Toomey to announce background check deal Wed

File photo: Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa. speaks to a member of the media at Temple University Hospital on Monday, March 11, 2013, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

WASHINGTON -- Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey will this morning announce a finalized deal on a bill to expand background checks on gun purchases.

Toomey, a Republican, and Democrat Joe Manchin, of West Virginia, have a press conference scheduled at 11 to confirm that the two have reached an agreement on what could be the most significant new legislation on guns in 20 years.

Read the deal here.

The deal provides new momentum for President Obama's push for new gun laws, which had been blocked until now. Plans to ban assault weapons and high-capacity gun magazines have fallen by the wayside.

The background check bill would expand checks to cover all commercial gun sales, including those at gun shows and over the internet, according to multiple news reports, including this one from Reuters. Sales among family members and friends would be exempt.

Support from Toomey, a Republican with a record of favoring gun rights and a strong NRA rating, could give the plan a political boost to help win the votes needed to clear the senate.

Toomey's unexpected role at the middle of the compromise thrust him into the national spotlight over the past week. We had the full details of the pressure he faced from both sides, and how he reached this point, in our story this morning in the Inquirer and on

I'll have updates off of the press conference online later today, and on my Twitter feed.