gun-friendly senators. Shouldn’t everyone at least think about it?


    Mr. Toomey yes this bill does infringe on the second amendment rights. Another traitor to the usa constitution.

    • angeleyez

      Harry Reid promised Dianne Feinstein that he would attach her
      GUN GRABBING BILL as an amendment.
      Pat Toomey’s so called common sense bill will be added with the
      Feinstein GUN GRABBING BILL as another amendment.
      Isn’t is better to just kill Harry Reid’s bill and prevent the amendments ?
      ▲ Y E S
      ▼ N O


        How about NO BILL AT ALL. Any bill is against the 2nd Amendment


        How about NO BILL AT ALL. Any bill is against the 2nd Amendment

    • angeleyez

      Harry Reid promised Dianne Feinstein that he would attach her
      GUN GRABBING BILL as an amendment.
      Pat Toomey’s so called common sense bill will be added with the
      Feinstein GUN GRABBING BILL as another amendment.
      Isn’t is better to just kill Harry Reid’s bill and prevent the amendments ?
      ▲ Y E S
      ▼ N O

    • HindaRifka

      This does on a National level what is already happening in NJ. Right now, the “instant” NICS check is taking 8-12 days, while a few miles away in PA, the NICS check is 15 minutes. This bill claims that if your NICS check takes over 48 hours at a gun show, your sale will automatically be allowed to go through. So, the 15 minute NICS will now take 48 hours? Keep in mind, you are not at your local gun shop, you are at a gun show with vendors that may live hundreds of miles away from you. This means more costs as well as time and effort. This is gun control by attrition, one nagging detail at a time.

    • gun_nut

      And private property and privacy rights. One provision makes a distinction between a physical bulletin board and online, which many judges may consider capricious. My biggest concern is that a lots of goodies were added in. If you want the goodies, you have to swallow the poison pill.

  • Kevin Krom

    A background check is registration under a different name. If they run the check, you can be darn sure there’s a permanent record of that stored somewhere.

    • AaronHarrisinAlaska

      Nope. All the check does is look to see if your a registered criminal or incompetent. There is no information added. No one is typing on a key board, flipping a switch, or clicking a button that says “you bought a gun”

      • $46661540

        Exactly, it’ll just show that at one point this person considered buying a gun, which is vague. It doesn’t say if the person actually purchased a gun or even what type of gun they were looking to buy.

        And who cares if it wouldn’t stop the next Newtown. I own and gun, and I hope to never use it. I think the likelihood of using it is dramatically increased when those who shouldn’t have guns do have guns.

      • $35038462

        What are you referring to? A bill that hasn’t passed that we haven’t read that they are going to amend later? Where do you get your information?

      • Kevin Krom

        “The reason is because the Department of Justice has said the only way to implement what they want–universal background checks–is a registry, a
        federal list of every gun owner in America.” – Sen. Ted Cruz (TX)

        I’ve done computer work for the government. Believe me, every transaction is logged and kept.

    • GoSellCrazySomeplaceElse

      Yeah, and as soon as this socialist regime wants to change that provision, they will, no questions asked. We can’t open the door. Once they get their fat foot in the door, the next thing you know is you have a permanent houseguest.

  • Garth Haycock

    So, we’re supposed to believe/trust that because it says that it will be illegal to create a national registry, that this administration in particular and any other administration won’t do it?

    How stupid do they think we are?

    • Emjay Graykat

      Yea, Obamacare has no death panel functions and doesn’t affect medicare and doesn’t increase our insurance premiums. Oh, and I found out from my tax preparer if I didn’t have insurance through my employer, and wasn’t self-insured, I’d only have to pay a $2,500 penalty, that would merely double the following year.

    • Hiraghm

      How stupid do we have to be?

  • Emjay Graykat

    I’ve bought three rifles through the Internet and the law already states they must be transferred through a valid Federal Firearms Licensed dealer. That means the dealer is on file with the ATF. At which point I pick up the weapon ONLY after filling out the paperwork (every time) and waiting on the background check.

    We have a gun show in our city once every three months. No dealer in that arena ever sells a gun without conducting a background check. They all have their computers set up and do it right there.

    What in the world are these new laws supposed to be accomplishing other than moving us closer to universal registration?!?

    The RepubliTards continue caving. They’ve long lost my vote, unfortunately ignorant citizens and special interests in their pockets continue to re-elect them.

    • RogueRose

      Exactly, closes non existent “loopholes” letting dems claim victory when nothing has actually been changed.

