Third District Congressman Nick Rahall says he thinks there is room for improvements when it comes to the current requirements for background checks associated with firearms purchases.
“Shadow sales that allow legal purchases, yet then subsequent sales to criminals or mentally deranged individuals have to be strengthened and that’s a current loophole that, yes, I support strengthening that,” he said.
But Congressman Rahall says he does not yet know if will support universal background checks.
“I’m not there. I have to see what else is in the package as well,” he said on Wednesday’s MetroNews Talkline.
On Wednesday, the first Congressional hearing on possible additional gun control measures since 20 kids and six adults were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut was held on Capitol Hill.
Former U.S. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords opened the hearing in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee by urging members to be “bold.”
“Too many children are dying, too many children,” she said. “We must do something.” Giffords was shot in the head at a grocery store near Tucson, Arizona while meeting with constituents in 2011. Six others were killed.
National Rifle Association Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre also testified Wednesday, saying the government has not enforced current gun laws and new restrictions would not stop future mass shootings.
Committee Chairman Senator Patrick Leahy, a Democrat from Vermont, did call for stronger background checks during the hearing, but he did not endorse the ban on assault style weapons California Senator Dianne Feinstein, also a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has proposed.
Congressman Rahall says a ban is not the answer. “We need to look at this in a comprehensive approach,” he said.
“We need to look at violence in the media. We need to look at how guns come into the hands of those with deranged mental backgrounds or criminal backgrounds.”