The Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of conservative groups may have chilled the chances of Congress passing stricter gun laws because it further undermined the public’s trust in government to protect confidential personal information.

The Obama administration and gun-control advocates are pushing the Senate to re-introduce bipartisan legislation that would expand the kinds of gun purchases subject to federal criminal background checks after similar legislation failed earlier this year. But opponents of the law claimed that giving the government information about gun owners could lead to abuses.

“I think the scandals that cast doubt on our ability to trust the administration make everything harder to do,” said Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa.

Supporters of expanded background checks argued that the information the government collects would never be misused or made public. That argument grew less credible, however, following revelations since that April vote that the IRS targeted conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status and, in some cases, leaked confidential information to people outside the tax agency, including at least one media outlet.

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