The nation's leading lobby for gun manufacturers said in an interview with The Washington Post that it will not oppose legislation to expand background checks for gun purchases.
"That’s more the NRA’s issue,” Steve Sanetti, president of the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), told The Washington Post. “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.”
The group's position puts it at odds with the powerful National Rifle Association and is also a potential boon for a bipartisan group of senators working on legislation to expand background checks. Currently, gun buyers must pass a background check to prove they do not have a serious criminal record or have been declared mentally ill by a judge before they can purchase a weapon. But those who buy firearms from individuals who are not licensed gun dealers can avoid this check.
The NRA has taken a strong stance against expanding background checks to private firearms sales, arguing that closing the loophole will still not stop criminals from getting guns.
"When it comes to the issue of background checks, let’s be honest—background checks will never be 'universal' because criminals will never submit to them," NRA Executive Vice President and CEO Wayne LaPierre said at a Senate Judiciary Committee meeting in January. The group also argues that the background check database is error ridden.
Expanding background checks has attracted more bipartisan support than some of the other laws sought by President Barack Obama and other Democrats, including renewing a ban on some semi-automatic weapons and banning high-capacity magazines that carry more than 10 rounds of ammunition.