PA-Sen: Pat Toomey (R) Says Background Checks Push Worth Reviving But Probably Won't Happen

Yeah, I had a hard time believing this:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/...

In the wake of the Charleston shooting, Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) are considering ways to renew their failed push to expand meaningful background checks on gun purchases.

In separate interviews Tuesday night, at a reception before a ceremony hosted by Sandy Hook families where Toomey was honored, the senators discussed their desire to find a new way forward.

“We want to make sure we have the votes. Pat’s going to have to, and I’ll work with him, to get some of our colleagues on the Republican side,” Manchin said, adding that he hasn’t talked directly to Toomey about a revival.

Manchin specifically mentioned an effort aimed at keeping guns out of the hands of people diagnosed with mental illness. - Washington Post, 6/23/15

Well that's nice but then Toomey actually let the cat out of the bag:

http://www.politico.com/...

WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 17:  Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee member Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) attends Mayor Julian Castro's confirmation hearing to be the next secretary of Housing and Urban Development in the Dirksen Senate Office Building

“Honestly, I don’t want to build up any false expectations. I’m not aware that we’ve got the votes to do what Senator Manchin and I attempted,” the Republican said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Wednesday when asked if the prospects for passing new legislation are better than they were in early 2013, after the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. “Is it possible that some portion of that, some subset of what we were focused on is possible…honestly, probably not likely.”

The fundamental idea of enhanced background checks is “sound,” however, Toomey added, noting that he would continue having discussions with colleagues about how to advance any legislation.

“I don’t even think of it as gun control. I think background checks is in a different category,” he said. - Politico, 6/24/15

Toomey, the former head of the Club for Growth who almost defeated then Senator Arlen Specter (R. PA) in the 2004 primary for not being conservative enough, has been trying to play the game of trying to appeal to more moderate voters in light blue Pennsylvania while also trying to keep his right wing base energized for him. I have a hard time believing Toomey is serious about dealing with gun control. Sure he supports background checks but lets look at how he voted on the other gun control measures the last time this was brought up for a vote:

http://www.ontheissues.org/...

UNITED STATES - FEBRUARY 24: Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., arrives for the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee hearing on

Voted NO on banning high-capacity magazines of over 10 bullets.

Congressional Summary:

    The term 'large capacity ammunition feeding device' means a magazine or similar device that has an overall capacity of more than 10 rounds of ammunition
    It shall be unlawful for a person to import, sell, manufacture, or possess a large capacity ammunition feeding device.
    Shall not apply to the possession of any large capacity ammunition feeding device otherwise lawfully possessed before 2013.
    Shall not apply to qualified or retired law enforcement officers.

Proponent's Argument for voting Yes: Sen. BLUMENTHAL: This amendment would ban high-capacity magazines which are used to kill more people more quickly and, in fact, have been used in more than half the mass shootings since 1982. I ask my colleagues to listen to law enforcement, their police, prosecutors who are outgunned by criminals who use these high-capacity magazines. I ask that my colleagues also listen to the families of those killed by people who used a high-capacity magazine.

Opponent's Argument for voting No: Sen. GRASSLEY. I oppose the amendment. In 2004, which is the last time we had the large-capacity magazine ban, a Department of Justice study found no evidence banning such magazines has led to a reduction in gun violence. The study also concluded it is not clear how often the outcomes of the gun attack depend on the ability of offenders to fire more than 10 shots without reloading. Secondly, there is no evidence banning these magazines has reduced the deaths from gun crimes. In fact, when the previous ban was in effect, a higher percentage of gun crime victims were killed or wounded than before it was adopted. Additionally, tens of millions of these magazines have been lawfully owned in this country for decades. They are in common use, not unusually dangerous, and used by law-abiding citizens in self-defense, as in the case of law enforcement.
Reference: Safe Communities, Safe Schools Act; Bill S.Amdt. 714 to S. 649 ; vote number 13-SV103 on Apr 17, 2013

