Compromise plan on guns seems reasonable

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W. Va., has put himself in the line of fire in controversy over new gun control laws – but his heart and head are in the right place.

Manchin has a reputation as a crafter of compromise. Legislation he and Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., crafted is in that spirit.

Calls for draconian new limits on firearms have been made in Congress. But Manchin and Toomey want to focus on people who should not be permitted to buy firearms, not on law-abiding gun enthusiasts. Their plan would, in essence, merely expand existing requirements that gun buyers be subjected to background checks. It would require those who make purchases at gun shows and online to undergo such checks before being allowed to get firearms.

As the two have pointed out, individual gun transactions, such as those between family members and friends, would not be affected.

Keeping guns out of the hands of mentally unstable people should be the goal of any new rules. The Manchin-Toomey plan would help in that regard – and should be supported, not condemned.