Reports of an imminent gun control deal were dismissed by a key Republican negotiator Sunday as U.S. senators struggle to find common ground between calls for tougher regulations following the Newtown school shooting and fearsome resistance from the gun lobby, The Guardian reports.

The Senate Judiciary Committee convenes Thursday to begin debating proposed legislation relating to the sale and manufacture of guns. Speculation points to a bipartisan bill that would extend FBI background checks to all gun sales as a means of weeding out criminal buyers or those with mental health problems, The Guardian writes.

However, Tom Coburn states that an agreement is still proving elusive.

The sticking point appears to be record-keeping – advocates of greater controls want background checks extended to all gun sales, beyond the current position where only licensed gun shop purchases are subject to FBI monitoring. The reformer faction wants private sales – including those at gun shows and through the Internet – to get put through the background check system and be recorded as well.

However, the pro-gun lobby sees the registration of all gun sales as a first step toward a federal registry of all guns and gun owners in American which, in turn, would prepare the way for a government conspiracy to confiscate the weapons, Guardian reports. Coburn says “There absolutely will not be record-keeping on legitimate, law-abiding gun owners.”

There are currently three separate strands of legislation being discussed by senators:

  • Extension of background checks
  • Clamping down on “straw purchasers” – those who buy guns on behalf of criminals who would be unable to pass a background check
  • Reviving a federal ban on semi-automatic assault weapons, as well as imposing an upper limit on the size of magazines that can be attached to guns