HELENA, Mont. -

U.S. Sen. Max Baucus says he opposes a Democratic gun-control bill but won't block a debate on the legislation.

The Montana Democrat did not take a stance on a developing bipartisan compromise on background checks by Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Republican Sen. Patrick Toomey of Pennsylvania.

Baucus told The Associated Press Thursday that Montanans are against the Democratic bill before the Senate Thursday and he doesn't like "the president's top-down, one-size-fits-all" push for gun control.

Senators were scheduled to vote Thursday on an attempt by conservatives to scuttle the bill from Democrats.

Baucus is up for re-election in 2014, and has faced criticism for his past support of gun control.