2nd largest gun rights group supports background checks amendment
The Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, a 650,000 strong gun rights lobbying group, has endorsed the Manchin-Toomey compromise on background checks.
The chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, Alan Gottlieb, sent a message to members and contributors stating the bill "bans any federal gun registry and carries a 15-year prison term for anyone who violates it."
"We protect and expand a good number of pro-gun rights measures as well," Gottlieb continued, noting he and one of the group's lobbyists had helped craft the deal. He cited measures like making interstate gun sales easier, and restoring gun rights to veterans, as reasons for his group's support.
The background check compromise measure was brokered by Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Republican Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania. It extends checks to gun shows and Internet sales but not to private sales.
The country's largest gun-rights group, the National Rifle Association, reiterated its opposition to the measure Sunday.
"NRA is opposed to Manchin-Toomey, and it will be a scored vote," NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam said, meaning senators' ratings with the organization will be affected by how they vote.
The Bellevue, Washington-based Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms bills itself as the second-largest gun rights lobbying group and says it has about 650,000 members and contributors, compared with the NRA's 5 million.
The NRA and other groups opposed to the Manchin-Toomey measure are "unwilling to take the hits," Gottlieb told CNN.
Toomey wrote on Twitter Sunday, "Glad to have the support of Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms."
And Manchin called the group's endorsement "huge" in an appearance on Fox News.
The key is how they are going to define a "gun registry." They may make it illegal, but that doesn't necessarily mean there won't be loopholes in the law for enterprising gun grabbers to exploit.
It is still unclear if the amendment can pass the Senate and whether the House will even take it up. But it certainly makes it a little easier for some Senators to vote for background checks even if the NRA opposes it.