Leading Senate talks falling short of universal background checks

Story highlights

  • Bipartisan effort is weighing different gun control proposals; debate possible this week
  • President Obama, many Democrats favor expanding FBI background checks to all sales
  • But focus of leading Senate talks, at the moment, would expand checks, but not universally
  • Obama chides Congress for not passing gun legislation; Newtown families lobbying

The leading Senate negotiations on gun control legislation favor expanding background checks, but the effort would as of now fall short of the universal approach backed by President Barack Obama and many Democrats, CNN has learned.

FBI background checks are currently required for commercial sales. The proposal being considered would expand them to gun shows and Internet sales, but would not require checks for other private transactions, according to multiple sources from both parties who are familiar with the talks.

Sources familiar with the negotiations between Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin, D-West Virginia, and Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pennsylvania, tell CNN they exchanged proposals and ideas over the past few days and will soon get a better sense of where things stand.

Toomey joins talks on background checks

Obama: As a society, we must change
Obama: As a society, we must change


    Obama: As a society, we must change


Obama: As a society, we must change 02:15
Sen.: Background checks 'common ground'
Sen.: Background checks 'common ground'


    Sen.: Background checks 'common ground'


Sen.: Background checks 'common ground' 03:50
Manufacturers impacted by new gun laws
Manufacturers impacted by new gun laws


    Manufacturers impacted by new gun laws


Manufacturers impacted by new gun laws 02:37
Background checks 'kneejerk reaction'?
Background checks 'kneejerk reaction'?


    Background checks 'kneejerk reaction'?


Background checks 'kneejerk reaction'? 01:46

Obama made another pitch for his gun control agenda on Monday in Connecticut, not far from the town of Newtown where a December school massacre jolted the nation and prompted current efforts in Washington for stricter gun laws.

Obama, in Hartford, angrily chided lawmakers, saying overwhelming support among the American people for measures like universal background checks should force action in Congress.

His message was crafted as much for lawmakers as it was for the families of Newtown victims. They sat behind him on stage and were to travel to Washington with him on Air Force One to lobby members of Congress.

"Newtown, we want you to know that we're here with you," Obama said. "We will not walk away from the promises we've made. We are as determined as ever to do what must be done. "

The Senate is expected to begin debate as early as this week over proposed firearms legislation, but Democratic sources admit that the gun bill as currently written does not have the 60 votes needed to break any Republican filibuster.

The powerful National Rifle Association is staunchly opposed to the measure.

Putting new pressure on negotiators, a spokesman for Mitch McConnell said the Senate Republican leader would support efforts by GOP colleagues to filibuster the Democratic legislation.

Democratic leaders are hopeful that a deal on background checks that can win enough Republican support will emerge from the bipartisan negotiations.

Obama scolds lawmakers on gun control

Sandy Hook families to return to DC with Obama, lobby Senate

The working proposal between Manchin and Toomey would require background checks as well as make sellers keep a record of transactions.

Many law enforcement groups and gun control advocates view record keeping as critical to ensuring the check is enforceable and a weapon is traceable in case of a crime.

Senior Democratic aides and sources from outside groups pushing for tighter gun restrictions acknowledge that this approach is less expansive than what they want.

But they believe it would produce a better result than the other prominent negotiating track underway - requiring background checks in virtually all cases of private sales, but not mandating that records of those sales and checks be saved.

Recent polls show an overwhelming majority of Americans favor making a change to the background check system.

McCain: 'I don't understand' threats to block gun bill debate

Poll: Could background checks lead to gun confiscation?

Deal on background checks still possible

      Gun control debate

    • Keeping weapons from mentally ill proves elusive

      Gun rights and gun control advocates largely agree there should be restrictions on mentally ill people obtaining firearms. The case of Myron Fletcher illustrates how difficult it is to put that into practice.
    • Has the moment passed? Why gun control push fizzled

      Six months after a gunman burst into a Newtown, Connecticut, elementary school and slaughtered 20 children and killed six others, promises of stricter national gun control laws remain largely unfulfilled.
    • An undated photo of murder suspect Elliot Rodger is seen at a press conference by the Santa Barbara County Sheriff in Goleta, California May 24, 2014. Rodger, 22, went on a rampage in Isla Vista near the University of California at Santa Barbara campus, stabbed three people to death at his apartment before shooting to death three more in a terrorizing crime spree through the neighborhood. AFP PHOTO / ROBYN BECK (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)

      Opinion: The real gun problem is mental health, not the NRA

      Next time there's a mass shooting, don't jump to blame the National Rifle Association and lax gun laws. Look first at the shooter and the mental health services he did or didn't get, and the commitment laws in the state where the shooting took place.
    • Melvin Speight uses a camera scope run down a barrel to check the rifleing inside. Speight has been with Colt for 7 years.

      At Colt's factory, no apologies for arming America

      The sign at the door of the Colt factory displays a gun with a slash through it: "No loaded or unauthorized firearms beyond this point." Understandable for workers at a plant, but also a bit ironic, considering one of the largest arsenals in America lies just beyond.
    • clip inside man spurlock gun ownership_00004707.jpg

      Five things to know about guns

      Morgan Spurlock's "Inside Man" gives CNN viewers an inside and in-depth look at the issue of firearms -- as viewed from behind the counter of a gun store. Here are five things to know about the debate.
    •  	US President Barack Obama is accompanied by former lawmaker Gabrielle Giffords (L), vice president Joe Biden (R) and family members of Newtown school shooting victims as he speaks on gun control at the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, DC, on April 17, 2013. Obama on Wednesday slammed what he called a 'minority' in the US Senate for blocking legislation that would have expanded background checks on those seeking to buy guns. AFP PHOTO/Jewel Samad (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

      Senate rejects expanded background checks

      The Senate defeated a compromise plan to expand background checks on firearms sales as well as a proposal to ban some semi-automatic weapons modeled after military assault weapons.
    • Jessica Ghawi

      The lives shattered by bullets

      As Congress grapples with major gun control legislation proposals, brothers and sisters, mothers, fathers and children write about the people they loved and lost to gun violence and how it changed their lives.
    • How background checks work

      Many Americans and lawmakers are in favor of continuing or expanding background checks on gun purchases, but few understand how the checks work.
    • Connecticut lawmakers pass gun law

      Still stinging from the shooting deaths at Sandy Hook, Connecticut lawmakers approved what advocacy groups call the strongest and most comprehensive gun legislation in the nation.
    • Sandy Hook shooter had gun safe

      It took fewer than five minutes for Adam Lanza to squeeze off 154 rounds, upending life in Newtown, Connecticut, and triggering a renewed national debate over gun control.
    • Faces of the gun debate

      A former drug addict turned anti-violence crusader, and a man who lost his father in a temple shooting. These are just two of many in the conversation.