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News > Local News > White House Offers Support for Improved Background Checks, but Parties Have Different Ideas on Where to Start

White House Offers Support for Improved Background Checks, but Parties Have Different Ideas on Where to Start

Donnelly urges expansion of checks to gun shows; Bucshon wants to cast wider net to add mental illness to database

(INDIANAPOLIS) - Congress hasn't passed gun legislation in more than two decades, but a White House statement on the heels of the Florida school shooting could put the issue back on the table. 

Press secretary Sarah Sanders says President Trump supports improvements to background checks, though a statement offers no specifics and says discussions are ongoing. Indiana Senator Joe Donnelly (D) wants Congress to revisit a failed attempt to extend the checks to gun-show purchases. He says if Trump gets behind it, he can bring Republican votes with him.

Donnelly says he'd also support reviving a bill he voted for in 2016 which would have banned people on the terrorist watch list from buying guns. 

Republican Congressman Larry Bucshon says what needs improvement is the database used for background checks. He says many doctors wrongly believe they're not allowed to report people who are mentally ill. Bucshon says many gun-show sales are already subject to background checks -- he says the debate is really about private sales, not sales by dealers, and says extending checks to those sales would be impractical and unnecessary.

Bucshon says he's not expecting any legislation right now, and says the most effective step would be a change in society and media attitudes toward violence, something he says Congress can't legislate.
 

(Photo: tupungato/Getty Images)

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