House to get bipartisan version of Senate gun bill

Rep. Peter King. Rep. Peter King. Photo Credit: Newsday / Karen Wiles Stabile

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WASHINGTON -- Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford) said on Friday he and Rep. Mike Thompson (D-Mich.) will introduce a bipartisan House version of the Senate compromise requiring buyer background checks at gun shows and in online gun sales.

The House bill, King said, will incorporate the breakthrough agreement between Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) to expand background checks to all firearm sales except private deals between individuals. They plan to introduce it next week.

"Mike Thompson and I for the last two months have talked about legislation, and then we decided the best thing to do was to follow the route of the Senate," he said.

King and Thompson will be introducing their House bill as the Senate takes up the Manchin-Toomey compromise as the first amendment to the Senate gun package on Tuesday.

"We wanted to coordinate with them," King said. "I've been talking with Toomey's office for the last week or so."

King is taking on the difficult role of being the lead House Republican on gun legislation by teaming with Thompson, chair of the House Democrats' gun violence task force.

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King also co-sponsors the House version of the ban on gun trafficking and straw purchases, in which a person buys guns for a felon or someone who can't legally own firearms.

As with other past high-profile bills -- including the $61-billion superstorm Sandy aid and funding for ill 9/11 first responders -- King once again will face powerful House GOP conservatives as he seeks a few dozen moderate Republican votes.

"It's going to be a long road," he said of passing a gun bill. "If it passed the Senate with a lot of Republican votes, it would make it easier in the House."

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King said he's backing background checks to help New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly. "Ray Kelly says about 70 to 80 percent of the gun crimes in New York City are with out-of-state guns, many bought at gun shows where there are no background checks," King said.

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