Voted YES on prohibiting suing gunmakers & sellers for gun misuse.
Vote to pass a bill that would prohibit liability lawsuits from being brought against gun manufacturers and dealers based on the criminal misuse of firearms. The bill would also block these actions from being brought up against gun trade organizations and against ammunition makers and sellers. The measure would apply immediately to any pending cases. Several specific exceptions to the ban exist. This includes civil suits would be allowed against a maker or dealer who "knowingly and willfully violated" state or federal laws in the selling or marketing of a weapon. Design and manufacturing defect lawsuits are also permitted when weapons are "used as intended.
Reference: Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act; Bill HR 1036 ; vote number 2003-124 on Apr 9, 2003

Voted YES on decreasing gun waiting period from 3 days to 1.
Vote to pass a bill requiring anyone who purchases a gun at a gun show to go through an instant background check which must be completed within 24 hours [instead of 72 hours].
Reference: Bill introduced by McCollum, R-FL; Bill HR 2122 ; vote number 1999-244 on Jun 18, 1999

Rated A by the NRA, indicating a pro-gun rights voting record.
Toomey scores A by NRA on pro-gun rights policies

While widely recognized today as a major political force and as America's foremost defender of Second Amendment rights, the National Rifle Association (NRA) has, since its inception, been the premier firearms education organization in the world. But our successes would not be possible without the tireless efforts and countless hours of service our nearly three million members have given to champion Second Amendment rights and support NRA programs.

The following ratings are based on lifetime voting records on gun issues and the results of a questionaire sent to all Congressional candidates; the NRA assigned a letter grade (with A+ being the highest and F being the lowest).
Source: NRA website 02n-NRA on Dec 31, 2003

Rated A by the NRA, indicating a pro-gun rights voting record.
Toomey scores A by NRA on pro-gun rights policies

While widely recognized today as a major political force and as America's foremost defender of Second Amendment rights, the National Rifle Association (NRA) has, since its inception, been the premier firearms education organization in the world. But our successes would not be possible without the tireless efforts and countless hours of service our nearly three million members have given to champion Second Amendment rights and support NRA programs.

The following ratings are based on lifetime voting records on gun issues and the results of a questionaire sent to all Congressional candidates; the NRA assigned a letter grade (with A+ being the highest and F being the lowest).

    What the Grades Mean:
    A+: A legislator with not only an excellent voting record on all critical NRA issues, but who has also made a vigorous effort to promote and defend the Second Amendment.
    A: Solidly pro-gun candidate including voting record.
    AQ: A pro-gun candidate whose rating is based solely on the NRA-PVF Candidate Questionnaire and who does not have a voting record.
    B: A generally pro-gun candidate; may have opposed some pro-gun reform in the past.
    C: A candidate with a mixed record or positions on gun related issues, who may oppose some pro-gun positions.
    D: An anti-gun candidate who usually supports restrictive gun control legislation. Regardless of public statements, can usually be counted on to vote wrong on key issues.
    F: True enemy of gun owners' rights. A consistent anti-gun candidate.
    ?: Refused to answer the NRA-PVF Candidate Questionnaire, often an indication of indifference, if not outright hostility, to gun owners' rights.

Source: NRA website 10-NRA on Aug 11, 2010

Oppose the United Nations' Arms Trade Treaty.
Toomey signed Letter to Pres. Obama from 50 Senators

Dear President Obama:

We write to express our concern and regret at your decision to sign the United Nations' Arms Trade Treaty. For the following reasons, we cannot give our advice and consent to this treaty:

