A staunch gun rights supporter in the Senate showed some openness to the idea of universal background checks on Sunday, saying the gun control measure should be part of the ongoing discussion in Washington.
"I think we ought to talk about that," Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), who has an "A" rating from the National Rifle Association, said on "Fox News Sunday." "Let's look at that and see."
Americans overwhelmingly support the idea of universal background checks, with a recent poll finding that 92 percent believe checks should be performed on all gun buyers.
A universal background check would close the so-called gun show loophole, which allows some gun buyers to purchase weapons without checks. Licensed firearm dealers already perform background checks, unlike unlicensed dealers at shows or private citizens. Blunt said he didn't want to create a situation where "two guys living next door want to trade shotguns."
President Barack Obama has made universal background checks part of his broad proposal for tighter gun control.
"If you want to buy a gun -- whether it's from a licensed dealer or a private seller -- you should at least have to show you are not a felon or somebody legally prohibited from buying one," Obama said on Wednesday. He added that "as many as 40 percent of all gun purchases are conducted without a background check."
Despite his willingness to entertain universal checks, Blunt, who supported banning lawsuits against manufacturers for gun misuse, suggested that many of the proposals put forth by the Obama administration in the wake of the Newtown massacre would do little to curb gun violence. Bans on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, he inferred, wouldn't significantly prevent mass shootings
"Let's see what they come up with in terms of specific proposals," Blunt said. "But let's talk about changes that would have done something about [Newtown]. Connecticut is [already] one of hardest places to get a weapon ... Let's do things that will make a difference here ... We had bans on things for a decade that didn't seem to make a difference at all."
A HuffPost/YouGov survey conducted just after the Newtown shooting found that 54 percent of Americans favor banning high-capacity magazines, while 32 percent are opposed.