Republican Senator With An ‘A’ Rating From NRA Open To Universal Background Checks

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA)

INDIANOLA, Iowa — Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) is the latest Republican considering legislation to strengthen gun laws, despite his history of opposition to gun regulations.

In a handful of town halls throughout southern Iowa this week, Grassley was repeatedly asked his views on stronger gun laws. He made clear that he would oppose an assault weapons ban, but said he’d consider legislation on extended magazine clips and universal background checks.

“I’m going to see what the language of the amendment is,” Grassley told a constituent on Wednesday in Indianola when asked about a poll showing 88 percent of Iowans supporting universal background checks. He noted that although he’d opposed universal background checks in the past, he would consider such legislation this time around:

CONSTITUENT: I’m a pastor in the a church here in town, Crossroads United Church of Christ. We are very concerned about gun violence as you may have gathered. The Des Moines Register poll said that 88 percent of Iowans support background checks on gun buyers. Would you support that since 88 percent of your constituents do?

GRASSLEY: I’ve answered other people this way so I’m going to answer you the same way. I’m going to see what the language of the amendment is. I can tell you I didn’t support it 10 years ago when it was up, but if I did support anything, it would not go as far as a father giving his son a gun or something like that. I think that it can get a little ridiculous depending on what you do.

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Grassley’s support for stronger gun legislation would be significant. He has received an “A” rating from the National Rifle Association, as well as more than $40,000 in campaign contributions from the organization. He’s also been a consistent opponent of strengthening America’s gun laws, including the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban.

Still, many critics would justifiably be once bitten, twice shy when it comes to Grassley’s “openness” to progressive legislation. During the Obamacare debate, Grassley led many Democrats to believe his was a gettable vote, only to then dismiss the legislation and accuse Democrats of wanting to “pull the plug on grandma.”