Schumer aides pushed back against suggestions that he would be a "quarterback," noting that Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., will chair the first of several hearings on guns next week and is expected to take the lead in drafting legislation to be considered by the full Senate.
A key piece of any legislation is expected to be universal background checks, which Obama called for last week and which has broad public support. Aides said Schumer is working to tweak an earlier bill to make it more amenable to moderate Senate Democrats and Republicans, including Sens. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., and Manchin.
On Thursday, Kirk announced plans to introduce a bill with Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., to make gun trafficking a federal crime for the first time. Manchin, who enjoys an "A" rating from the NRA, told a West Virginia radio station that he's talking to the group about backing what he called "common sense" background checks.
"We're trying to get it, and looking at a background check that basically says that if you're going to be a gun owner, you should be able to pass a background check to be able to get that, with exceptions," Manchin said.