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Gun background checks: How would Senate proposal work, exactly? (+video)

The Senate gun proposal extends background checks to purchases made at gun shows or online, but it doesn't affect sales to 'friends' or 'neighbors,' and it 'bans' creation of a national registry of gun owners.

By Staff writer / April 11, 2013

Sen. Pat Toomey (R) of Pennsylvania (r.) and Sen. Joe Manchin (D) of West Virginia finish a news conference on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, announcing that they have reached a compromise on background checks for gun buyers.

J. Scott Applewhite/AP

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WASHINGTON

How would the new Senate proposal on expanding gun background checks work, exactly?

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Sen. Joe Manchin (D) of West Virginia and Sen. Pat Toomey (R) of Pennsylvania discuss their bipartisan effort on gun background check legislation.

That question arises in the wake of Wednesday’s announcement by Sens. Joe Manchin (D) of West Virginia and Pat Toomey (R) of Pennsylvania that they’ve reached agreement on a bipartisan effort to include guns shows and online firearms sales in the federal background check system.

Some liberals are hailing the move as a big step forward on gun control. Both Senator Manchin and Senator Toomey come from states with gun cultures and have high ratings from the National Rifle Association, points out Washington Post left-leaning blogger Greg Sargent.

“There is now cause for cautious optimism that something like this emerging compromise could actually become law,” writes Mr. Sargent.

Meanwhile, some conservatives are not as happy. The NRA, for its part, has officially opposed the measure.

“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,” says an NRA statement issued after the two senators rolled out their bill.

Is the Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights Protection Act sweeping enough to merit such emotions? Let’s run through its provisions so you can decide for yourself.

The first title of the bill deals with ways to get more names of prohibited purchasers into the existing background check system.

According to a summary posted by Toomey’s office, the act would “encourage” states to provide all their available records to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). It would do this by withholding some federal funds from states that drag their heels in this area.

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