POLITICS
02/13/2013 02:49 pm ET Updated Feb 13, 2013

Chuck Schumer 'Hopeful' About Introducing Bipartisan Gun Background Check Bill

WASHINGTON -- A bipartisan group of senators is meeting Wednesday afternoon to continue trying to craft legislation that would expand background checks for gun buyers, a process that at least one of the senators is "hopeful" will result in the introduction of a bill.

"It's coming along pretty well," Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) told The Huffington Post, referring to his ongoing talks on gun background checks with Sens. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Tom Coburn (R-Okla.). "We're hopeful."

Wednesday's meeting is just the latest that Schumer has been leading with those senators to try to hammer out a bill aimed at closing loopholes in the current system of background checks. The bill would likely be one of just a few gun control proposals with a chance of passing Congress and focuses on an issue that carries more than 90 percent public approval. Currently, people are not required to undergo background checks if they purchase firearms at a gun show or from a private seller.

Schumer couldn't give a timeline for when he might introduce a bill, saying only, "the sooner, the better." He also couldn't confirm that the other three senators will formally sponsor it with him. "That's our hope," he said.

A Kirk spokesman declined to comment. Requests for comment from aides to Manchin and Coburn were not returned.

Despite the huge public support for tighter gun background checks, Senate Republicans have been in disarray on the issue. When asked last month by HuffPost if they could support background check legislation, some said they didn't have an opinion yet and others simply walked away.

Meanwhile, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) announced Wednesday that he plans to introduce his own gun background check bill next week. He gave no details on what will be in it, other than to say it won't be a universal background check and it won't close the gun show loophole.

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