Gun advocates split with NRA on checks

March 6, 2013 at 7:46 AM
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WASHINGTON, March 6 (UPI) -- Some U.S. gun-advocate groups said they have broken with the National Rifle Association to support increased background checks for private gun sales.

Members of the groups -- like the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the Second Amendment Foundation, the Fraternal Order of Police and a variety of gun dealers -- have been involved in behind-the-scenes talks with lawmakers or have expressed their support of more instant criminal background checks for those wishing to purchase a firearm, The Washington Post reported Tuesday.

The NSSF, the trade group for the nation's leading firearm manufacturers, said it would not openly oppose such checks, which are designed to prevent criminals and the mentally ill from having access to guns.

"That's more the NRA's issue," said NSSF President Steve Sanetti. "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."

U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson, D-Calif., a hunter leading a gun task force in the House, said the NRA no longer represents the viewpoint of most gun owners. Every dealer he said he talks to lately says they support increased background checks.

NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam said requiring increased background checks is the wrong move in a statement Monday.

"The NRA is supportive of background checks on retail sales to ensure criminals and the mentally ill with violent tendencies do not have access to firearms," Arulanandam said.

"Unfortunately," he said, the National Instant Criminal Background Check System "is currently incomplete and has inaccurate data. Rather than focusing on improving the quality of information contained in NICS, gun control proponents are advocating a significant expansion of a system that has gaping inadequacies."

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