PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The topic of firearms and accessibility is a difficult but seemingly inevitable point of discussion following tragic events in the United States and once again the issue along with one particular style of weapon has been brought into the forefront.
In a Friday press conference regarding a Bipartisan Animal Cruelty Bill, Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) made time to talk gun regulations in the wake of Wednesday’s Douglas High School Massacre in Florida.
“I believe that we can improve our background checks system and we should,” said Toomey.
Senator Chris Coons of Delaware acknowledged that several of his Republican counterparts do support strengthened background checks but that as a whole they lack the willingness to make change.
“The Republican majority refuses to move forward in any meaningful way,” said Coons (D-DE), adding, “I’ll be blunt, the power of the NRA in the United States Congress is very very strong.”
While Toomey accepted donations from the National Rifle Association as Congressman, he has not received any NRA funding since being elected to the US Senate in 2010. Toomey also stated Friday that he takes no issue in straying from the association and cited his support of “No Fly No Buy” policies.
“If you are not legally permitted to get on a plane because we think you are too much of a threat then you shouldn’t be able to walk into a store and buy a firearm either,” said Toomey.
As for the AR-15, the style of weapon used in five of the six deadliest recent mass shootings in America, Toomey said that he does not seek to “infringe on the rights of law-abiding citizens to a popular, commonly used firearm.”
“I am in favor of making it more difficult to obtain for someone who doesn’t have that right in the first place because they have forgone it or because they are mentally incapacitated.”
A Pew Research study found that 37 percent of Americans report having a firearm in their home.