Pat Toomey (Yes, Pat Toomey) Reaches Deal to Save Gun Control Bill [Updated]

Well, gun control advocates (and 90% of the country) have a new ally in Pennsylvania’s junior senator. Pat Toomey and Joe Manchin, blue dog Democrat of West Virginia, have reached an agreement to expand background checks on gun purchases made on the internet and at gun shows. The deal signals that Republican senators do not have enough votes to filibuster the legislation. Their bill will be tacked on as an amendment to an existing gun control bill, which will be brought to a vote Thursday. The larger bill, which includes school safety measures and harsher penalties for gun traffickers and straw purchasers, is expected to be more of a challenge for Democrats to pass.

At least for now though, the gun show loophole that helped make the Columbine killings possible is that much nearer to being closed. Manchin and Toomey will hold a presser at 11 a.m. to announce the deal. [Politico]

Updated [4:50 p.m.]: “I’m a gun owner, and the rights that are enshrined in the Second Amendment are very, very important to me personally,” Toomey said, announcing the legislation. “But I’ve got to tell you, candidly, that I don’t consider criminal background checks to be gun control. I think it’s just common sense.”