Nightly News   |  April 10, 2013

Bipartisan senators announce gun deal

Lawmakers reached a compromise Wednesday to expand background checks to cover buyers at gun shows and shopping on the Internet, just like those already required when buying from licensed dealers. NBC’s Kelly O’Donnell reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> good evening. the newtown , connecticut, families flew into washington on air force one with the president, and for a president needing new momentum in his push for new gun legislation, his thinking was this -- these men and women who had lost so much would be hard to turn down, and indeed, there has now been a turn in washington , a kind of collapsing weakening core of senators who had planned to push back and filibuster a new law calling for expanded background checks . while that could still happen, and while what one senator calls the common ground solution falls way short of what these families and many americans want to see, still it's a change and it's happened in just days. it's where we begin tonight with nbc's kelley o'donnell on capitol hill . kelly good evening.

>> reporter: good evening, brian. what we watched today really involved only one piece of what has been a big, complex debate about guns, and it includes just a few senators, and yet the impact seems so much larger, in part, because of the emotion that helped make it happen. driven by their loss.

>> i feel like i carry my daughter's spirit when i go into those meetings. i wanted them to hear me as a mother. i asked them if they could, please, give me something i can tell my son.

>> surrounded by newtown families to talk about today's break-through on background checks but only an emotional whisper would come for senator joe manchin .

>> i'm a parent. i'm a grandparent.

>> reporter: manchin, a democrat, partnered with pat toomey , a republican, both a-rated by the nra to forge a compromise today.

>> i think the substance of our bill just makes a lot of sense. to me, this isn't gun control . this is common sense .

>> reporter: under the plan, background checks expand to cover buyers at gun shows and shopping on the internet, just like those already required when buying from licensed dealers, but the law would not affect individuals who privately buy, sell or give their weapons to family, friends or even strangers.

>> this is something that's so right and it does so much good and it will prevent people who shouldn't have a gun from having it been.

>> reporter: although privately included in the negotiations the nra rejected the compromise and many republican senators agreed.

>> is anyone naive enough not to think, not to believe that regardless of background checks , a criminal element can find someone who can go get a gun.

>> reporter: the names of gun victims read aloud today at the capitol, the sister of a fallen sandy hook teacher.

>> dawn hasbury, 47, december 14th , newtown , connecticut.

>> reporter: and to be heard some used twitter, the daughter of sandy hook 's principal reached out to senators. others like bill sherlock made the trip to washington for his wife, mary, sandy hook 's school psychologist .

>> we flew down in air force one and i had a single seat by the window and all i could think about was how i'd rather be at home watching my wife dance around the kitchen, making dinner, dancing to the eagles.

>> reporter: he and many others don't want to be advocates but they tell me they expect to come back to d.c. again and again to keep up the pressure with their presence. now even some of those close to this, including the senators who crafted the compromise, can't predict it will pass, but the first test comes tomorrow, when there is a vote, the first of what will be many votes on the guns issue.

>> kelly o'donnell starting off with this apparent change on capitol hill , thanks.