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New York Times

WASHINGTON - Talks to revive gun control legislation are quietly under way on Capitol Hill as a bipartisan group of senators seeks a way to bridge the differences that led to last week's collapse of the most serious effort to overhaul the country's gun laws in 20 years.

Drawing on the lessons from battles in the 1980s and '90s over the Brady Bill, which failed in Congress several times before ultimately passing, gun control supporters think they can prevail by working on a two-pronged strategy.

First, they are identifying senators who might be willing to change their votes and support a background check system with fewer loopholes.

Second, they are looking to build a national campaign that would better harness overwhelming public support for universal background checks, which many polls put at near 90 percent approval, to pressure lawmakers.

Sens. Joe Manchin III, D-W.Va., and Patrick J. Toomey, R-Pa., have been talking about how to persuade more senators to support their bill to expand background checks for gun buyers, which drew backing from only four Republicans last week.

Manchin said Thursday he was looking at tweaking the bill's language to ease concerns of senators who, for example, thought background checks on person-to-person gun sales would be too onerous for people living in rural areas far from a sporting goods store.

Meanwhile, a separate piece of gun legislation, an anti-trafficking bill, is the subject of talks between two Republican senators who voted no on the background check bill and Sen. Kirsten E. Gillibrand, D-N.Y.

While the bill on its own falls short of what the families of victims of mass shootings have been pushing Congress to enact,some Democrats think it could be a good starting point to build a broader bipartisan compromise.

"I think trafficking can be the base of the bill, the rock on which everything else stands," Gillibrand said. "I also think it's complementary to background checks because, let's be honest, criminals aren't going to buy a gun and go through a background check. So if you really want to go after criminals, you have to have to do both."