Jeff Flake Now Claims He Could Support Expanding Background Checks for Guns

Senator Jeff Flake has changed his explanation of why he didn't support an amendment to expand background checks for gun purchases and apparently is willing to vote for expanding background checks.

Flake's stance has been confusing, but Flake has offered up a scenario in which he'd vote for the amendment he recently helped defeat.

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"Republican Sen. Jeff Flake told CNN he is willing to reverse his opposition to expanding background checks for guns if the Senate bill's sponsors change a provision dealing with Internet sales," CNN reported this morning. "Flake said the only reason he voted no was because of his concern that the requirement for background checks on Internet sales is too costly and inconvenient, given the way guns are often sold among friends in his state of Arizona and others."

That is not the explanation Flake gave when he publicly explained why he was voting against the bill shortly before the vote a few weeks ago.

"Manchin-Toomey would expand background checks far beyond commercial sales to include almost all private transfers -- including between friends and neighbors -- if the posting or display of the ad for a firearm was made public," Flake wrote on Facebook. "It would likely even extend to message boards, like the one in an office kitchen. This simply goes too far."

Flake's initial claim wasn't true, according to those who have looked into it, and according to the sponsors of the amendment, but now Flake says it's something else that needs to change before he supports the amendment.

Senator Joe Manchin -- the Democrat half of the bipartisan "Manchin-Toomey" duo that created the amendment -- apparently is trying to bring back a revised version of the amendment but needs a few votes to flip in order for it to pass this time around. Flake seems to be one of those guys.

CNN's report says that Flake told them that Manchin "may not be able to change the language in a way that satisfies him. But Flake insists he hopes they can figure it out."

Just to throw more dirt on his already muddy explanation, Flake posted to Twitter today, "Cutting thru clutter, I've always supported background checks. I didn't support Manchin-Toomey, and still don't. I voted for Grassley [amendment]."

That amendment didn't call for any more background checks on gun sales.

Perhaps this is why Flake's job-approval rating is so low -- people don't actually know what kind of job he's doing.

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Follow Matthew Hendley on Twitter at @MatthewHendley.

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Matthew Hendley
Contact: Matthew Hendley