The bill would do several things:
- Require all prospective firearms purchasers at gun shows or on the Internet to pass a background check. It would not, however, require background checks for private purchases.
- Provide incentives to states to provide full criminal- and mental-health data to the federal background check database.
- Make several small tweaks to existing gun laws long-sought by Second Amendment advocates, such as providing greater protections for gun owners to travel with their weapons and allowing active-duty military members to purchase firearms where they live.
- Establish a national commission on mass violence, a key priority for Manchin, that will look at the roots of violence from the perspectives of both policy and culture.
“This is a bipartisan movement, it's bipartisan amendment, and we all know that a bipartisan solution is a lasting solution,” said Manchin, who had chased a deal on background checks in talks with Sen. Tom Coburn (R) of Oklahoma and Sen. Charles Schumer (D) of New York, among others.
The question now is how many Republicans Toomey can bring to the bill, which will need 60 votes to avoid the threat of another filibuster before the final vote. Not all Republicans who are expected to vote Thursday to allow debate to proceed are considered sure "yes" votes on the actual legislation. Meanwhile, Republican colleagues including Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Ted Cruz of Texas, Toomey's erstwhile allies on fiscal matters, are vowing to halt any gun measure in its tracks.