Frank Lautenberg: Ailing New Jersey senator could be back in Washington, D.C., to vote on legislation that would expand gun control.
“Senator Lautenberg is feeling better and hopes to be in Washington for gun votes this week,” Caley Gray, a spokesman for the Democrat senator, told the Star-Ledger via email.
Lautenberg, 89, is the oldest member of the senate. He has only voted on one day since he announced in February that he would not seek re-election.
The legislation at hand, based on a deal brokered by two senators, would expand background checks and tighten school security.
Under the bill, background checks would be expanded to all for-profit transactions, including sales at gun shows and online, with records kept by licensed gun dealers who would handle the paperwork. Noncommercial transactions, such as between relatives, would be exempt. The current system of background checks only applies to sales by the 55,000 federally licensed firearms dealers throughout the United States.
The agreement also contains provisions expanding firearms rights, and that concerns gun control supporters. Some restrictions on transporting guns across state lines would be eased, and gun dealers could conduct business in states where they don’t live.
Lautenberg has been called one of the most ardent advocates of gun control. Democrats are hoping to get enough votes to pass the bill, because a group of Republicans are planning to try to override it.
Because every vote will count, Democrats are concerned that Lautenberg won’t be in D.C. to vote for the bill.