Members of Squirrel Hill Stands Against Gun Violence met with Matt Blackburn, Senator Toomey's Director for Western Pennsylvania. We discussed background checks as well as extreme risk protection orders and a ban on assault style weapons. Unfortunately Senator Toomey is not prepared to sign on to S. 42, the comprehensive background checks bill which has already passed the House of Representatives. Instead, Mr. Blackburn says, the senator is preparing to reintroduce the Manchin-Toomey bill which previously failed in the Senate in 2013 and 2015. While the Manchin-Toomey bill is certainly better than no background checks on private sales, it exempts all private gun sales except those taking place at gun shows and those which are advertised. It also shortens the period of time allowed for a background check from three days to 48 hours and after several years, to 24 hours. This is the 'Charleston loophole' which allowed the Charleston shooter to legally purchase the weapon with which he killed 9 worshippers in 2015. S. 42 CLOSES the Charleston loophole rather than expanding it. While we recognize the work that Senator Toomey has done on this issue, re-introducing Manchin-Toomey is not enough. We call upon Senator Toomey to LEAD on background checks, put his name on S. 42 and lobby his colleagues to pass the bill.
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