    • gun_nut

      Unfortunately the alternative to the worthless Republicans is the scum Democrats. The earlier won’t stand up for your rights, and the later never stops attacking them.

  • Hiraghm

    This Orwellian bill adds restrictions to the exercise of 2nd Amendment rights, and labels it “protection”. The “protection” is easy. Don’t interfere with the acquisition and possession of arms.

  • Hiraghm

    The should number this bill: 10-289.

  • James Snapp

    I was one of the callers to Toomey’s office, letting him know I will not vote for him, and will work for his defeat. PA conservatives refused to vote for Santorum because he campaigned for Specter over Toomey in 2004. Now, Toomey has effectively spit on those same supporters. Hope he enjoys his one term. Better an honest liberal than a deceitful pretend conservative.

    • Ardell Simon

      I tried to call Toomey’s office but his VM was full. I did send him an email. I am very disappointed in Toomey and I too will not vote for him. I’m tired of our representatives punishing the law abiding and hard working citizens! If I was younger, I would move to Texas!

  • $35038462

    And evidently they are saying that “…this is just a start. We will add more in amendments later on.”

  • okiepastor

    Does Toomy not realize he is supporting something that can be turned into gun registration later? Shep Smith just said “nobody’s suggesting that.” like they would signal registration knowing every 2nd amendment believer is against it. And as pointed out above, it wouldn’t prevent a crime like Newtown.

  • Julescat

    stick a fork in Toomey

  • disqus_eric

    “Encourage states … by restricting federal funds to states who do not comply.”

    I would call this blackmail?

  • Susan Reaney

    Amazing…the bill does NOT…

    However, the Presidents Budget Proposal DOES!

    Via Right Scoop@trscoop1h
    Erick Erickson: Toomey’s background check amendment has a serious flaw http://j.mp/14XPf5p

    Ok so there’s a major flaw in the Gun Control bill which will allow Doctors to submit information to the Government without our knowledge and bypassing our Due Process of law…at the same time… the President’s new budget proposal will provide $130 Million dollars to an HHS program that will allow Teachers/other persons the ability to determine if a parents child is mentally sane or insane with ZERO Medical Qualifications/degree whatsoever to make that determination. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/04/09/exclusive-obama-budget-includes-235-million-in-new-mental-health-spending/

    This isn’t just about Gun Control… this is Totalitarianism with a capital T…and the Republican Party better get a handle on it FAST!

  • http://twitter.com/stupid_republic Stupid Republic

    Manchin/Toomey bill summarized:

    If you like your gun, you can keep it.

    Because that lie worked so well the first time, right?

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/YJ5G3N25JBSWDNFKBTXEVLR4NU Walt

    The question to ask these guys is “would this bill have prevented the Sandy Hook shooting? How about the Aurora mall shooting?” If they can’t answer with a definitive yes then it is not achieving it’s purpose.

  • Jeremy Meister

    Abortion appears no where in the Constitution. Yet we’re told it’s a right that has to be protected.

    If our government protected guns the way they protect abortion you would see:

    1) Courts striking down all gun legislation.
    2) Media would refuse to air any real arguments against guns. Moreover, Hollywood media heroes would fight against out of control gun regulators.
    3) Government would fight any attempts at registering, regulating or tracking fire arms.
    4) Laws banning the transport of guns over state borders would be thrown out.
    5) People under the age of 18 could buy guns without their parents consent or knowledge.
    6) The government would be supplying us all with guns and ammo, regardless of how poor you are.
    7) Our schools would teach about guns and gun safety.
    8) The government would crack down on protesters outside of gun stores.
    9) All gun store records and receipts would be protected from outsiders on the grounds of “privacy”.

    Note that most guns never kill or injure anyone.

    Most abortions result in someone dying.

    People injured or killed by guns include a large age range from 1 year old to 100 years old. Some of these people are injured because they are doing bad things.

    People injured or killed by abortion include those who are 9 months and younger. The only crime they are committing is not being out of the womb.


    But no one talks about regulating abortion.

  • $29561723

    The 1986 Brady Bill already outlawed a gun registry. What does Toomey mean, “We’re SUPER serious this time?”

    Second time’s the charm I guess. Idiots.

    • Catchance

      Maybe he was wearing a cape.

    • Catchance

      Maybe he was wearing a cape.

  • CamoCamo

    Fast and Furious, Beghazi, arming al Qaeda, gang murders, and cartel violence is part of Tooney/Munchin, right?
    Looney tunes.

  • CamoCamo

    Fast and Furious, Beghazi, arming al Qaeda, gang murders, and cartel violence is part of Tooney/Munchin, right?
    Looney tunes.

