Reid supports expanding background checks; unsure about assault weapons ban

February 3, 2013

Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) said he's unsure whether he will support a ban on assault weapons and restrictions on high-capacity ammunition magazines, but voiced support for increased background checks on firearm purchases in an interview that aired Sunday.

"I didn't vote for the assault weapons last time because it was -- didn't make sense. But I'll take a look at it," Reid said in an interview on ABC News' "This Week With George Stephanopoulos."

The Nevada Democrat, who is recipient of a "B" rating from the National Rifle Association, sounded a supportive note when it came to a proposal for universal background checks for gun purchases. "We need to increase that. I'm still a supporter of the Second Amendment, but you can do things like that," he said.

Among the new measures gun control advocates have been pressing for, requiring universal background checks appears to be the most likely to get bipartisan support in Congress.

Reid adopted a wait-and-see posture with regard to the call from gun control advocates to restrict high-capacity ammunition magazines. "Let's see what it is," said Reid.

NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre, meanwhile, kept up his opposition to universal background checks on Sunday. Such checks, LaPierre said on "Fox News Sunday," could lead to "a universal registry of law-abiding people."

The comments from Reid and LaPierre came as President Obama was set to pitch his gun control proposals in Minnesota on Monday.

Sean Sullivan has covered national politics for The Washington Post since 2012.
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Sean Sullivan · February 3, 2013