WASHINGTON - Republican Sen. Patrick Toomey of Pennsylvania says background checks on gun buyers aren't the same as gun control.
He's announced a deal with Democratic colleague Joe Manchin of West Virginia on expanding background checks to more gun buyers.
The agreement is expected to make it more likely that the Senate's vote on Thursday to start debating gun legislation will succeed, despite an effort by conservatives to block it.
The checks would now apply to commercial sales, such as transactions at gun shows and online. The sales would have to be channeled through licensed firearms dealers, who would have to keep records of the transactions.
The National Rifle Association is criticizing the plan to expand background checks, saying it "will not prevent the next shooting, will not solve violent crime and will not keep our kids safe in schools."
President Barack Obama is welcoming the bipartisan deal.
Obama says it's not his bill and he wishes parts of it were stronger, but he says it represents significant progress and if enacted would make it harder for dangerous people to obtain guns.
Obama says there is a lot of work remaining to enact gun control measures, including getting them through the Republican-controlled House. He's calling on senators not to block consideration of the bill and for Americans to stay engaged.
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