    The treaty violates a 2009 red line laid down by your own administration: "the rule of consensus decision-making." In April 2013, after the treaty failed to achieve consensus, it was adopted by majority vote in the UN General Assembly.
    The treaty allows amendments by a 3/4 majority vote. When amended, it will become a source of political and legal pressure on the US to comply in practice with amendments it was unwilling to accept.
    The treaty includes only a weak, non-binding reference to the lawful ownership and use of firearms, and recognizes none of these activities, much less individual self-defense, as fundamental individual rights. It encourages governments to collect the identities of individual end users of imported firearms at the national level, which would constitute the core of a national gun registry
    The State Department has acknowledged that the treaty is "ambiguous." By becoming party to the treaty, the US would therefore be accepting commitments that are inherently unclear.
    The criteria at the heart of the treaty are vague and easily politicized. They will steadily subject the US to the influence of internationally-defined norms, a process that would impinge on our national sovereignty.
    The treaty criteria as established could hinder the US in fulfilling its strategic, legal, and moral commitments to provide arms to key allies such as Taiwan and Israel.

We urge you to notify the treaty depository that the US does not intend to ratify the Arms Trade Treaty, and is therefore not bound by its obligations. As members of the Senate, we pledge to oppose the ratification of this treaty, and we give notice that we do not regard the US as bound to uphold its object and purpose.

Yeah, Toomey's not that much of a "common sense" kind of guy on gun control. Now his colleague, U.S. Senator Bob Casey Jr. (D. PA), has legitimately changed his position on gun control, especially when it comes to assault weapons:

http://www.dailykos.com/...

Sen. Bob Casey, who has long opposed new gun laws, said Wednesday that he had changed his views in the aftermath of last week's shootings in Newtown, Conn., and would support bills to ban assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition clips.

In an interview in his office, the ordinarily staid Casey (D., Pa.) told The Inquirer that he was "haunted" by the images and reports of children killed in their school, and teachers slain trying to protect them. He said his wife confronted him as he reassessed the issue over the weekend.

Furrowing his brow and casting his eyes downward, Casey expressed regret that he had not reconsidered his views as starkly after earlier massacres at Virginia Tech and in Aurora, Colo.

"The power of the weapon, the number of bullets that hit each child, that was so, to me, just so chilling, it haunts me. It should haunt every public official," said Casey, who won a second term six weeks ago while touting his opposition to gun control. - Philadelphia Inquirer, 12/20/12

Toomey's watered down background checks bill was as far as he was going to move on this issue and if it fails again, it could still be a win for him but it also could hurt him with his base:

http://www.post-gazette.com/...

Minutes after votes were cast Wednesday, Mr. Toomey's Facebook page began filling with angry comments that now number in the hundreds.

"We want you to move on senator, right out of Washington, and my family will do their best to ensure that happens at the next election," wrote one woman.

A man wrote, "So many conservatives believe you've betrayed us. Now you have to earn our trust again," while another wrote, "My regret is voting for you. I will not make that mistake again."

Interspersed were a few messages like this one from a retired teacher: "Thanks for trying. You have won new support, Senator Toomey."

Most commentators, though, were like Jack McIndoe of Scottdale, who worked with members of the Fayette County Tea Party Patriots to get Mr. Toomey elected in 2010. Now Mr. McIndoe says he's working to find a solid conservative to mount a primary challenge.

"We're disgusted. There's a groundswell of distrust against him," Mr. McIndoe, 53, said in a telephone interview. "We thought Toomey was a good conservative candidate. We worked real hard for Toomey. We went door to door during the election, but now we're through with him."

At the Pennsylvania Leadership Conference, a gathering of conservative activists and interest groups that had its annual meeting Friday in suburban Harrisburg, many self-described conservatives said they'll likely still vote for Mr. Toomey.

"It takes a lot of humility to come and face this group after [championing gun control legislation]," said Susan Emrich, who described herself as a "Constitutional conservative."

Ms. Emrich said that while she disagreed with the senator's stance on the issue, she respected him for to trying to explain his vote to the group.

There were a smattering of low boos when an earlier speaker, introducing the senator, mentioned the gun control issue, but most in the crowd seemed to welcome Mr. Toomey, clapping and then giving him a standing ovation as he left the stage.

Mr. Toomey still has her support, Ms. Emrich said.

"You've got to look at the broad scope of what a politician is doing" and not just one issue, she said, standing in front of a Tea Party Patriots booth, one of a number of groups represented at the right-leaning gathering.

