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Background Checks: New Jersey Congressman Breaks Rank With NRA

NEW JERSEY (CBS) -- A South Jersey congressman with a high favorable rating from the National Rifle Association is reversing his position on background checks for all gun purchases, following the deadly Florida high school shooting.

Congressman Tom MacArthur is breaking ranks with the NRA, saying "background checks are worthless, unless they cover every gun purchase."

"If you're not doing the check on every gun transfer, what's the point of it?" he said.

MacArthur, who represents Burlington and Ocean Counties, says the National Instant Criminal Background Check system, or NICS, needs to be plugged.

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"It's like taking my boat out with a perfectly sound hull, except for four or five holes in it; that's not a boat that I'd like to be out in the ocean in," he said.

Universal background check legislation is strongly opposed by the NRA.

Federally licensed firearms dealers have been required to run background checks on prospective gun buyers since 1994, when the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act took effect. But there are no such requirements for private gun sales, over the Internet or at gun shows.

MacArthur also wants the Department of Justice to release the findings of the DOJ review of the federal database, to ensure that states have guidance "on the best background check practices."

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