The National Rifle Association will oppose the background check bill introduced by Sen. Joe Manchin (D., W.Va.) and Sen. Pat Toomey (R., Pa.) Wednesday, the pro-Second Amendment group told the Free Beacon.
Manchin and Toomey held a press conference Wednesday morning announcing a bipartisan bill that would expand background checks for all commercial firearm sales, including gun shows and Internet sales.
The bill is the latest effort by the Senate to introduce background check legislation, after negotiations between Sen. Tom Coburn (R., Okla.) and Democrats broke down earlier this year.
Manchin’s office told BuzzFeed Wednesday that the senators had been talking with the NRA, but the Second Amendment group had thus far remained “neutral.”
“The NRA has not said either way,” Katie Longo, Manchin’s press secretary, told BuzzFeed. “The senators have been talking to the NRA, but they’re still neutral.”
A spokesman for the NRA said the report was “wrong.”
The NRA reiterated its opposition to expanded background checks in a statement to the Washington Free Beacon.
“Expanding background checks at gun shows will not prevent the next shooting, will not solve violent crime and will not keep our kids safe in schools,” the NRA said. “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 sad truth is that no background check would have prevented the tragedy in Newtown, Aurora or Tucson,” the NRA’s statement continued. “We need a serious and meaningful solution that addresses crime in cities like Chicago, addresses mental health deficiencies, while at the same time protecting the rights of those of us who are not a danger to anyone. President Obama should be as committed to dealing with the gang problem that is tormenting honest people in his hometown as he is to blaming law-abiding gun owners for the acts of psychopathic murderers.”