In an apparent split with the National Rifle Association, many of the nation’s leading gun advocates have indicated they would not oppose expanded background checks for private firearm sales, according to The Washington Post
Gun manufacturers and dealers have been holding confidential talks with congressional staff members, the Post reported Tuesday, but are wary of crossing the NRA partly because of the backlash faced by firearm maker Swiss & Wesson during the Clinton administration after it privately negotiated gun control issues.
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“From the commercial side, we’re already there, and we’ve been there, and we were the ones that have been the strongest proponents of an effective complete background check,” Steve Sanetti, president of the National Shooting Sport Foundation, a trade group for gun makers, told the newspaper.
Gun store owners and dealers also have been more vocal in their support for expanding background checks after the shooting massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. in December.
California Rep. Mike Thompson, a Democrat leading a gun task force in the House, told the Post that the NRA no longer represents the views of most gun owners.
In a statement Monday, NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam said expanding background checks is “a wrongheaded approach,” adding that the agency “is supportive of background checks on retail sales to ensure criminals and the mentally ill with violent tendencies do not have access to firearms.”
Unfortunately, he continued, the National Instant Criminal Background Check System “is currently incomplete and has inaccurate data. Rather than focusing on improving the quality of information contained in NICS, gun control proponents are advocating a significant expansion of a system that has gaping inadequacies.”
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