Obama's gun strategy falling short in Senate
By REID J. EPSTEIN
| 2/25/13 6:24 PM EST
President Barack Obama’s legislative strategy for gun control may be the reason he gets no deal at all.
Obama’s team has been working a delicate inside game to reach out to otherwise combative Senate Republicans: The White House conveys messages to Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), who develops strategy with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), the gun-friendly moderate who is tasked with whipping GOP support.
But as things often go in Washington, the last step is the hardest — and is beginning to seem impossible.
The group has reached a breaking point over how to address records of private sales receipts, even after Schumer and Manchin, along with Sens. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), reached an agreement on the broad framework for universal background checks for gun purchases – itself a fraction of the expansive package of new laws Obama called for after the Newtown massacre.
The four didn’t meet last week while the Senate was out but are expected to speak Monday night.
Coburn, the group’s ambassador to gun rights groups like the National Rifle Association, won’t accept a record-keeping requirement on the grounds that it could lead to government overreach. Schumer and Manchin, who are in regular contact with gun control groups, say any bill without a records provision would be as toothless as an honor system.