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Talking Points: Expanding Background Checks For Gun Sales

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- The U.S. Senate will be taking up a gun control bill that calls for expanding background checks to online and gun show sales.

The bill is not the universal background check proposal the president originally wanted -- it does not cover sales between individuals. And it is not clear if even this more limited measure will be passed by Congress.

In the immediate aftermath of the Newtown massacre, the president called for universal background checks, the reinstatement of the assault weapons ban and restrictions on the size of ammunition clips.

But as the weeks and months have passed it's become clear that those measures don't have enough political support to become law. It's not even clear whether this more limited Senate compromise can survive, especially in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives.

Victims' families are making appeals to lawmakers -- the mother of a Newtown victim delivered the president's weekly radio address and John Souter, a survivor of the Accent Signage shooting in Minneapolis has appealed to his Congressman Republican Erik Paulsen.

Congressman Paulsen appeared on WCCO Sunday Morning.

On whether he would back the Senate compromise to expand checks to online and gun show sales, Paulsen said, "I think it's on the right track."

"I will have to review the details. It's absolutely on the right track. I think there are things in that compromise that gun owners are going to appreciate, like being able to move weapons across state lines that make it easier to transfer weapons within their own family and I need to look at the details but overall I think the bipartisan component is on the right track, as well," he said.

Right now, an estimated 40 percent of all gun sales take place without a background check. National polls show up to 90 percent of Americans support expanded checks. But critics say those polls fail to ask people their view of the added costs of those checks to gun buyers and local law enforcement.

As for a possible run against Sen. Al Franken in 2014, Congressman Paulsen would only say he is keeping his options open.

You can watch WCCO Sunday Morning with Esme Murphy and Matt Brickman Sunday at 6 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.

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