Paul Ryan Backs Expanding Gun Background Checks

Paul Ryan Backs Expanding Gun Background Checks
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Paul Ryan, the Wisconsin congressman and last year's Republican vice presidential nominee, is a staunch supporter of gun rights with an 'A' rating from the National Rifle Association.

But in an interview with the editorial board of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, released on Monday, Ryan broke ranks with the pro-gun group and came out in favor of closing the so-called "gun show loophole."

All guns sales by licensed firearms dealers require mandatory federal background checks, but the loophole exempts gun sales by private individuals. Exactly how many guns are sold without mandatory checks is unknown, but a 1997 study estimated that it could be between 35 and 40 percent. (NRA-backed laws forbid the collection of data that would answer the question definitively)

The NRA's chief lobbyist said on Tuesday that the group is opposed to expanding background checks to cover all gun buyers.

Yet in his interview with the Journal-Sentinel, Ryan called the idea "reasonable" and "obvious."

"I think we need to find out how to close these loopholes and do it in such a way that we don't infringe upon people's Second Amendment rights," Ryan said.

Ryan dismissed, however, federal legislation banning assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines.

"I don't see the effectiveness of that," he said.

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