Senate drags its feet on background checks

Recent polls show an overwhelming majority of Americans favor universal background checks

By Jillian Rayfield

Published April 3, 2013 1:35PM (EDT)

The Senate's debate on gun control legislation will likely be delayed, after talks to reach a bipartisan deal that would include universal background checks have largely faltered.

The New York Times reports:

On Tuesday, Senate aides said that formal debate and substantive votes on the gun issues would probably slip to the week of April 15 — a setback considering that Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the majority leader, had pledged that it would be the first issue to come up when Congress returns from spring recess next week.

Background checks are central to the delay. Efforts to reach a compromise between Senators Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York, and Tom Coburn, Republican of Oklahoma, have foundered. Separate talks between Senators Joe Manchin III, Democrat of West Virginia, andMark Steven Kirk, Republican of Illinois, have also yet to yield a breakthrough.

On Wednesday, Pew Research released a poll showing that 85 percent of Americans support background checks for gun shows and private sales. A Morning Joe/Marist poll from the same day put that number at 87 percent.

Jillian Rayfield

Jillian Rayfield is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on politics. Follow her on Twitter at @jillrayfield or email her at

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