Mr. Toomey clearly hadn't won over everyone there, however.

"He's just trying to put more citizens on another government list, which we have too many of already," said Josh Monighan, who described himself as a political activist and member of the Harrisburg Liberty Alliance.

Academics and conservative activists, though, say that sentiment will likely fade before the senator faces re-election in 2016.

"It's not going to mean much by the time he runs, but you have to wonder" what political calculations were involved, said Jim Broussard, professor of history at Lebanon Valley College.

"This is a guy who knows he only won by 100,000 votes in the best Republican year in 80 years and he's coming up again in a presidential election year knowing that his party's presidential candidate is not likely to win the state," Mr. Broussard said.

Politically, the failed vote was the best outcome, Mr. Broussard and others said.

"He gets credit from the sort of squishy suburban Republicans and the moderate Democrats for putting it forward, but the fact that it failed means it's not going to be on people's minds by the time he runs in 2016," he said.

If the legislation had passed, the resentment would linger longer, said Grover Norquist, head of Americans for Tax Reform, the conservative group famous for its no-tax pledge.

"It didn't pan out. It didn't happen, so from a political standpoint he made some gains among moderates who worship the bipartisanship he was offering ... but he avoided all the problems that would have occurred if it had passed," Mr. Norquist said. - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 4/21/13

Toomey got the praise for a failed piece of legislation but does he really want to be seen next to someone like this guy?

http://www.philly.com/...

Mayors Against Illegal Guns, the gun control group led by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, is launching a television ad today thanking Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey for his work sponsoring a bipartisan bill to expand background checks.

The ad, which will run in Philadelphia and Harrisburg, opens with this voice over: “Washington likes to argue. Senator Pat Toomey wants to get things done.”

It credits Toomey, a Republican, with “leading the fight to keep guns out of the hands of criminals.”

“Courage and common sense – that’s Pat Toomey,” the spot concludes. “Tell him to keep fighting for background checks.” - Philadelphia Inquirer, 5/9/13

And lets not forget that instead of blaming his own party and the NRA for this bill being defeated, Toomey shift the blame to this guy:

http://www.dailykos.com/...

Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) blamed President Barack Obama Tuesday for the defeat in the Senate of legislation to expand background checks.

"I would suggest the administration brought this on themselves," Toomey said in an interview with The Morning Call. "I think the president ran his re-election campaign in a divisive way. He divided Americans. He was using resentment of some Americans toward others to generate support for himself. That was very divisive, that has consequences, that lingers."

"I understand why people have some apprehension about this administration," he added. "I don't agree with the conclusion as it applies to my [background checks] amendment, but I understand where the emotion comes from."

Last Wednesday, Toomey's amendment, crafted with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), fell short of the 60-vote threshold needed to pass the Senate with a final vote of 54 to 46. Only three Republicans joined Toomey by voting in its favor: Sens. Susan Collins (Maine), Mark Kirk (Ill.) and John McCain (Ariz.). Three red state Democrats facing reelection in 2014, Sens. Max Baucus (Mont.), Mark Begich (Alaska) and Mark Pryor (Ark.) voted against the measure. Baucus has since announced that he will not seek reelection. Other amendments, such as a strengthened federal gun trafficking statute, ban on assault weapons and limit on high-capacity magazines, also failed.

The failure of the legislation can hardly be attributed to Obama, who pressed for measures to reduce gun violence after the elementary school shooting in Newtown, Conn., took the lives of 20 children and six educators. The president's gun control agenda included farther-reaching reforms, such as bans on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, but he later focused the push on expanded background checks, which have the support of 90 percent of Americans.

The White House even endorsed the Toomey-Manchin compromise, which would have expanded background checks for firearm purchases but was a significantly watered-down alternative to legislation initially sought by Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.). - Huffington Post, 4/24/13

If we are going to get serious about gun control, Pat Toomey is not the man for the job. We need someone who is true blue on this issue and former Rep. Joe Sestak (D. PA) has the best record on gun control:

http://www.ontheissues.org/...

