Manchin-Toomey would not go as far as a House-passed universal background check bill, which is being pushed for by Democrats. That bill is unlikely to get a vote in the Senate because it has garnered a veto threat from the White House.
Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) said Monday that he believes all commercial gun sales should be subject to a background check and signaled he’s open to supporting bipartisan legislation from Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.).
“It certainly should be applied to commercial sales and finding a more comprehensive way to make sure that people are in the system that ought to be in the system,” Romney told reporters when asked about expanding background checks.
Asked if he would support legislation from Manchin and Toomey, which would expand gun background checks to all commercial sales, Romney said he had spoken with Toomey and was reviewing the bill.
“I’m looking at that. … Directionally, that is something I would support, but I have not read the legislation. That is something I would have to look at before I signed on,” Romney added.
Manchin and Toomey are trying to build new momentum behind their bipartisan background check legislation in the wake of shootings in Odessa and El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio.
The bill fell short of getting the 60 votes needed in 2013. Only two Republicans still in the Senate, Toomey and Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), voted for it at the time.
Romney told the Deseret News over the recess that he had talked to Toomey about his concerns, including having questions about the potential impact on rural Utah.
Lawmakers, returning to Washington for the first time since the shooting, are also looking for a sign from President Trump about what legislation he would sign as they prepare to wade into the debate on potential gun legislation reform.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) didn’t discuss gun legislation reform during his remarks from the Senate floor on Monday, but he previously warned that a bill needs Trump’s support in order to get a vote.
“If the President is in favor of a number of things that he has discussed openly and publicly and I know that if we pass it it’ll become law, I’ll put it on the floor,” McConnell told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt last week.