Cantor Open to Gun Background Checks

Plus, he and Boehner talk illegal immigration

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Feb 5, 2013 1:42 PM CST

(Newser) – A day after President Obama noted that there's bipartisan support for universal background checks before gun purchases, Eric Cantor seems to have confirmed it. The House majority leader tells CNN he's open to strengthening background checks, perhaps by instituting a system similar to what Virginia put in place after the Virginia Tech massacre. "I think that we can take a lot of lessons from what Virginia did and put it in place at the federal level, because there are a lot of states that aren't doing what Virginia is doing to try and beef up the database for the background checks," he said.

Specifically, the Virginia model ensured that background checks would turn up any relevant mental health information. Expanding background checks appears to have more support at this point than banning assault weapons. In the same interview, Cantor said that before he'll consider a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants, border security must be increased and a guest worker program must be implemented. Meanwhile, John Boehner declined to take a position on the possibility of such a pathway, reports the Washington Post. "I think this is a very difficult part [for] any of these bills, and I want to just encourage members on both sides of the Capitol and both parties to continue to try to come to some resolution," the House speaker said today.

In this Dec. 21, 2012 file photo, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va. speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington.
In this Dec. 21, 2012 file photo, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va. speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)
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