The Senate is likely to move forward with piecemeal gun control legislation of its own instead of attempting to pass the House Democrats' sweeping reforms, which might not even get full support of Democrats in the Senate.
"I'm not interested in bringing a proposal to the Senate floor that can't even get 50, and the quickest way to get 50 is to keep all the Democrats together," Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., told Politico.
Republicans will not get behind large gun-control bills, but there is more wiggle room now on some items such as background checks for "any stranger-to-stranger sale," instead of universal background checks.
"Commercial sales," Murphy told Politico, "would be attractive to a cross-section of Republicans."
Murphy is talking with Sens. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. about "some ideas that would involve the expansion of background checks without getting all the way to universal."
The House bills seek universal background checks and Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, says Democrats should still insist on them even to the point of failure to present as a proof of work, sending "important message to the American people," she told Politico.
"We have a fairly good prospect for Democratic unity, but keeping 60 votes is another question right now," Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., added.
But baby steps might lead to walking, according to gun-control advocacy group Brady Vice President Christian Heyne.
"There would likely be varying degrees of support in the gun violence prevention movement for a commercial sales bill as an incremental first step to addressing gun violence in all of its forms, but it must reject any dangerous gifts to a gun lobby that puts profits over people," she told Politico.
Murphy noted there has been a movement on expanding background checks in the Senate, where there was "only one single Republican who was willing to talk about expanding background checks — Pat Toomey," not "there are multiple potential Republican partners," he told Politico.
"We're closer, not farther away from, getting to 60 in the Senate," he added.
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