Background checks bill heads to senate, ETX opposition runs high - KLTV.com-Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville, Texas | ETX News

Background checks bill heads to senate, ETX opposition runs high

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Along party lines, a senate panel narrowly passed a bill expanding required federal background checks for nearly all gun purchases.

All Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee voted in favor of the bill while every Republican on the panel opposed it.

"I'm not okay with the concept of a citizen having to get the government's permission before exercising a constitutional right," said Sean Healy, a Tyler attorney and certified firearms instructor.

Healy is opposed to Senator Charles Schumer's proposal of expanded background checks.

"In Connecticut, they already had a ban on so-called assault weapons. It didn't prevent Adam Lanza from doing what he did. This background check would not have prevented him either, because he stole the gun from his mother. His mother was a lawful owner of that gun and he stole it from her and took it and committed a tragedy," Lanza said.

Representative Bryan Hughes fears these background checks will jeopardize Americans' privacy.

"I am concerned that the background checks proposed by Senator Schumer could create a national registry of gun owners. Tyrannical governments throughout history have first required citizens to register their guns and then sought to confiscate them. The fact that Senator Schumer wants to keep a record of every single transaction involving a firearm is very troubling," said Representative Hughes.

"And so for decades, we have fought against allowing the government to have a list of guns and a list of gun owners and if this bill passes, my understanding is that fear is going to become a reality," said Healy.

Senator Schumer said that will not happen, but Senator Ted Cruz who voted against the bill, said this is restricting law abiding citizens' rights.

"That is a top concern is the privacy issue behind this. The reason he voted against it is he believes that is just one step further down the path of limiting Americans right to bear arms," said Catherine Frazier, Senator Cruz's press secretary.

Senator Schumer said he hopes he can come to an agreement with republicans, which will better his chances of this passing in the full senate.

Right now, the bill states that transactions between immediate family members or weapons loaned temporarily during sporting events would be exempt from the required background checks.

The bill will be taken up by the full senate next month.

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