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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Goodlatte Squashes Talk of "Universal Background Checks"

From today's Roll Call Daily Briefing:
CHECKING THE CHECKS: House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte made clear today that he opposes universal background checks before firearms sales, and he said it was very unlikely such a proposal would be put to a vote when the entire House considers a package of proposals for reducing gun violence. “It’s not a very practical thing to do and you’ll have a lot of inconvenience to law-abiding citizens at the same time you’re not going to keep many weapons out of the hands of people who are misusing them,” he said.

His statements, at a breakfast for reporters, will raise significant new obstacles to the piece of Obama’s gun control agenda that looked to have the best chance of enactment this year — especially because a bipartisan consensus in favor of background checks has looked to be gelling in the Senate in recent days. Goodlatte also threw cold water on the notion that there should be a vote on reviving the ban on some kinds of military-style rifles — even though it’s already clear the NRA has more than enough votes to defeat that proposal. (Obama and some gun rights groups have each called for such a vote, if only to put lawmakers on record on the issue.) Instead, Goodlatte said he supports language bolstering the existing federal background check system and cracking down on gun trafficking by “straw man” purchasers.

In related news, Senator Chuck Grassley said at a hearing this morning that he viewed a ban on so-called "assault weapons" as unconstitutional.  Grassley also said  the legislative focus should be confined to boosting penalties for illegal firearms trafficking and doing more to keep guns from the mentally ill — including requiring states to make their mental health records part of the system that conducts federal background checks.

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