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Toomey's gun debate decision could cost him votes

By Will Lewis, Reporter, WLewis@wfmz.com
Published On: Apr 10 2013 07:00:00 PM CDT
Updated On: Apr 11 2013 06:27:17 PM CDT

Senator Pat Toomey is getting some flak from his supporters for firing the opening shot in the gun control debate.

Senator Pat Toomey is getting some flak from his supporters for firing the opening shot in the gun control debate.

One day after Toomey co-sponsored a plan to expand background checks for some gun sales some groups say the Senator is ignoring his political base.

Members of the NRA say they are worried that Senators Toomey and Manchin's proposal will not be the final bill once amendments are added and compromises are made in the House and Senate.

One political analyst tells us voters will have to see a final bill and see if Toomey votes for it.

Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey says he was looking for common ground in the debate about guns when he joined Democrat Senator Joe Manchin to introduce a bill to expand background checks for gun shows and online sales.

"Background checks are not a cure all by any means but they can be helpful," said Toomey.

"Yeah it's going to make people feel better but I don't think it's going to fix a whole lot of stuff to be honest with you," added Randy Dotter, who lives in Kunkletown.

That is the sentiment shared by the people we spoke with at the shooting range at Lehigh Valley Sporting Clays, in Coplay, Lehigh County.

Owner William Bachenberg is also a board member for the National Rifle Association.

He says some of his members have been calling him saying they can no longer support Toomey.

"A resident of Pennsylvania, called me this morning from Florida, says he can't believe what's happening," said Bachenberg. "He's lost his support. He was a big financial supporter for his campaign."

"It will hurt his reelection chances," added Dotter. "I mean I know there is other people out there on the other side but a lot of people that I know would definitely not vote for him to be honest with you."

Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane praised Toomey for, "showing that public safety is not a partisan issue. If this legislation should pass, Pennsylvanians and people nationwide will be made safer, thanks to Senator Toomey's efforts."

Some gun owners don't agree,

"Absolutely caving in to the pressure," said Allentown resident, Joe Totenbier. "No way is he watching our back. I understand he is trying to make everybody happy."

A February Franklin and Marshall poll shows 94% of people in Pennsylvania favor background checks.