**ADVANCED FOR SUNDAY SEPT. 26, 2010** Pennsylvania Democratic Senate candidate, Rep. Joe Sestak, D-Pa., is seen at a campaign event at the Philadelphia Opportunities Industrialization Center in Philadelphia, Friday, Sept. 24, 2010. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Extend the ban on assault weapons
On crime, Specter pointed to his support for bills to toughen sentences for career criminals, while Sestak said he would support an extension of the ban on assault weapons, which Specter opposed.
Source: Lehigh Valley Live coverage of 2010 PA Senate debate May 1, 2010

Close the Gun Show Loophole; restrict show sales.
Sestak signed H.R.2324& S.843

    Makes it unlawful for any person to operate a gun show unless such person:
    has attained 21 years of age;
    is not prohibited from transporting, shipping, or receiving firearms and has not violated any federal firearms requirements;
    has registered with the Attorney General as a gun show operator and has provided a photograph and fingerprints;
    has not concealed material information nor made false statements in connection with a gun show operator registration; and
    notifies the Attorney General of the date, time, and duration of a gun show not later than 30 days before the commencement of such show and verifies the identity of each vendor at the gun show.

Imposes recordkeeping requirements on gun show operators and criminal penalties for failure to register as a gun show operator and maintain required records. Increases criminal penalties for serious recordkeeping violations and violations of criminal background check requirements. Authorizes the Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) to hire additional investigators to carry out inspections of gun shows.
Source: Gun Show Loophole Closing Act 09-HR2324 on May 7, 2009

Rated F by the NRA, indicating a pro-gun control voting record.
Sestak scores F by NRA on pro-gun rights policies

While widely recognized today as a major political force and as America's foremost defender of Second Amendment rights, the National Rifle Association (NRA) has, since its inception, been the premier firearms education organization in the world. But our successes would not be possible without the tireless efforts and countless hours of service our nearly three million members have given to champion Second Amendment rights and support NRA programs.

The following ratings are based on lifetime voting records on gun issues and the results of a questionaire sent to all Congressional candidates; the NRA assigned a letter grade (with A+ being the highest and F being the lowest).

    What the Grades Mean:
    A+: A legislator with not only an excellent voting record on all critical NRA issues, but who has also made a vigorous effort to promote and defend the Second Amendment.
    A: Solidly pro-gun candidate including voting record.
    AQ: A pro-gun candidate whose rating is based solely on the NRA-PVF Candidate Questionnaire and who does not have a voting record.
    B: A generally pro-gun candidate; may have opposed some pro-gun reform in the past.
    C: A candidate with a mixed record or positions on gun related issues, who may oppose some pro-gun positions.
    D: An anti-gun candidate who usually supports restrictive gun control legislation. Regardless of public statements, can usually be counted on to vote wrong on key issues.
    F: True enemy of gun owners' rights. A consistent anti-gun candidate.
    ?: Refused to answer the NRA-PVF Candidate Questionnaire, often an indication of indifference, if not outright hostility, to gun owners' rights.

It remains to be seen if gun control will be a real issue in next year's election but this issue proves how disingenuous Toomey truly is. He knows how to play the game and he knows that Pennsylvania voters views are shifting when it comes to guns. It's clear he's not trust worthy and needs to be defeated next year. Click here to donate and get involved with Sestak's campaign:

Congressman Joe Sestak stands with his daughter Alex (left) and wife susan (right, behind) as he gives his concession speach after losing to Pat Toomey on Tuesday, October 2, 2010 at the Radnor Hotel.  //ed note: ROB KANDEL / THE MORNING CALL  ***** Headline:  2010 THE YEAR IN REVIEW ** From a quadruple homicide in Northampton to the defeat of Pennsylvania's longest-serving senator, 2010 will go down as a year of heartache, anxiety and political change (12/26/10) *****

http://joesestak.com/

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