Thank you for your kind words about me in your recent "open letter" in the Daily News. I have long enjoyed our good working relationship, and look forward to continuing it. In this time of extreme partisanship, it is very valuable for our state and our country to have mutual respect across the aisle, as you and I have shown is possible.
On the critical issue of stopping gun violence, we share much common ground. As you noted, in 2013, I was proud to cross the aisle and join Sen. Joe Manchin, a Democrat from West Virginia, to support an expansion of background checks to prevent more people with criminal histories and dangerous mental illnesses from obtaining guns. The Manchin-Toomey background check legislation is the closest Congress has come in many years to passing anything on gun safety.
Last year, I once again co-sponsored this legislation, and I am doing so again in the current debate.
I was recently honored by Sandy Hook Promise, an organization established in the wake of the Newtown, Conn., school shooting in 2012, for the leadership role I've played in this area, and I continue to constantly look for ways to advance its passage.
We also share the goal of preventing terrorists from getting guns. Last December, the Senate voted on two proposals that deal with this. Both such proposals were flawed, and both failed to gain the support necessary for passage. That's why I have taken the lead on writing and introducing new legislation that captures the best of both proposals, in the hopes of forging the bipartisan consensus necessary to actually achieve results. In fact, I'm the only one to date who has a bill that attempts to bridge these gaps.
As you know, I have encouraged those in leading gun-rights organizations to take a more common-sense approach, and I have demonstrated my willingness to oppose them when they do not. I would welcome your efforts to encourage members of your party to join in this search for bipartisan consensus.
Quite simply, there are two choices. We can take a one-sided partisan approach that will achieve nothing other than more useless political noise. Or we can work together. I am committed to the latter. It's the only way to make progress on this issue, and prevent more senseless deaths.
Your friend, Pat Toomey