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.
Related on HuffPost:
Increase Access To Background Check Data
Issue a Presidential Memorandum to require federal agencies to make relevant data available to the federal background check system.
Remove Legal Barriers On Background Checks
Address unnecessary legal barriers, particularly relating to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, that may prevent states from making information available to the background check system.
Incentivize Sharing Of Background Check Data
Improve incentives for states to share information with the background check system.
Review Criteria For Gun Ownership
Direct the Attorney General to review categories of individuals prohibited from having a gun to make sure dangerous people are not slipping through the cracks.
Background Checks For Returning Seized Guns?
Propose rulemaking to give law enforcement the ability to run a full background check on an individual before returning a seized gun.
More Guidance On Background Checks
Publish a letter from ATF to federally licensed gun dealers providing guidance on how to run background checks for private sellers.
Safe & Responsible Gun Ownership
Launch a national safe and responsible gun ownership campaign.
Gun Lock & Safes
Review safety standards for gun locks and gun safes (Consumer Product Safety Commission).
Improve Gun Tracking In Criminal Investigations
Issue a Presidential Memorandum to require federal law enforcement to trace guns recovered in criminal investigations.
Report On Lost & Stolen Guns
Release a DOJ report analyzing information on lost and stolen guns and make it widely available to law enforcement.
Nominate a director for Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms.
Training For Law Enforcement
Provide law enforcement, first responders, and school officials with proper training for active shooter situations.
Maximize Enforcement Efforts On Gun Crime
Maximize enforcement efforts to prevent gun violence and prosecute gun crime.
Increase Research On Gun Violence
Issue a Presidential Memorandum directing the Centers for Disease Control to research the causes and prevention of gun violence.
Prioritize New Gun Technology
Direct the Attorney General to issue a report on the availability and most effective use of new gun safety technologies and challenge the private sector to develop innovative technologies
Clarify Obamacare On Doctors & Guns
Clarify that the Affordable Care Act does not prohibit doctors asking their patients about guns in their homes.
Inform Doctors On Reporting Threats
Release a letter to health care providers clarifying that no federal law prohibits them from reporting threats of violence to law enforcement authorities.
School Resource Officers
Provide incentives for schools to hire school resource officers.
Develop Emergency Response Plans
Develop model emergency response plans for schools, houses of worship and institutions of higher education.
Clarify Scope Of Medicaid's Mental Health Coverage
Release a letter to state health officials clarifying the scope of mental health services that Medicaid plans must cover.
Finalize ACA Regulations
Finalize regulations clarifying essential health benefits and parity requirements within ACA exchanges.
Address Mental Health Parity
Commit to finalizing mental health parity regulations.
Start Dialogue On Mental Health
Launch a national dialogue led by Secretaries Sebelius and Duncan on mental health.