Baldwin Likes Universal Background Check; Johnson’s Opinion Unknown


Democratic Senator Tammy Baldwin says she supports universal background checks for gun purchases. The latest views of Wisconsin’s Republican Senator, Ron Johnson, are less clear.

Some big city mayors, including Milwaukee’s Tom Barrett, are pushing Congress to pass firearms legislation that requires a background check for all gun purchasers. Last week, Barrett said he did not quite know where Wisconsin Senators Baldwin and Johnson stand on the proposed legislation. During a Baldwin visit to Milwaukee today, the senator called the background checks a common-sense step forward.

“When you hear that 40 percent of sales and exchanges occur without any sort of background check, without any inquiry [into] whether the purchaser is a felon or dangerous in other ways that would be identified through a background check, it’s really outrageous, and we can do a lot better. I think it’s one of those common-sense measures.”

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Critics argue that it would be difficult to enforce many background checks for private gun sales. Republican senator Ron Johnson could not be reached for comment today on the background check issue. On February 15, he told Wisconsin public television that he was willing “to look at anything to reduce the tragic episodes of violence we’ve been experiencing and probably will experience in the future.”

But Johnson added that he was not 100 percent sure solutions will be found in Washington, D.C.

Senator Baldwin says a proposed assault weapons ban, which could be offered as a Senate amendment, is much more controversial, and Baldwin notes that the GOP-controlled House of Representatives has shown resistance to some gun control proposals.