Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) sounded a supportive note about President Obama’s proposal to require background checks at all gun shows, saying gun sales to criminals is an “obvious” problem that needs to be addressed.
Ryan’s comments, picked up by the Raw Story, came in an interview with Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. In the conversation, Ryan traced his concern about the loophole — which allows “private gun sales,” including those between gun show attendees, to legally happen without any criminal background check for the purchaser — back to his first days in Congress:
I think what we should look into is someone who’s not legally allowed to buy a gun buying one, and let’s figure that out. I think we need to find out how to close these loopholes…I remember thinking “there is an area in which you can make this work.”
Ryan would not commit to any particular form of expanded background checks, saying “I don’t know the answer to how to make this work — that’s what committee hearings are for.” He also strongly opposed a renewed and revamped Assault Weapons Ban as well as bans on high-capacity magazines. Nonetheless, Ryan’s answer is notable in that a Republican of his prominence is voicing opposition to the National Rifle Association’s longstanding position that the gun show loophole does not exist and does not need to be closed.
Roughly 90 percent of Americans support closing the gun show loophole — perhaps in part because while 40 percent of guns are sold in private sales, 80 percent of guns used in crimes are purchased in this fashion. Obama calls correcting current policy “common sense.”