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Will Gun Bill Pass Or Fail? Conflicting Signals Yet Again

Left to right: Senators Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) as they unveiled their plan on background checks of gun purchasers.
Molly Riley
UPI /Landov
Left to right: Senators Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) as they unveiled their plan on background checks of gun purchasers.

Here's a fresh headline that may be welcome to those who oppose the bipartisan plan to extend background checks of gun purchasers to sales made at gun shows and over the Internet:

"Rifts In Both Parties Complicate Odds For Gun Measure." (The New York Times, behind its pay wall.)

But wait, if you support the plan from Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Republican Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, there's this:

"Manchin-Toomey Bill Inching Closer To 60 Votes In Senate." (The Hill)

The best way to look at what will happen may be reflected in this passage from The Washington Post:

"Officially, only three Republican senators — Toomey, Collins and Mark Kirk (Ill.) — have said they plan to vote for the Manchin-Toomey agreement. Democratic aides say the bill will need the backing of at least six Republican senators to pass. The [broader gun] measure still has a long and tortuous path, with dozens of amendments expected. The Senate is scheduled to begin formal debate Tuesday by first considering the plan to expand the gun background-check program."

It all sound much like what we wrote one week ago: "Blocked Or Breaking Through? Mixed Signals On Gun Bills." That was followed by the Manchin-Toomey "break through."

According to The Associated Press, a vote on the Manchin-Toomey proposal could come as soon as Wednesday. Even with the uncertainty, it's seen as the most likely proposal to pass among a series of measures that include a proposed ban on assault-style weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines.

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Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.

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