Washington, D.C. - U.S. Senator Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) released the following statement on the Senate's vote today on the Manchin-Toomey language to help keep guns out of the hands of violent criminals and those adjudicated as mentally ill.
"In 2013, Joe Manchin and I nearly achieved a breakthrough on background checks that would have helped prevent guns from getting into the hands of criminals and the dangerously mentally ill. It represented a commonsense, bipartisan approach to help keep Americans safe while also strengthening our Second Amendment rights.
"Today, I supported this effort again after Senator Manchin decided to offer our proposal as an amendment to the budget reconciliation bill.
"Our amendment takes a balanced approach - namely, it largely takes Pennsylvania's enhanced background check policies for commercial firearm sales and makes them the federal standard. Such background checks are a constitutional, sensible way to improve public safety.
"As a longstanding Second Amendment supporter, I am pleased that our proposal further bolsters the rights of lawful gun owners. The proposal expressly prohibits a national gun registry and goes one step further by including a punishment of up to 15 years in prison for any government official who attempts to keep such a list. It also includes measures to help veterans regain their Second Amendment rights.
"I recognize that enhanced background checks are not going to stop all mass shootings. As we have seen, many of these attacks would still have happened even if our proposal was on the books. But some tragedies, such as the mass shooting at Virginia Tech in 2007, might have been prevented. And if there's a sensible way to help keep the American people safer, I believe it deserves our support."