Sens. Hagan, Burr differ on background checks

McClatchy NewspapersApril 16, 2013 

Senators Kay Hagan and Richard Burr respectfully applaud when he's done.


— U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan says she will support background checks on most gun sales, calling it “common sense.”

Meanwhile, her Republican counterpart, Sen. Richard Burr says he’ll vote against the proposal. Gun control votes are expected this week in the Senate.

Hagan, a Greensboro Democrat who is running for re-election next year, says she will not support a measure to ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.

Earlier this year, she was targeted in ads by both the National Rifle Association and a gun-control group headed by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

The NRA opposes the background-check bill crafted by Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Patrick Toomey, R-Pa. The legislation would extend the checks to gun shows and online sales, but not to private sales.

Burr voted last week to allow the gun control debate to go forward – a move that a drew the anger of the pro-gun group Grass Roots North Carolina, which planned to protest at his Winston-Salem office. The group said shutting off debate would have been one sure way to kill the proposal.

“I supported having a debate on the issue of violent crime, but as I made clear from the outset, I will oppose any legislation that chips away at our constitutional rights,” Burr said in a statement. He added: “I have numerous Second Amendment, due process and privacy concerns that make the legislation too problematic for it to ever become law.”

Hagan, in endorsing background checks, issued a statement that said: “It respects law-abiding North Carolina gun owners by exempting transfers between family members and friends, allowing concealed carry permits issued within the last five years to serve in lieu of a background check, and explicitly banning the federal government from creating a registry.”

But Hagan said she was concerned that an assault weapons ban “could infringe on the rights of lawful gun owners.”

The assault weapon ban could come up as an amendment when the Senate votes, but isn’t expected to get enough support. If the background checks measure gets the 60 votes needed to pass in the Senate, the U.S. House is expected to set it aside or change it.

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