  • http://reaganff.tumblr.com/ reaganFF

    Emailed Toomey’s office (since I couldn’t get through at any point this afternoon).

    MSM = dentured ‘watchdogs’ who ran out of Poligrip as soon as Obama was elected.

  • Kabong30

    Uhhh….You already can’t buy guns over the internet. You order a firearm and then it’s shipped to an FFL who runs the standard background check. I guess if you can’t lead, misinform. This guy Toomey is learning all the wrong lessons from Washington.

  • sluker1

    I think we should teach the GOP something that Nancy Reagan said. “Just say NO.”

  • Pasadena_Phil

    I guess the GOPE went down the list of senators elected with the help of the Tea Party and finally found one with no principles who would sell out. Scott Brown left some big shoes to fill. Filibuster!

  • Pasadena_Phil

    This is a desperate strategy. Lindsay Graham was on Hannity yesterday arguing that America needs to hear both sides of this debate and so it should be allowed on the floor. He claims it would hurt the Democrats once people heard both sides. Yeah, that will happen. The MSM ALWAYS reports both sides. Nope this is about first getting ANY bill to the floor (and this one would pass right now as is) and then lighting it up like a Xmas tree with all of the toxic amendments. No bill! Filibuster!

  • liberalssuck

    There should be no deal. none. nothing they purpose would make any difference to criminals. Holmes doc went to the leo’s a month before the shooting and nothing was done. The blood is on their hands. They had the credible info and did nothing.

    • Just Another Guy

      Agreed. But on the other hand, LEO isn’t in the “future crime” department. Just in the “get there as we get there and take a report” business.

      Even if they’d taken him in for questioning, they probably couldn’t have kept him if he played it “smart” and didn’t offer up any damning statements.

      The problem is the change, well intended,but as usual, subject to the “Law of Unintended Consequences” in regards to mental health and those that need help.

      Let’s face it….the mass killings we’ve seen of late relate to mental health issues, not guns.

      And other violence relates to either A) gang/criminal activity or B) desperate people who have fallen on hard times because Washington keeps getting in the way of economic recovery.

      • liberalssuck

        Sorry they had the ability to flag him in NIC, they did not, so he was able to purchase those firearms. I am not asking for them to be minority report. I am asking they do their jobs. His Doctor, physicist said he was a credible threat. If I am not mistaken and correct me if I am wrong on the application it ask if you are deemed a danger by a physicist on the app. Why was he not flagged. Agreed! Guns are never an issue as they have no intent. It is by the person who wields it as to the intent.

  • $45875941

    “- Family transfers and some private sales (friends, neighbors, other individuals) are exempt from background checks.” until the next psycho shooting tragedy, then this becomes the next ‘loophole’ that must be closed.

  • $45875941

    “- Family transfers and some private sales (friends, neighbors, other individuals) are exempt from background checks.” until the next psycho shooting tragedy, then this becomes the next ‘loophole’ that must be closed.

  • Just Another Guy

    Just because you claim something, it doesn’t mean it is so, Mr. Toomey.

    Time to get yourself out of Washington for a while…apparently there is something in the water that affects your judgement.

    • gun_nut

      Must be all the lead piping.

  • Gallatin

    Toomey must go.

  • lillymckim

    A “career politician” who will do anything to stay in office yes, even selling the USA’s 2nd amendment for votes.

    PA send him home.

    • Ardell Simon

      I agree 100% and I’m from PA! He will never get another vote from me and I will be sure to do everything I can to make sure when his term is up, he is sent home. Although, I’m not sure PA wants him back. After this term, he should consider moving to NY, CA, etc.

  • KansasGirl

    The second amendment stands alone.

  • disqus_G8xi77DYlj

    ANY POLITICIAN that supports gun control is a treasonous traitor to this republic and needs to be removed from office, starting with the communist in the WH. Its not about gun control, its about PEOPLE CONTROL, plain and simple. The 2nd amendment scares these NWO satanic puppets, they need us disarmed before they can fully clamp down domestically.

  • agroulx

    You know what this is? Democrat progress! They have gained ground on this issue. Little by little they will continue to attack it. You think think it ends here? Toomey is a pussy. Who the hell gave him the right to negotiate our 2nd amendment?

  • Brutus974

    So…. doctor’s can add you to the NCIS database without your
    knowledge, without your consent to deprive you of your right to buy a
    gun.. What happened to trial by jury? What happened to facing your
    accuser? Due process? Gone out the window?