Gun-Rights Group Endorses Bill to Expand Background Checks

By
Pat Toomey and Joe Manchin.

No, it's not the group you're thinking of. The Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, which claims to be the nation's second-largest gun rights group after the NRA, announced on Sunday that it supports the bipartisan proposal by Senators Pat Toomey and Joe Manchin to require expanded, but not universal, background checks on gun sales. The senators have been urging people to read the bill, and when Alan Gottlieb, chairman of the Citizens Committee, took the time to look at what Second Amendment supporters are railing against, he found it contains many "advances for our cause."

In an e-mail to supporters on Sunday, Gottlieb listed what he considers the bill's positive attributes: "interstate sales of handguns, veteran gun rights restoration, travel with firearms protection civil and criminal immunity lawsuit protection, and most important of all, the guarantee that people, including federal officers, will go to federal prison for up to 15 years if they attempt to use any gun sales records to set up a gun registry."

After leading the two "A"-rated senators to believe that they might support their compromise bill, last week representatives for the NRA declared that the group is "unequivocally opposed" to the plan. Like the NRA, the Citizens Committee is against universal background checks, and has used some odd rhetoric to make that point. Just last week, Gottlieb said if anyone needs background checks it's politicians, dragging New York's disgraced congressman into the debate for some reason. "Does anyone think former Congressman Anthony Weiner, who had to quit his post over a lewd e-mail scandal, should clear a mental health screening to buy a gun?" asked Gottlieb. Nevertheless, he argued that gun-rights supporters should embrace the Manchin-Toomey plan over "the current draconian background check bill that is pending before the Senate at this time."