Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said Tuesday at a town hall that he opposes legislation to expand background checks for firearms purchases, despite signaling support for background checks at gun shows and for sales over the Internet.
"Can you have a system … where you can prevent people who are not legally allowed to buy a gun to buy them at a gun show and on the Internet? Yeah, I think you can do that. I don't think this bill did that as cleanly as it should have," Ryan said at a town hall meeting in Oak Creek, Wis., according to a transcript provided by Patch. "The stated intention of people like the president is to go beyond just doing that. They want to go far beyond that."
In a follow-up, he made it clear that he opposed the bill sponsored by Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.). "But that is not what that legislation -- by the way, this was in the Senate, I didn't have a vote on this -- I believe you have to write it very tight so that you can't go beyond that, and the advocates of this policy wanted to have broader legislation, so they did want to go beyond that and I didn't want to go beyond that," he said.
Ryan, who has an "A" rating from the NRA, never took a position on the Senate legislation before it failed by a 54-46 vote. However, he sounded positive notes about expanding background checks. "When Pat Toomey puts something out, I always pay attention," he said on April 10. He also said the gun show loophole was an "obvious" problem in a January interview with the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.
The Manchin-Toomey proposal would have expanded background checks to Internet sales and gun shows, but would have exempted sales between family and friends. Manchin said he didn't think the measure was finished, while Toomey told Pennsylvania reporters Tuesday that it faced difficult odds to reach 60 votes in the Senate.